The other day I was driving to a restaurant I'd been to once before. I felt confident I knew where it was located. I ended up circling the nearby streets for at least twenty minutes. "Was it one street up? Or one down?" If you drew my trip on a map it'd have looked like Pacman or some variant thereof, left-right-up-down. "Ahh...finally." It turns out I had forgotten that it was actually more than a few streets down from the largest cross streets I'd memorized.
It's a good thing I wasn't in a rush, and had a pleasant lunch.
There are times in day-to-day living I'm sure I know my way only to find myself coming up again to an impasse -"Wait - wasn't I just here?" - I don't wish to go around in circles; I want to get to my destination.
I wish it were that easy.
Sometimes a detour is a nuisance, a mere pause. Or it can be frustrating. Even painful.
When the misunderstanding pops up that has led to hurt feelings a thousand times before, and I think, "When are we ever going to get past this?" When the situation tries my patience and sanity for the umpteenth time, and I wonder, "Can I give up?" 'Round and around and around and around we go.
I try to explain to the people who don't know why or how, only that they've hurt me, "Don't you know when you do this, I will react in (this) way because it hurts me?" "Or, when you say this in such a manner, I can't help but think you really mean (this) so I feel upset?" Now tell me now tell me now tell me now you know. I'm at the end of my rope, tied a knot, and hanging on. But it's coming apart, fraying.
After bouts of high winds, my goji plant seemed to be dry, dead twigs. The leaves had all blown away in the wind and there was no more sign of life. I stopped going into the backyard to check on it.
When I saw it again in early February (this is a picture from Feb. 10), it had started budding. Imagine my profound surprise!
My jaw dropped to see this plant --in my mind-- come back from the dead.
This past week had me dreaming about work-related emergencies and other worries. Whether I was sleeping or awake, there I confronted the same worries. Like the presence of a low-humming refrigerator, they were there even though I wasn't focused on them.
At the time, there was a work situation where I was thinking, "I'm being petty," or, "I don't have a right to be mad, yet I'm still upset." I felt I was a dry withered branch because of my attitude.
But look at what God wants -- not perfectionism. Not good enough. Instead, His kindness breathes new life into a dry brittle stick.
I had stopped watering and caring for my goji plant when it appeared there was no hint of green. But still it rained. And come spring, it sprung to life.
What to my eyes is dead and gone, God revives!
It seems appropriate for today to celebrate new life on Easter.
We lived in a two bedroom-apartment in Flushing, New York, when I was nine, close enough to Fresh Meadows that mail would come to us, emphatically "Flushing, Flushing, Flushing," with one lone dissenter, "Fresh Meadows." It is now I realize the irony on a neighborhood map, that of a toilet in action producing fragrant fields lush with flowering plants and grass.
My local library was the Pomonok Branch. Later on, I would consider all areas of the library open for business; from the imposing spines of autobiographies and the profile of their far-off-gazing authors to the Young Adult (YA) section where I read summaries and skimmed excerpts to assess my appetite. At the time, however, I made my rounds in the upstairs children's section. I knew the shelves like the back of my hand. Along the wall, Henry and Mudge; here, The Baby-sitters Club; and there, Goosebumps. There was also the Dr. Dolittle series by Hugh Lofting, which I had considered “dry” in comparison to books about sock-eating plants until I gave in and read it all, my progress impeded only by the availability of a new Animorphs book. Successful reading ventures like these helped lay the foundation for tackling denser material.
The classics section, its paperbacks squeezed and so closely quartered that to remove one was to cause a collective sigh among its shelved companions, was adjacent to the stairs I often ascended to the upper level. Here, each book was distinguished by the bands of color representing its respective publisher: Bantam Classics; Penguin Classics; Puffin Classics. Maybe Pigeon or Parakeet Classics had been found wanting. Tilting my head sideways and moving through the shelves, I found White Fang. I knew that the book was not likely to leave me chuckling or whisk me away on an easy adventure. Since reading is like holding a conversation with someone who monopolizes the dialogue, reading a classic meant possibly getting stuck with a disagreeable interlocutor or a boring topic. Regardless, I decided to take it on as a personal challenge.
