Sparkling Trails in the Sunlight

This morning as Miss Sophie and I went for our morning constitutional, the sun was bright and it wasn’t quite so cold.  I could almost believe that Spring might be on her way.  (Yes, PLEASE.)  The sky was a vivid blue and the sun was reflected on the sidewalk, turning it almost white.

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In that gorgeous sunlight I noticed the sparkling silver trails across the sidewalk.  I wondered where the trailblazers were and if they had made it through the night.

Looking at those trails reflecting the morning light, I wondered, will my own trail reflect the light like that after I’m gone out of sight on this journey?  Will it be a beautiful thing to see and think about on a morning filled with hope?  Will those who knew nothing of me see the path I’ve traveled on and feel inspired?

Something to think about as I plan my steps and make my way.

Love to all.

 

redemption story

the truth is, we are all living a redemption story–
in any given moment we can change direction
make choices that take us on another path completely
rewrite our story
change up the cast of characters
have a set change and cull the props

at any point on our path
we can chart another course
and turn this life around
such that what was born of the dark times
can shine such beautiful light
eventually,
one day

and what was broken and caused all the pain
can lead others to the light, to beauty
and towards their own redemption story

all of us have that chance
for atonement and healing hearts,
as long we are on this journey
and putting one foot in front of the other
it is not too late

there always exists the choice
for small, great things
that can leave an imprint on the hearts and minds
of history
changing the course for all of us
if only we are strong and speak in truth
with courage
celebrating joy and leaving beauty marks in our wake

we are all living out our stories
it is for us to make it a good one

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be strong, true, joy / Walk in the Light / the story is always redemption

Note:  As I was making this picture with the Latin words, I used an on-line translator, as it’s been just a few years since my last Latin class.  To double check my translation, I reversed the process and learned the truest interpretation of the words here.  The one that made my the most joy-filled, the most hopeful is the last one.  Instead of saying “The redemption story is always possible,” it interpreted it to read, “The story is always redemption.”  So much hope there.  For all of us.  Love to all.  

To Me, Age 22

A tearful and joy-filled day of remembering someone who loved life.  Loved cooking.  Loved people.  Loved his family.

And loved my sisterfriend.

As I sat there watching the slide show of pictures of him throughout his life, including the wedding pictures–the wedding I had the joy of being a part of, in the same building where I sat today with the tears flowing–

I found myself face to face with my 22-year-old self.

I saw her and my sisterfriend, sitting side by side in the little office with the cinderblock and wood top desk.  I saw them working together to get the job done, but also they laughed.  And they listened to music.

And they talked.

And in those moments between payroll and accounts payable and making signs and calculating timecards,

a friendship was born.

As I looked at my much younger self, I wanted to whisper–

That one sitting right there?  The one you just met and are getting to know?  The one who is funny and vivacious and kind and smart and is putting up with you right now at this very minute?

She is your sisterfriend.  She is going to continue putting up with you.

One day, you will be able to say, “I’ve known her for over half my life.”

One day, you will hug each other and hold on tight and whether the tears are yours or hers, whether it’s her sadness or yours, it won’t matter.

Because you will share the journey.

You will be there to laugh over the crazy things people do, the choices they make.

You will be there to stand up for each other, to say, “hey, this girl right here–you’d better treat her right.  Or else.”

You will be there to stand off to the side and bring comfort merely because you are there.

There will be periods of time, years maybe even, when you won’t hear from each other,

but when it all boils down to it,

when things get hard or wonderful or life finds you in need,

that one, she will be there for you.  Just as you better be for her.

Life doesn’t always deal you a friend like that one.

The one with the bat.

The one with the smile and laugh.  The one with the stories.

The one who will carry your stories with her to the grave.

The one who will let you into her family, who will share love with you just as she does.

Hey!  You!  The 22-year-old me who thinks she’s got it all together, who thinks life is rolling along pretty well–engaged, new job, college degree…..

Yeah, you do have it pretty good

but not because of any of those things.

