The Universal Language of Magic

For some reason I started thinking about old TV shows and how good I used to think they were.  Maybe it’s because I’m feeling nostalgic or maybe it’s because my Cousin came by and we were talking about the movies we grew up watching.  He loaned us Superman and Superman II, so we were talking about those and movie ratings and how that’s changed and so on.

And I thought of Bewitched.

I’m not sure why.

But I thought of it, and just like every other time in my life, it gave me comfort to think back to that show.  I wanted to be Samantha, sure–but when Tabitha was born, I wanted to be her with almost every fiber of my being.  She was adorable and had magical powers and well, yeah, isn’t that enough of a reason to want to be her?  Oh and Aunt Clara.  Of course.

When we lived in Japan, we had channels that we could watch American programming on.  We could watch channels like Lifetime with about a two-week delay.  (This really made me happy as I was watching Christmas movies well into January–AS ONE SHOULD.  Obviously.)  We also got Japanese channels.  We really liked watching sumo matches and enjoyed the ceremony and regality of it all.  We even had our favorite wrestlers.  I haven’t watched a match since we moved back, but those are happy memories.

Somehow while we were there, I heard about the release of “Bewitched in Tokyo.”  I don’t remember if I read about it in an English paper or saw a preview on a Japanese channel.  Either way, I set the VCR (yes, VCR!) and recorded the first episode.

Adorable.  A brilliant adaptation of a classic.

Sorry, was that too much?

Still, it was really fun.  Two adorable Japanese young people, living in a high-rise apartment in Tokyo.

But everything else was the same.

So much so that they used the same story lines.  For each and every episode I got to watch.

The only difference was I couldn’t understand a word they were saying.

And yet I knew exactly what was going on.

The beauty of knowing a story well and enjoying something despite the differences.

I recently saw an interview with a woman about polygamy.  She was no less than vehement when she said, “It’s wrong.  I hate them.”

Hate?  Really?  THEM?

I mean, you might disagree with how they are living and what their choices are, and you are allowed that.  But HATE them?

Oh me.

Tonight I’m thankful for the memory of “Bewitched in Tokyo.”  In a country where things were so very different and life was not at all familiar, I found that we are more alike than different.  That someone in Japan loved the story of “Bewitched” enough to share it with their fellow Japanese friends and family and strangers alike–that is beautiful to me.

And that I could understand it, even though I spoke “skoshe” amount of Japanese–well some things are universal, aren’t they?  They need no interpretation.

As we go through this weekend of remembering and aiming for peace in the world, may we all take a moment to remember, that despite all of our differences–

we all like to laugh at made up stories about magic.  Among so many other things.

Wishing you peace and love for all.

Just a little glimpse into the wonderful show that brought me great joy…..

 

Rainy Days and Redemption

We awoke this morning, quite early, to the sounds of thunder rolling angrily.  And close.  It was so early, in fact, that most in the house went back to sleep to the sound of the drizzling rain.  The house still seemed quite dark when we stirred, though the day had gotten a good start already.

A rainy day in Georgia.

In the fall.

Ahhhhh.

Grateful for a break from the downpour I took Miss Sophie out for her morning constitutional and was thankful she was moved to be a little quicker this morning.  The littles had breakfast as did their big sister, still home for Fall Break.  The house was eerily quiet, a mood suited by the gray and the rain outside.

I set out the day’s lessons and encouraged the crew to get started.  I too began my work for the day.  Sitting at my desk, my back was to them.  Though they were chatting about some scenario they’d made up to play out, they were getting some work done, so I allowed myself to become immersed in what was in front of me.  Soon I realized the room had become very quiet.  I turned to see what they were up to.  Our Princess seemed to be daydreaming, her gaze aimed out the window.  I remember the days of sitting in our classrooms at the old school in town–windows all down one side of the room–and doing just that.  I think some of my best thoughts came from those moments of mind wandering.

Then I noticed Cooter, across the room, no longer sitting at the table working on his math.  Instead he was curled up with Goatillard the goat, who moved here to live with us after Mama left this world.  My little guy seemed in a trance, staring out from the window seat at the rain as it poured down.

My little guy curled up with Maemae's goat, staring out at the rainy day.

My little guy curled up with Maemae’s goat, staring out at the rainy day.

It took my breath away for a moment.  Beautiful.

I wonder what he was thinking in those moments.  If anything at all.

I looked back over at our Princess, who met my gaze with a sheepish smile on her face.  She shrugged lightly.  “My eyes are lost in the rain.”

Oh my. With all the rain and beautiful thoughts and staring out at creation and poetic words, how I could say that learning wasn’t happening?

I just about called school off right then and there.  No textbook nor I can compete with all of that.

Poetic thoughts.

