Friday, November 28, 2014

Day 322, November 28

It is Black Friday.  I am not a Black Friday shopper.  The crowds and noise send me into overdrive, so I sit home and venture out when things are quieter.

Over the years, I have written several stories for the Chicken Soup collections.  I love the whole concept of Chicken Soup for the Soul.  Occasionally I want to suggest to the editors that they do a Chicken Soup for the Quiet Soul.  My soul needs quiet.  I suspect others do as well.

Though I love to be around friends and family, love church and other gatherings, when I come home, I am grateful for the quiet.   My kitty and I curl up together and absorb the quiet, then we are ready for the world again.

Joy for today:  breathing in quiet.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day 321, November 27

Today is Thanksgiving.

My heart is rebelling at the concept even as it is embracing it.  What can I say?  I have a fickle heart which feels one way at a moment and another a moment later.  (No wonder my husband is often confused.)

At this fragile moment in time, my heart is embracing.  I think of our newest granddaughter, as fragile as this fleeting moment, and I give thanks that she is doing as well as she is.  I think of my husband, children, grandchildren, and friends, and, once again, I give thanks.  And I think of the Atonement of Christ, the ultimate miracle, the ultimate blessing bestowed upon me, upon all of us, and I give thanks again.

Joy for today:  giving thanks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Day 320, November 26

And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand,
The hand that held the steel
For only blood can wipe out blood
And only tears can heal. ~ Oscar Wilde

Recently two friends and I were talking about grieving.  Each of us is grieving, in our own way, in our own time, over the loss of someone dear to us--a sister, a daughter, a husband.  Our grief takes different forms, and what works for one may not work for another.

Grieving usually involves tears, but tears are frequently difficult to shed.  For me, an intensely private person, I struggle to hold them back for they show the world my vulnerability.  I work to do my grieving in private, so that no one knows I'm hurting.

In talking with my friends, I realized that maybe, just maybe, I need to share my tears just as I share my joy. And maybe, just maybe, I can find solace in shared tears and strength in shared grief.

Joy for today:  healing through tears ...and friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Day 319, November 25

In a Dear Abby column from many years ago, the advice maven said, "Loneliness is the ultimate poverty."

This reminded me of holidays from my childhood, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, where our table was filled with people who had no family and few friends close by.  These were the "forgotten" people of the ward--the elderly, the widows, the people who had nothing to give in return.

Our home was not fancy; the food was not gourmet. But my parents were warm and welcoming, (which trumps fancy any time) and the food was hot and filling.

To my shame, I would occasionally grumble about our holidays always being shared this way.  "Where would you have them go?" my father asked when I complained one Thanksgiving upon learning that three widows would be joining us.  "Somewhere else," came my selfish response.  To this, my father said, "They have nowhere else."

The poignancy of this conversation, more than 50 years ago, causes tears to sting my eyes even today.

Joy for today:  remembering my parents.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Day 318, November 24

A painful time in our life is what I call a “healing crisis.” We are letting go of something old and opening to something new. ~ Shakti Gawain

It's difficult to let go of things.  Whether they be material things or feelings or expectations or whatever.  Sometimes it is even difficult to let go of grief.  If I let go of my grief, will I also let go of precious memories?  But if I don't let go of it, I am in danger of losing myself.

As in most of the "biggies" in life, I do it in bits and pieces.  I let go of part of the grief and hold onto another part.  In time, perhaps I will be able to let go of that as well.  Then comes another challenge:  replacing the grief with something else, opening myself up to something new.

Joy for today:  letting go and opening up.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Day 317, November 23

The holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving and lasting through New Year's Day is nearly upon us.  For many it represents family, friends, faith, and, of course, food.  All good things.

For some, such as myself, it also represents a test:  can I make it through this time without my sister?  I suppose I will, for what choice do I have?  I tell myself I should have a list of worthy projects, fulfilling projects, service projects.  After all, isn't service supposed to ease heartache?

To an extent, it does.  But only to an extent.  I know, I know, we aren't supposed to have doubts that service dissipates pain and sorrow--it's practically anti-American and certainly anti-Mormon to even suggest such a thing. (Have you noticed that I've used the word "supposed" three time already?  Those "supposed to's" in life can be real downers.)

But even with my list of "supposed to's," even with the help of family and friends and faith, grief creeps upon me.  I think of Carla when I'm wrapping a gift.  I think of her when I see little children giggling for we spent many hours giggling together as little girls and then as mothers and grandmothers of little girls.  I think of her when I see a blue Subaru on the road--she loved her Subaru and even named her.

I think of her all the time.

Joy ... and sorrow ... for today:  thinking of my sister.  And remembering.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Day 316, November 22

Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation. ~ Wendell Berry

Whether we are dealing with grief or just with the ordinary trials of everyday living, we need others. An introvert, I am comfortable being alone for much of the day.  But sometimes my soul and my heart crave the company of others, the give-and-take and exchange of ideas and feelings, the sharing of hearts.

When I am in a good place, I remember that I need to give back.  Perhaps someone else is lonely and needs me and whatever I can offer.

I love the final words in Berry's quote:  "... the feast of Creation."  I paid particular attention to the capitalization of the word "Creation."  To me, that implies that Berry was referring to the Lord's Creation.  We are all products of the His loving hands.  And in feasting with other creatures at His feast, we are not only healed, we give healing in return.

Joy for today:  coming with all other creatures to the feast of Creation.