It’s because of that girl right there.

Your sisterfriend.

And all of the women like her.

Who stand strong and love their friends fiercely.

Yes, girl, you have it good.  Now reach over and hug that girl next to you.  Both so young, both have so much wonderful adventures and heartache in front of you.  And it will be okay.  Not because it won’t hurt, not because you will get over it, but because you have a friend to share the journey with.

And to sit in the dark with you when the lights go out.

Because, my sweet self, they will go out.

No, don’t worry about a flashlight.  That’s only temporary.

Grab your sisterfriends.  That’s what light eternal is made of.

Friends.

 

Wishing you all a friend who will spend the next twenty-four plus years putting up with you.  (And a small warning, once you offer to use your bat “as necessary,” there are some folks who are hard to get rid of after that.)

 

Love to all.  Especially my sisterfriends.

 

Beep Beep Boop

So as seems to keep happening in this world, at least in my world, things keep changing.

I mean, I just found out that “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is still out there, only the newer ones are different.

Well, that’s disappointing.

And don’t even get me started on when Steve left “Blues Clues.”  I grieved y’all.  And this is not a word I take lightly.  (I mean no offense to his cousin Joe, I just really don’t like change.  And I really did like Steve.)

Recently WordPress, this site right here where I sit and visit with y’all each night, changed their format.  I didn’t even know what to do with that.  After a night or two of trying to maneuver it, I was so relieved to see a window pop up that offered me the option of reverting back to the “classic” mode.

Ah yes, please and thank you.

And so each night when prompted, I opt for the classic mode.

The only thing I really like about the “new” version is this screen right here:

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This cracks me up.  It pops up while I wait to be redirected to the screen for my “new post.”  I even find myself sitting here, giggling, making the sound over and over–beep beep boop, beep beep boop, as the three lights alternate movement.

Beep beep boop.

Beep beep boop.

Waiting.

On the next screen.

Or the next thing.

In limbo.

Waiting.

I feel like that’s where I am on my journey right now.

Right in the middle of beep beep boop.

Limbo lower now.

Sorry, my brain took off without me there for a minute.

That whole waiting, waiting for the destination, for direction, for a path.

That’s where I live right now.  Only I have moments and days and weeks where it’s not as entertaining living it as it is seeing those words blip across my screen.

Beep beep boop.

I live with the hope that one day the screen of my daytodailies, of this journey, will change and I will see clearly where I’m heading–where I’m supposed to be heading.

Until then, I suppose I’ll choose to be entertained, and maybe I’ll use my waiting time to go read a book.  Or unload the dishwasher.

Or–I might need a nap.

Love to all.

 

River of Birds

This afternoon after I fought back during Round 2 of the Migraine Mess, I took Miss Sophie out back to let her run her little legs off.  It was a nice afternoon.  I’m hesitant to get too excited, because I know what my Granny said has always come to fruition.  Every.  Single.  Year.

There will be an Easter cold snap.  Right before Easter.

And Easter’s late this year, y’all.

So, ummm, call me a cynic, but I don’t trust the weather just yet.  I see you playing hide-and-seek over there, Winter.  I don’t believe you have packed your bags and headed home just yet.

Anyway, weather forecasting aside, as I was watching the littles and Miss Sophie running around, playing Frisbee and soccer, I heard a distinct sound above.  I looked up, and way, way up high, there were geese flying in the beautiful v-formation.  Tears came to my eyes.  I do love geese, especially since I found out that in the Celtic culture, they represent the holy spirit.  I have a friend who texts me “geese sightings” since we talked about that.  I love it.

As I watched them fly over, I thought about thoughts I heard shared by a dear man, my Mama’s pastor and friend, Pastor Bill.  He shared it at a Memorial for our cousin, Miss B, on a rainy Saturday afternoon in the upstairs chapel of the church.  Gathered with our family and a few dear friends, he shared stories and songs to bring comfort and hope to the children and all of us who had been touched by death, not once, but twice in the previous weeks.