I found myself thinking about all kinds of things this morning, as I went about my day to dailies.  A rainy fall day…..gray…..suited my emotions.  Bottom line–I miss my parents.  It seems as though each day a little more, if that is possible.  When I think about where we were three years ago, with Daddy doing so poorly and us not ready to admit to what seemed to be inevitable, it becomes almost more than the heart can bear.  Again.

This morning I saw this quote shared by author John Paul Schulz that stuck with me.

IMG_5108

And it is true.  While my heart and mind was steeped in sadness, suitable for a dreary day, my girl’s poetic thoughts and those of Ms. Woolf proved true.

As I let myself become lost in the rain, sitting on the couch that I can enjoy because of the goodness of friends, I found myself thinking of redemption and reparation.

Are there two things more life-giving than those?

I’m sure there might be, but for today, those thoughts and the actions I took refreshed my soul, and life came “breaking in as usual.”

When I finished, my heart was a little lighter and I breathed a little easier.  I’m still a work in progress and the pressure that tomorrow will be sunny, so perhaps my disposition should be too is a little more than I’m ready to take on tonight.  Perhaps after a good night’s rest…..

Tonight I’m thankful for moments that move me to tears.  For little boys hugging goats.  For poetic days and poetic words and little girls who speak them.  I give thanks for the love of those who have gone before, those whom the memories of make me laugh and cry and ache for just one more story, one more hug, one more word of wisdom, one more “I love you.”  And in the midst of that yearning, I’m thankful for the opportunity to share those things with the ones I care about.  Today. In this moment.

Life comes breaking in…..as usual.  

 

Love to all.

 

 

 

The Weight of Worries and Woes

Some days life is hard.

Not because of what has happened, but because of what could happen.

All the coulds and mights and maybes and what ifs.

Those can pile up on a soul and wear her slap out.

This soul anyway.

I’m tired, y’all.  Between a headache for days and those doggone what ifs and might could happens, I could use a break.

Or I might need a nap.

Yesterday evening I saw this quote shared on Facebook–

“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions:  “When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing?  When did you stop being enchanted by stories?  When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence? ” –Gabrielle Roth

This gave me pause.  A long pause.  And a good cry.

Suffice to say–it’s been a while.

On most of it.

I need to let go of the fear, as best as I can, and move forward, dancing and singing and listening to great stories again.  I want to find the place where all that can happen.  And perhaps most important of all, I need to find comfort and not feel trepidation in the moments of silence.  I need to seek silence and embrace it and all that it can teach me.

It’s worth a try to attempt to find a relief from the weight of all the worries and woes of the world.

May you find a moment to dance or sing or find delight in a story and may silence find you and give you peace.

 

Love to all.

 

 

 

Watching for Wonky Waves

I am my Mama’s daughter.

And yesterday evening, I could have sworn I heard my Daddy laughing over just that, and my Mama in her “pretending to be offended” tone telling him to “stop that right now.”

A moment that made me smile.

Folks told my Mama their stories.  Friends.  Family.  Complete strangers.  Especially complete strangers.  (Actually I’m not sure she ever met one of those.  She could talk to anyone, and she usually did.)  In her they found a great listener with a compassionate heart and a gentle touch.  A safe place to land with what was weighing on their minds.

I got a call back on my query about an item for sale yesterday.  In a few short minutes, I learned why the call had not been made sooner and quite a bit about their family and the sadness in their hearts right now.  Oh me.  Such sweet and kind people, having to deal with the pain of losing someone they love.  In those few short minutes, I heard their story and we became forever connected.  Our stories intertwined.

After I got off the phone and was thinking of these folks, that was when I heard my Daddy laughing.  He used to say, “That’s your Mama.  She’ll talk to anybody.  And they’ll tell her everything.”

Tonight I sat on the top bleacher enjoying the slight breeze as the sun faded away and Cooter tested his swimming skills and learned how to improve them.  The breeze, the hushed sound of water splashing, and children playing.

There were other parents sitting close enough to strike up a conversation.

And many nights I have.  It seems like the thing to do, you know?

But tonight I didn’t.

I hope they didn’t think I was rude.  I chose instead to watch my swimmer boy and listen.  To nothing.  A quick sideglance told me one parent was working Sudoku puzzles and the other was on his phone.  So maybe they never even noticed the lack of conversation.  Or maybe they too were in need of it.

The quiet.  (relatively speaking anyway)

My view this morning.  I didn't want to leave it and start the day.

My view this morning. I didn’t want to leave it and start the day.

This morning when I woke up, I lay there for a while.  I was loath to get up and break the morning open.  My soul needed the peace found only in the quiet and the listening.  When I finally did get up and moving, the day was off with a bang and full of stories.  Hard ones.  With the occasional not so hard. But yeah.  Mostly hard.