I expected the character of the wolf to be illuminated in the first pages to the effect of a booming voice conveniently announcing, "This is the titular character." I assumed each character had joined the story until the last pages, and was poised to introduce myself to the protagonist at any moment. If I had thought I could expeditiously extract the story at the heart of the novel, I was mistaken. Instead, I jumbled along the concerns of the story arc I was presently reading, Part One to Part Two to Part Three, pangs of emotion piercing my heart, leaving me slack-jawed, unsure, and hoping against all hope.
It was a story of the relationship between man and the undomesticated animal of the wild—the wolf—with whom he did not share a language. Their form of communication was power, whether the instinctual hungry ferocity of the wolf causing man to tremble or the two-legged creature holding fire and speaking fear into the wolf's heart. In his life, White Fang came to know both the club-wielding hand which wrecked defeating blows and the hand offering belly rubs of affection. Despite his quarter-dog heritage, domesticating White Fang was not an easy feat.
Like the wolves before him, White Fang inherited the fear instinct which had been passed down through “a thousand thousand lives.” As a wolf cub, he boisterously attacked a stray ptarmigan when wandering outside, but bristled quietly in the cave as a wolverine passed by. His wolf heritage prompted a “hungry yearning for the free life that had been his” when his mother led him to an Indian camp. Despite the food and protection the people provided him, it was unlikely that an animal born into the wild could accept and enjoy a master's rule. However, never did such a terrible feeling gnaw at him as did the raging hatred that consumed him under the cruel ownership of Beauty Smith.
If the mistrust held by White Fang against bondage were not enough, his bad dealings with Beauty would not have allowed any man thereafter to feed or even pet him. Under the circumstances, White Fang could not logically have been, and yet was, overwhelmed by Weedon Scott's unconditional care and regard. Out of an unlikely pairing was borne a companionship, unfathomable in that a wolf's longing for freedom could be tempered by fealty and gratitude, and that such a bond would ultimately become pleasure.
When I finished the novel, I was overcome by what I had read that I was compelled to write a letter to its author. I did not know how to get the letter into his hands, but I wanted to tell Mr. London that his words mattered greatly. I wanted to connect and to respond in the conversation that we had started, a conversation that had, up until now, been monopolized by him.
Unfortunately, the excitement of receiving a possible reply soon equaled and exceeded the anticipation of what the reply might contain, and I decided against sending the letter. When I came across it many years later tucked in a composition notebook, I found a single sheet of creased looseleaf paper and words staring back in cursive, “I want to be an author when I grow up.” Had I known then? It is more likely I had not believed Mr. London would respond to anything less than a conclusive admission. I at least had tried to write, but had been stumped by how to turn sentences into paragraphs. After all, who has never had to turn an idea easily expressed in several sentences into an essay?
I know I would not have gotten a reply, Jack London's death being in 1916, but I did not need one, after all. Here I am yet, making sentences into paragraphs.
Ever read a post and have it touch your heart that you want to grab it right from the screen, a full-page flyer with pictures and everything, to hug the words close? Just because it came at the right moment,
because your eyes are filling with tears that are washing away the heart-ache,
because words are resonating within you like a heartbeat, and you know it's truth leaping from the page?
I still startle delighted when a piece of life's billion-piece puzzle falls into place. My mind rejoices as it folds the piece in with the rest, carefully pressing down the contours to lock it in. The knowledge comes suddenly..
...it's the living of it that is hard.
It's probably because I forget easily, and before I know it I'm wound up again, clenching my fists, with knots in my chest and that lump in my throat, until a reminder comes my way, to count and remember. Trust and joy and rest. But the work isn't over.
And I make a habit out of the positive, with each moment carve out new pathways until they are well-worn, and am transformed by the renewing of my mind, because unlike pessimism, light is the radical thing in a dark world.