A year ago today, Miss B passed away one week after Mama.  I was with her the day and night before.  Listening to doctors, nurses, taking in opinions and listening to all the options.  A visit from old friends of Miss B’s and their kind words helped a lot, but ultimately the decision was mine as to what to do.  I talked with my sisters and my brother and my Aunt, and by early the morning of the 17th, I thought I knew what we had to do.

I had dreamed about Miss B just two nights before.  She was in a beautiful golden room, wearing a fabulous bright pink dressing gown.  She was dancing around, and her speech was perfect, not hard to understand at all, as it sometimes could be.  I said, “What has happened?” and she replied, “I’m fine.  I’m dancing.  I’m happy.”

Wow.  I took comfort in that dream as I wrestled with the decision before me.  It was time to let her dance.

I called Miss Sue, our precious and dear friend who was Daddy’s nurse and has been a friend to all of us.  She and Pastor Bill had been there when Mama left this world, and I trust her as much as I love her.  Which is a lot.  I called her and asked her what she thought.  There were medical issues I wasn’t quite clear about.  She asked me if I was by myself.  I was.  “I’m on my way,” she said.

Bless.  Her.

Around this same time, Mama’s neighbor and sweet friend and someone I’m glad is on our team came in.  Miss Helen.  She had been a friend to Miss B too.  She walked in and hugged me.

So it was that the three of us gathered and said our goodbyes.  Miss Sue was so beautiful, talking to Miss B.  She was a comfort to me and for Miss B, talking her through the journey, as she took her last breaths.  I don’t know how I could have handled this without these two strong and gentle women there to help me say goodbye and let Miss B have peace.  Finally.

On that Saturday afternoon when we honored and remembered the life of Miss B, Pastor Bill asked the children in the room, my littles and Shaker, my nephew, if they’d seen the birds flying overhead.  So many it was hard to see where they began and where they ended.

They nodded.  We all did.

Pastor Bill called them a “river of birds.”  He talked about hope and finding beauty in life.  I don’t remember everything exactly as he said it, but I do remember the peace he left with all of us.  And what a gift he gave us in talking about the river of birds.  Now when we see them, we all point them out and stand in awe for a moment.  Standing in awe is good for the soul I think.

So it was today.  I watched the geese as they traded the lead.  Once.  Twice.  Three times.  Rhythmically and without slowing the progress.  The tears flowed when I thought about how the people in my life do this for me.  They come up beside me when I feel like maybe I cannot go on, and they take the lead, letting me rest and catch my breath, protecting me from taking everything head-on all by myself.

We do not journey alone.

And for that I am thankful.

Tonight I especially give thanks for those who have listened to the Spirit and been there to sit with me and all of us in the darkness.  And to celebrate in the light.  Pastor Bill and Miss Sue, who made time for us time and time again.  They love well.  Miss Helen, and her spunk and laughter giving us what we needed to keep going.  My Aunt, whether it’s bail money or a shoulder, someone to listen or advice about cupcake papers–she always picks up the phone.  She’s never too busy.  And all of you with your hugs and messages and calls to say you are thinking of us.

Thank you all for taking the lead for a few moments.  So we can catch our breath.

The river of birds.  Flowing.  Together.  Onward.

It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

Comfort in the Darkness

Sunday night we were reminded that the longest night of the year is coming.  In less than two weeks now.  Of all the 365/366 nights of the year, it is the longest.  Shortest day.  Longest night.  Winter Solstice.  However you put it, that’s a lot of darkness.

Just thinking about the other side of that night causes me anxiety.  The days will, slowly at first, begin to be longer and longer.  Until we are right back where we started from.  Light all the way up to bedtime.  And nowhere to hide.

Even though it took some adjusting, and I have struggled with all this darkness, I confess it suits me this year.  I appreciate the cloak of protection and privacy it offers.  The darkness allows me to hide–from the reality that will be all too plain to see in the glaring brightness of spring and summer.