People are hurting all over, you know?

And they need someone to listen.

But sometimes it’s all too much.  And every now and then I need not to listen to the stories.  And instead I need to listen to the peace in the quiet.  The calm.  I need balance.

And as I sat there tonight, wonky waving every now and then to the little guy with the toothless grin (oh how sad will I be when he begins to wave like everyone else) to let him know, “I see you.  Way to go.  You are doing just fine–I’m proud of you for trying!  Keep on keeping on,” I was listening.

And you know what I think I was hoping to hear–this just occurred to me right now.

Those exact same words.  From the One who is always near, always wonky waving to me when I’m willing to notice.

“I see you.”

“You are doing just fine–I’m proud of you for trying!”

and then–

“Keep on keeping on.”

Oh the blessing in those words.  The comfort.  The assurance.  That I’m on the right path.  That maybe I haven’t veered off as far as I thought.

It’s not always easy, this journey, is it?

But as I turned to climb down off the bleachers, collect my boy, and head home, this is what I saw, waiting, wonky waving at me, this child who needs to be seen.  Who needs the peace and comfort that comes with the “I see you–you are doing okay.”

 

A little wonky wave can do a lot for the heart and soul.

A little wonky wave can do a lot for the heart and soul.

 

And tonight I’m thankful for this.  And for all the wonky waves I get.  I am loved.  Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

Love and wonky waves to all.

May They Never Not See

I’m not here to argue the Second Amendment.  If you’re looking for that battle, head over to Facebook or any other social media and you won’t have to look long to find someone who will take the side opposite yours and debate the merits of their side for hours…..and days.

So this is not about that.  We don’t have to agree, okay?

This is about folks carrying their weapons.  In plain view.

I’m not going to argue about whether that’s right or wrong either.  I’m not there.

What this is about is, as usual, my emotions when I saw the gun, and more importantly, my children’s reactions.

The first time I saw someone carrying–and not concealed and not a police officer or peace officer or any kind of officer–was in our favorite barbecue restaurant.  (I was getting catfish, but that’s another story.)  The man came in and sat down at the table cater-cornered from us.  He added a salad bar on to his meal so he was up and down.  Which drew all of our attention.  My children were all bug-eyed.  In the interest of having good manners, I insisted they look away and lower their voices as they asked me “Why?” and “Is there a bad guy in here?”  Their worried faces and voices worried me.  And made me sad.  I know people carry concealed weapons.  But still, it was a shock to my system to see a weapon out in the open like that without a badge accompanying it.  I tried not to let my shock show in front of my children, but yeah.  It was there.

Yesterday, after an *ahem* incident with my phone being dropped and not working, we were at the store where I have a protection plan, testing out just how good the plan was.  My littles and I were standing at the counter for quite a while, waiting for the service to first be approved and then completed.  As we stood waiting, people came and went at the customer service register next to us.  Then I saw him.  A man with a gun in a holster on his right hip.  Within reaching distance, quite close, of my little guy.  Cooter turned to me with his eyes bugging out of his head.  I shook mine and moved us a little further away.  Fortunately, the man wasn’t there long.  I had to answer questions again about why and what was going to happen in the store.  *sigh*

I am not gun-ignorant but I’ll admit I’m not overly savvy either.  I’ve known folks who carried their guns in racks in their trucks.  I’ve had an aunt who tucked a gun in her purse for protection. My point is, I’ve seen guns before.

But not like this.

I think what troubles me the most is there are countries, neighborhoods where children would not blink an eye at guns in plain sight.  There are countries where guns are expected to be out in the open, and children duck and go on their way when they hear gunfire.  Where the person not carrying a weapon openly is in the minority.

Oh y’all.

I have no answers tonight.  Just fear.  I fear that my children will become accustomed to seeing these weapons out in the open, and one day their eyes won’t even really see them, they won’t bug out, and the questions won’t follow.  It will be the norm.  That’s what I fear.

For some reason tonight, I have a hankering to watch “Andy Griffith,” where the sheriff didn’t even carry a gun and the deputy’s gun and bullet were carried separately.

It’s not the guns–it’s what they represent.  That there is seemingly a more pressing need for them, such that they need to be carried openly.  And often.

Remember I said last night I’m needing some balance in my life?  I’m also hoping for some peace.  In my heart, in my home, in my world.

Love to all.

 

 

#bethefeather

Tonight I had the honor and privilege of sharing stories and leading our time at our Evening Prayer service.  It was a beautiful evening of folks sharing their thoughts and hearts, and I am grateful for each one there.  We talked about success, both the world’s view and what we believe it looks like.  From there, the conversation shifted gears, and we talked about what we want most in life.  And then what it looks like to comfort and love as the Rabbi did.  As we are fairly certain that is what we need to do.

