for his birth-day

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Nothing like a bargain to make this guy happy:

two for the price of one!

His eyes shining, he snaps up extra boxes of cereal and jars of pickle relish   –                         how many will fit in the cart?

Hauls them home, proudly.

He’s like that with life, too –

can’t get enough of it,

as if it all came for free –

like me!

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Lost and Found

Pacific, Storm, January, 2017 (meb)

3A7D9350-A86B-47E8-9C88-03FE96170983Sometimes, the path is not clear.  What will I do with my one “wild and precious life?”  I continue to ask, even this late in the journey.  The world is mine; I have my whole life of experience behind me.  Much that preoccupied me in earlier years will not arise again (thank God!).  And still, there is this yearning.

If I could do anything, what would it be?  These are the wonderings, the meanderings of a person of privilege in this world, to be sure.  Should I write?  Of course.  Should I travel?  Yes, as long as I can, and am able.  As long as I have other places to explore.  Should I sing?  Oh, yes!

How can I serve?  That has been a question I have held within myself since I was young, and that question alone has been a key that has opened a world to me, a key that broadened my world by measures I could not have imagined.  When I set out to “serve,” to help human-kind (at the time, I thought my service would “make a difference;” now, I think not), I was willing to let go of other things to do so.  Instead, I have discovered that the desire to serve, that alone,  opened the door to another life for me.

As I’ve grown older, I know that the value of service is not a value held by everyone.  I suppose for me, it has been a motivating force.  I thought it was a value of my generation; apparently not.  To serve is a value to some.

Another key to the opening of my life has been something that came with growing up in my family.  Although neither of my parents was “educated,” – my mother received her GED when I was in college, my father went through the 8th grade – both of my parents had a bright and vivid interest in the world.  Where did that come from?  I see now that having that interest in the world has been a shining star that has lit my path.  I see that others lack this quality – they will not “go beyond his father’s saying, and he likes having thought of it so well, he says again:  ‘Good fences make good neighbors (Robert Frost, “Birches”).”

I have an interest in the world that has allowed me to see that others can live differently than me, and that is good, not something that is suspect.  I have an interest in the world that has softened the edges of what I hold as right or good or holy.  My interest in the world has been a doorway – a wide, broad doorway with edges that can expand – has given me curiosity about the lives of others, about the world.  My curiosity has allowed me to question my own values and to see that they are mine, my own.  Others have their own; I may not understand, but it is good.

When my brother Ronn first married, I was still in my teens.  One day he said to me, casually, “do you know that other families are not interested in the world, like ours is?” I shook my head.  I had not thought of such a thing, and even more, I could not imagine it.  Like a child who observes the home of another family for the first time, seeing that things are different here, his question opened my world, even more.

For all of these things, I am grateful.  I am grateful for the call to service.  That call has been a well-appointed entrance into a larger world, for me.  I am grateful for the gift of interest, a simple quality, but a quality that carries within it a curiosity, about people, about life.  That curiosity also carries within it a curiosity about self, and that deeper, inside journey is itself a treasure.

“And God saw that it was good.”  – Genesis, The Bible

 

Holy Moment

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We sat, together on the edge of your single bed,  in that narrow room.

There, you would die, within the year.

I told you that your little brother was dead:  “Uncle Pete died.”

Your green eyes filled with tears – I had seldom seen you cry –

a small sob escaped.

You were remembering, I guess,

those complicated years of disenchantment, and love.

 

In a moment your face cleared –  you smiled,

and laughed.

Gone.

 

 

What life brings…

img_0897  Silver Lake, CA, late August, 2016.

In the wisdom years, I am so often grateful for those moments, those rich times that have certainly been part of life all along, but which I was too busy to notice in my busy, important life. What joys I have missed. Now, I witness the changing light of the days, I see the grass bend slightly to mark a passing breeze, I watch our local towhee dance only a few feet from me, watching, and I see the red streak of light over San Francisco Bay as the sun sets, a line of fire across the sky for only a few moments.

Since my beloved and I have returned from a few days in the Eastern Sierra, I have seen a few yellow leaves flying on the branches of my other witness to the changing seasons, the birch tree I love, outside my front window.

Just about 9 PM the other night, the phone rang in the kitchen.  I remarked to my husband, who, along with me, was already in bed, reading, that our phone rings so seldom.  I did not register the number of the caller, but when I answered, the frantic voice of a life long friend spoke to me.  I responded to something in her clear, commanding voice, by asking:  “is something wrong?”

Her husband had spent Labor Day in the hospital, including an MRI that returned with the news that he has a fast-growing cancer, a tumor in his brain.  When the short call was over – what can be said, after all? – I leaned over, bare feet on the kitchen floor, and cried.  Then, I told my husband.  I placed the book I had been reading on the floor next to the bed, turned over, and tried to pray.

How do I  pray at such a time?  What do I ask?  How do I do this?  I ask you, but I expect you do not know the answer, either.  There is nothing to do, nothing to say, nothing except to be a witness to this, also.  How big is God? I thought, my thoughts guarding me from my feelings as I lay in bed.  Thoughts will not guard me forever, though.

My prayers, my most heart felt prayers are with my friends, today.  I don’t know how to pray, so I expect my spirit, our spirit – yours and mine – will know.

Life, after all, brings these true and bliss-filled moments of beauty, and pain.