And sometimes when it gets difficult, I need another reminder, with pictures and everything,
I just realized/re-discovered how much I've always really liked fantasy of the magical kind! so weird how you forget stuff about yourself
Stuff that I've liked:
Magic in the Park, by Ruth Chew What the Witch Left, by Ruth Chew Alex Mack Ella Enchanted Magic Shop books by Bruce Coville Anywhere Ring by Louise Ladd narrowing down my list of magic powers i would want to 3 or 1 Ghostwriter (wait, this is more mystery) Early Edition Charmed Sabrina the Teenage Witch Subcategory:actionadventure Relic Hunter Warehouse 13
hit the snooze button.. the topic of this post is politics, hahah. (or you can humor me.)
Romney chooses Paul Ryan currently serving in House of Rep from Wisconsin to be his running mate
Ryan's well-thought out and well-articulated policies are currently overshadowing Romney, this is a way to "shake things up" and redefine the election but sometimes when the ticket's VP overshadows the president it's not good even right now i am more clear on ryan's POV than Romney, whom i find says one thing and then another, depending on his audience i'm not going to say republicans or democrats, i think that there are parts of their political agenda that i can align myself with.. though i do find that i side with the democratic party because i don't relate as well to someone who is $$$ over my .10 i once heard it said republicans and democrats alike care about quality of life, but republicans care about it at the beginning (conception) and end of life, and democrats care about it in-between those two points. if i were to apply it to fiscal policy... republicans are saying it's about individual responsibility, you know - cut government spending. i would say democrats and repubs alike care about individual responsibility but democrats believe in helping the low-performing ones perform better and repubs believe in incentives to help the high-performing ones perform better the thing is, i rather like paul ryan because he's a sharp guy. "nice" "humble" are some of the words used to describe him... and i saw a segment on charlie rose, i would not disagree. if i were to sit down at the table with him in one chair and hillary clinton in another, boy i hope i'd have something to say because what a conversation to be had! and this is not to mention that he resembles will schuester (matthew morrison), so it almost feels like i know him already. blah. i would say he is very, very committed to the best interests of those he represents... unfortunately, this is the republican party. he doesn't understand life outside of easing restrictions, tax cuts favoring the wealthy, though i like his responsible governmental spending i am likely to disagree where he cuts the budget, and in general his philosophy can be intriguing (not only does it make sense on a broader scale, the guy really does have ideas on how to implement it) but i don't agree with it ! ok, bipartisanship he is not for. he is too committed to the cause for that, no matter how humble or well-spoken or nice he is. regarding the inner motivation of a person, that i understand. it's a refreshing change to see someone work from a position that is a deep-seated belief, personal convictions borne out of discussion and rumination and honed through the years, not just helping out whoever lines their pockets or whatever benefits their campaign. oh and their major weakness - foreign policy. i don't really care if ryan is a "beancounter"... or that he used his dad's social security benefits to pay his college tuition.. but maybe i don't know anything about politics! any thoughts? (i like clarity of purpose, but even someone with clarity of purpose can be steered wrong.. but it's a difficult choice to make when the alternative seems only a placeholder) i think i should start reading ayn rand.
Here is something that someone posted on Facebook:
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP I stayed away from Facebook (completely) for almost 5 consecutive days... and when I came back, I was floored to find out how interesting, witty, funny, capable, and amazing people are..
This week I've been really swallowed up by boredom and a sense of futility. All that spells out i-n-g-r-a-t-e ... it's not that there aren't things to do, but I often flail with despair at the not knowing of it all, letting my ignorance of the big picture paralyze me so that I forget to assign meaning to my present moment.
Missing the trees for the forest. I guess it's possible when it comes to me.
But there ARE things to do. Today I read (well, re-read) a Sabrina book that I'd first read such a long time ago. I love STTW because her problems, however extraordinary or magical, actually always apply or dovetail with how I feel. And you'd think the solutions don't apply since it's just a TV show or book, but they do, for me! She is just independent enough as a character, getting in trouble with firm but loving aunts, to remind me to be more grown up.
I learned from reading today's story that there is, that there still can be, good in this world. And that I can be a part of it, if I want to. That's another thing -- I've been down on myself, feeling like I no longer have the goodness I had as a child, bogged down by fear (and whatever is induced by fear).. finding it hard to believe that who I think I've become is not who I am. But doesn't it say in James 4:6? ..But he gives us more grace.