Remember the Math

I miss my Mama.

She’s been on my mind and heart so much more than usual in the recent past. I suppose it could be because January is her month. Her birthday is Friday the 15th, forever etched in my mind and soul. The day I give thanks for her presence on this earth and her presence in our hearts since she left this world almost 8 years ago.

I think it also could be because I so miss her words of wisdom, her hugs, her loving my babies through all kinds of things, her being where they could go when they are mad at me. I struggle these days, just as I am sure many of you are. What sense would Mama make of all of this, I wonder. I more than wonder. I yearn for her and her way of looking at life.

I was thinking about this last night when the lights were out and only the whispers of the wind outside and the gentle snoring of my feline and canine babies could be heard. And I heard my Mama, almost as if she were right beside me.

I have two younger sisters and a little brother. My sisters are three and five years younger than me, and my baby brother is almost nine years younger. With all of our personalities and varied interests piled up together in our childhood home, we were bound to get into (ahem) disagreements. It happened. Always certain that we each were RIGHT and the other was WRONG, we toted tales to Mama, who was at home with us the most.

“She did this, he said that, why does she get to, tell him not to, she’s not, he’s bugging me” and so on. You get the idea. Inevitably, when Mama asked one of us about a transgression, the answer would pop out almost without thinking.

(or completely without thinking, because we KNEW what Mama thought of what we were about to say)

“Yes ma’am, I did, but she—“

Oh boy.

That “but” would get Mama’s goat more than anything. Using what someone else did to justify our wrongdoing–whoo whee. Mama had one and only one opinion on that.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

That was how math worked in our house. (That and a null set for leaving folks out, but that’s another story.)

Mama didn’t play when it came to us thinking “but he said, but she did” justified anything we might do. “If you know better, do better.” No matter what someone else did or said. So she nipped that in bud.

Over and over. We were a little slow picking things up sometimes.

One of our family traditions was going to see the children’s plays at Mama’s alma mater (and eventually mine and my daughter’s). It was always in the fall. I have fond memories of Mama and Daddy both loading us up and going to see the young performers who seemed so adult to me at the time. They were STARS, and I was starstruck. I remember one play in particular when a princess came out in a flurry of pink tulle, in the midst of much chaos and unpleasant exchanges between the other characters, exclaiming in her high pitched princessy voice, “I’m sure you’re all really very wonderful.”

Oh my, how Mama loved that line and made it her own.

I loved my siblings then and still do. But we weren’t always on the same page when we were all in the same house. When we were “at cross purposes” as Mama called it and at odds with each other, we weren’t necessarily pleasant about it. Mama would say after encouraging us to bring it down to a “dull roar” those very words–“I’m sure you’re all really very wonderful.”

I remember her tone didn’t always suggest that she was fully one hundred percent committed to her belief in that statement. It was more of a reminder for us to get to wonderful…..in rapid fashion.

Bless her.

So that’s it.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

I’m sure you’re all really very wonderful.

That’s what I heard my Mama whisper that night. The week of her birthday, I got the gift of a reminder of her wisdom. In the dark of night, there was light.

While we are all out here in our day to dailies and posting things and speaking things and getting along (or not) with folks, let’s remember the math.

And please keep it down to a dull roar. I have a headache (and heartache) that won’t go away.

Love to all.

ps. What I’m not saying, because my Daddy had strict rules about what we could talk about in public, is this–bad and hard things have happened. Please don’t make light of them or justify making light of them because you feel that other hard or bad things have happened. We are all hurting. Let’s see if we can get to wonderful. And be light and love to each other. That’s all. Remember the math.

All In My Chili

So today, I was toodling along, minding my very own business, and this happened.

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That’s what I get for looking at Facebook.

*sigh*

All in my chili…..

It’s true, isn’t it?

If I can’t or don’t try to stop something from happening, how can I depend on someone else to change it? And get angry when they don’t?

I can’t.

Mama used to have a rule about us not asking someone to do something for us that we weren’t willing to do ourselves.  It was probably to prevent sibling abuse, but yeah, it’s a good rule for life, I think.

I can’t sit back and see an injustice happening, do nothing, and then get angry over and over that it continues to exist, frustrated that “someone” isn’t stopping it. Not when I’m not making a move to stop it myself.

What I allow will continue to happen.

I can’t put up with someone mistreating me, ignoring my feelings, or disrespecting me–all the while shaking my head and hoping it will stop.

What I allow will continue to happen.

I can’t bury my head in the sand, continue homeschooling my littles, and ignore the woes of the children who are in the public school system and hope that the world will be a better place someday.  What is happening now won’t affect just those children in the schools, it does and will affect all of us.

What I allow will continue to happen.

Now that I know better about things like modern-day industrial slavery and fair trade, I cannot make purchases of certain things, turning a blind-eye to how they were made.

For if I do, the slavery will continue to happen.

The decline of our educational system will continue.

The abuse and wear and tear on my soul will continue to eat away at who I am.

The injustices, so many of them in this world, will continue, and those suffering at the hands of another, will be right that their voices aren’t being heard, feeling that their lives maybe just don’t count as much.  Not if I’m not willing to speak up for them.

The things in this world that can be lost if we allow it–

love, kindness, innocence, peace, freedom, wisdom, knowledge

a soul,

a life

Mama also had another quote she’d toss at us from time to time.  I dug around and couldn’t find the source of the quote, but that doesn’t detract from its truth.

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If I don’t like the way things are–the situation in the world, in this country, in my community and even in my own home–then I have to accept that if it is to be–if change is to happen–it must begin with me.  If I don’t make an effort to change what I see that isn’t right, it will continue.  And I also have to realize that if it continues…..

and I have been too busy or afraid or lost to take a step…..

it continues because I have allowed it to.

A tough pill to swallow tonight.

Like I said, they’re all in my chili, stirring me up tonight.

What is it that you are being called to change–to stop allowing?  To keep from continuing to happen?

Whether it’s fighting social injustice or a taking a stand to end bullying or making a request that clothes be turned right side out before being put in the laundry–it all matters.  If it brings peace to the world, go for it.

One step at a time, one person at a time, we can make a difference.

I know it’s a cliche’, but there is truth rolling around in there as well.

Reminds me of lyrics from  the song our teachers worked so hard to teach us to sing when we were practicing for our Eighth Grade Graduation.

“Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me…..”

Amen.