The flat-out truth?  It’s okay to be sad in the dark.  But in the light we must put on a happy face.  Light just seems to call for it, doesn’t it?

And I just can’t.  I have tried and I have my good moments, but the truth is I like the darkness and the cold that allows me to stay in my home, that doesn’t demand activity and plan-making.  I like having fewer hours in the day to stare out at the already bare trees and changing leaves and remember where we were a year ago.  So full of hope that Mama was going to get better.  She called me just about a year ago, celebrating that the blood thinner shots were being taken off her regimen.  If only they hadn’t been…..

So the dark lets me think about the what if’s and the what was’es all by myself.  The dark draws all but me to their beds a little earlier, and Miss Sophie the pup and I sit and let the thoughts and memories and laughter and tears flow.  She is a polite young lady.  She might think I’m crazy–sometimes the way she cocks her head would indicate so–but she would never, ever put it into words.  Or tell my secrets.  I’m thankful for that.

I used to be afraid of the dark.  Growing up at Blackberry Flats, I begged not to be the one to feed the cats in the winter.  That trek from the back door out to Daddy’s building was never longer than it was on those pitch black nights.  Certain there was something out there that would get me, I would walk quickly and stealthily, hoping not to alert the evil ones to my presence.  And then I’d turn tail and run as fast as I could after emptying the dish.  Sharing a room with Sister all those years was a challenge as well.  She couldn’t sleep with a light on and again, I was afraid of the dark.  I don’t know what I was afraid of indoors, but I liked to fall asleep while Mama and Daddy were still up and the light from the hall made an interesting shape on our bedroom floor as it peeked through our cracked open door.

Light and dark.  Neither holds any real powers of protection or lacks them either.  They just are what they are.  And I’ve learned all too well that what can break you and tear your world apart is just as present in the light as it was in the dark.

And in the moment I fully realized that, the darkness became my friend.

The Light in the Darkness, beautiful and healing and warms my heart.  Off the beaten path, but always there if you look for it.

The Light in the Darkness, beautiful and healing and warms the heart. Off the beaten path, but always there if you look for it.

Tonight as I drove our Princess home after her activities, I felt embraced by the darkness.  Enveloped.  Comforted.  I could cry my eyes out and no one would know.  It would be okay.  Or I could smile and remember and that would be okay too.  I felt safe in the dark.  Oh how ten-year-old Tara would open her eyes in wonder at that and put her hands on her hip and shake her head, saying, “Unh uh, that’s not me.  No way!”  And yet it is.  Our journeys and where they take us on the road of life tend to change us in ways we never expected.  We embrace what we once rejected, we love whom we once couldn’t see, and we walk a little slower as the path already traveled gets longer and longer.

As safe as I felt on the trip home tonight, I was still glad to see the lights shining gently through the dark.  I do love it when folks decorate with lights outside for all to enjoy.  There is one particular house that always fills my heart with joy at their gift of whimsy year-round.  But at Christmas they really do go all out.  I stopped tonight to appreciate the warmth from their lights that had nothing to do with changing the numbers from the 44 degrees that was registered on my dash.  The warmth they gave off registered in my heart.  The little twinkling lights were beacons of hope, just as the Light that guided the shepherds and the Wise Men and Goodness only knows who else must have been for them over 2000 years ago.  A Beacon of Hope.  I love that it is on a little back road, way off the main drag.  A little harder to find, but there for those who do cross its path.  And open their eyes.  Much like Hope itself.

Hope is good, especially in the darkness.  And maybe, just maybe, that is another reason I love the darkness right now.  It makes the Light, the Hope, a lot easier to discern. When it is dark and broken and cold, the Light and the Hope are more easily seen with our eyes and our hearts because of the beautiful contrast.   And with the journey of the past two years, the past year, the past month, I need to see Hope and feel the comfort and peace that comes with seeing it, now more than ever before.

Embracing the darkness and finding comfort, love to all.  A good night.  And Goodnight.