And the conversation continued from there…..

My Aub posted on Facebook last week this quote from Anne Lamott’s “Help Thanks Wow.”  I have had folks try to comfort me with words such as these, and frankly, there have been times I’ve felt what Ms. Lamott is saying here.   A dear friend of mine told me that she wants to respond to folks who, in passing, pat the hands of those going through hard times, saying, “I’ll pray for you,” with “Were you even listening?  Really?  I need someone, something to hold on to.  Really?”

20140504-233418.jpg

 

They mean no harm really, and I understand.  It’s just that sometimes the pain is so great and the loss so deep (or is it vice versa, never mind, it’s both) that it is hard to find comfort in the words coming out of someone’s mouth.

At one point or another over the past four years, someone quoted this Scripture to me in an effort to bring me peace and comfort.

20140504-233406.jpg

 

This is beautiful.  Is there anything sweeter than a little one huddling close to Mama or Daddy and being protected and safe?  If there is, I can’t think of it right this second.

I love this image.  I do.  However, when I was in the depths of heartbreak and loss and feeling broken, I couldn’t quite wrap my brain around the words and grasp the comfort of the idea.  Never mind the thought helping my hurting heart. Not happening.  It was folding its arms and shaking its head no–just not working here.

I began to wonder, is it just a pleasing image?  Is this passage for the birds?  What was I not getting?

Then last week Thom Shuman (who writes beautiful poetry and it an incredible writer of liturgy) shared this video.  Please take three minutes and watch this.  I don’t think you will regret it.

Take a moment to dry your eyes.  Or hang on while I do.  Gets me Every. Single. Time.

Oh my.

The thing is, in my life, there are times I’ve been the person shaking her head at what someone else is doing.  I’ve also been the person a little indignant that someone wasn’t there just a little bit sooner to help.

But the one I want to be?

The guy.  He gets it.  He knows what it’s like to walk in the dust of the Rabbi.  To LIVE like He did.

Y’all, what if WE are the FEATHERS?  What if?  What if our calls and cards and messages and visits and lunches in waiting rooms and bananas hung on doors and cups of coffee on sad afternoons and laughter over silliness and our listening to memories and stories that need sharing—what if we are part of the Wing that shelters and comforts?

What does that look like?

I think we just saw it in that video.  Makes the world a more beautiful place.

Y’all go be the feather.

#bethefeather Go shelter and comfort another.  We can do this.

#bethefeather
Go shelter and comfort and love another. We can do this–change the world.

Love and comfort to all.

#bethefeather

finally

your voice comes back to us

recorded on paper, written, thought out

what you said, what you wished for

the dreams that never came to be

the life lost to the things that held onto you

and wouldn’t let go

demons, darkness, distractions

 

you once believed in all that could be

we must believe that ourselves and hold onto it

so many questions, the hope that you once dreamed

and believed they could happen

is all we have now

 

 

what happens in hearts that cannot be untangled–

who cannot break away from the grasp of the cold?

why must they be lost forever

until completely swallowed up by the worries and fears

that torment them deep inside

 

 

the happy smiles, the jovial laughs, we all want to hide behind the mask

never let anyone in to see the mess inside

oh if only we could have seen

if only you had let us in

 

 

denial, pride, fear, shame, pain

are not friends to the soul

they tear it apart and break it to the core

until there’s nothing left but a life lost

too soon, too much, too heartbreaking

 

 

wishing it were all a dream

and we could all have do-overs

a chance to go for it again, to run, to leap,

to soar

and to turn it all around

and stick the landing

 

 

but it seems

that is for movies of the week and fairy tales

when in truth we falter, we trip, we fall and cannot pick ourselves back up

all the while smiling with the mask we’ve made

Yes, I’m fine, all is well, just fine and dandy, and you?

 

 

in this life, there’s not always a second chance or third or fourth

and a faulty landing can earn us far worse than a low number on a scoreboard

or a bumpy ride down a runway

it can take us down

and out

 

 

I promise to try to look beyond the masks of others

and try to trust and not hide behind my own

 

 

if only we had ripped yours away, grabbed you by your shoulders,

looked you in the eyes

and said,

“I know”

“I understand”

“I want to hear your story” or

cried out, “I want to help!” and then

did something, anything to help you change your course

 

 

but we didn’t speak

and you didn’t trust

and now your voice is silent

except for what is written

beautiful words of dreams and plans and love and laughter

 

 

you planned a good life

and now, my friend, you have it

your journey is over, the tears you never let go are wiped away

peace be with you

finally

 

 

--from "Over When It's Over", Luke Laird/Eric Church

–from “Over When It’s Over,” Luke Laird/Eric Church