Friday, July 26, 2019

The Mueller Hearing Should Have Had More Glamour

The bottom line from the decorated war veteran who kept our country safe under several Presidents, is that the current President committed crimes but could not be charged because of Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel policy. Russia interfered and continues to do so and our current President who is now beholden to Russia will do nothing to stop it because he benefited from it. So our Intelligence agencies do their jobs, and yet... it doesn't matter. (Also could there BE any more dichotomy between straight as an arrow, honest to a fault, full of integrity Mueller and then you knowTrump.)
I still don't understand why are Presidents above the law when they commit crimes to get to the office? Can't this policy be changed?
We have come to a strange sad time in this country where the law and order party means it's okay to welcome and use hostile foreign powers to win an election (and be indebted to that hostile foreign power). Then lie about it to authorities, refuse to cooperate and everyone looks the other way and lies about it. This happened during Nixon's time as well, and only until there was dramatic testimony after weeks and weeks of hearings did the tide finally turn. None of Trump's players will testify. It takes one brave person to step forth and tell the truth and no, it's not the fixer.
We evidently need a prime time glitzy broadcast to educate the general public, so that the facts and the law are presented in a way that everyone can understand, because plain spoken brief affirmations from an aging war horse isn't enough. We need razzle dazzle with female models who are tens only, and lots of American flags, and maybe tanks? It needs to be more like a reality show, with suspense, good lighting, a perfect television soundbite, and a studio crowd yelling "lock him up." That would get the job done, right?
The truth has gone by the wayside. The truth is pummeled every day to bits by this President and the party that stands by him.
I have sadly accepted that because of the Republican majority Senate, Trump will either have to be voted out or serve another four years. For my mental health, I have had to let it go.
And that seems to be the spiritual path as well.
But this is hard to watch if you believe in truth and justice.
And then there's God.
You know, you are not supposed to discuss politics or religion with others. This current situation combines both for me, because I can't fathom how "Christians" and their leaders support this lying, corrupt, egotistical person with no morals or ethics.
Who would be drawn to Christianity when Evangelical support for Trump has never wavered? A lying, corrupt, inarticulate, pussy grabbing, draft dodging, racist, dictator loving, fascist leaning President who needs to be the center of attention at all times. He uses and abuses race bating, patriotism, and qualifies for two different personality disorders. He paints complicated issues in broad strokes and continues to amplify the division in our country to new lows. All while never cracking open and reading a briefing. (That one really kills me LOL)
Trump is the ultimate black and white thinker.
And this is exactly what all Christians are called spiritually to overcome. Hold the tension.
Lose yourself and your ego and let go.
Trust in a higher power.
Jesus, the long haired brown skinned Eastern European Jew, did not reside in America or embrace Christianity but said love your neighbor as yourself. Take care of the less fortunate.
Hold the tension.
If we learn to hold the tension of the opposites, we are able to stretch and grow. When there is more space for seemingly opposite ideas, feelings and behaviors to peacefully coexist. We become less rigid and more flexible, less judgmental and more tolerant, less fearful and more loving.*
More loving.
Didn't Jesus say to love?
Laws are broken, there is no justice. Story as old as time.
I really work to see the other point of political view but I'm worn down.
Trump and his team broke several laws but yet, the only consequences will come after he leaves office. There are also emolument clauses, campaign finance laws and everything he boasted about for years and will any of that come to justice. His dad also gave him four hundred million dollars over time, much of it, was to bail him out of bankruptcy. Laws were broken to avoid paying taxes which are too old to prosecute. I'm sure there's more, but I'm too tired.
So tired of it all.
Sometimes things have to go really bleak, in order to become anew. Can the country do that? The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. I must remember that.
All I know now, is that my part now, is to hold the tension and love my neighbor. Even those who love Trump.
{Gulp}
Letting it go, holding that tension. Wave at the person who waves at me driving down my street while I walk the dogs. Smile at a stranger. Hold open the door for the next person.
Love.
Namaste.
*(With thanks to Psychology Today)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Father's Day Meal at A Men's Shelter

I have to remind myself not to look at Facebook on certain days like Father's Day because people will express their heartfelt appreciations of love and devotion to their father. And for years, I thought something was wrong with me because I didn't feel that way.  When Dad passed away in August of 2014, I wrote a piece about him and it summed things up pretty well.

https://timetogolightly.blogspot.com/2014/08/no-words-just-firm-squeeze.html

I loved him but I didn't feel emotionally connected to him. I know he loved me but I couldn't feel it.  He was who he was, and he wasn't changing. I had to accept this and make peace.

It takes time to accept people for who they are even after death. (And accepting myself...)

On occasion, I am surprised by certain emotions that come to the surface seemingly randomly.  When I become verklempt or the hairs rise on my arms and legs, this means a loved one is around.   A few months back, on a weekday when Mallory was off from school, we went to her favorite place to eat at the time.   After we went through the Picadilly cafeteria line, we discovered a gentleman playing a keyboard.  We sat down and as I listened, my eyes began welling up. The ugly cry was just around the corner.  He was playing music for the "older folks" in attendance.  I can't remember the songs exactly but as we were leaving, Blueberry Hill was being played.  Dad was present. These weren't my songs, some of them were his. He loved dancing and that is how he and Mom courted. And she would want me to mention they won a dance contest on one of their first dates in the late 1950's!

Holding the tension.  Holding very dissimilar and opposite notions at the same time and being at peace with both of them.  This is spirituality to me.  This is what Jesus was teaching but his message has become very cloudy.  Mysticism...another topic for later. Except this writing is mysticism.

On Father's Day, I signed Riley and I up to make and serve an entree with other National Charity League moms and daughters at Bishop Ott Men's Shelter.  We went to a bleak part of town in a run down building and found thirteen men in need of an evening meal.  These were men who had no where else to go.  Part of me wanted to sit down and engage with them and the other part of me wanted to get the job done and escape back to the comfort of home.  My heart is a bleeding one.  I root for the underdog. I put myself in their shoes. I remember listening to a woman from Connections for Life talk.  She had been in jail and was in a transition program to learn life skills to rehabilitate her life. All I kept thinking was, wow, that could be me except I was afforded the opportunity to go college.  College doesn't change everything but it's a major leg up.


Dad really wanted his children educated.  He and mom sacrificed for private school in our small community, and for college educations for my siblings and I.

I came home from Bishop Ott and felt affected. As the men ate, the group of moms and daughters discussed ACT exams and Junior and Senior years. The future.  One man walked off with his belongings in a trash bag and waited for a ride at the bus stop.   The contrast between the two groups stayed with me.

Humbled.

These men were appreciative for the meal and expressed it.  The supervisor of the site, prayed over our meal, for us ladies in particular and our travels, as well as for the men there.

Humbled.

Later that night, I read my sister's FB post about my dad.  She had a different experience of him having lived close by each other and Dad's ability to fix or create almost anything around the house and property.  I didn't have this experience and for a brief moment, I felt longing.

And then it came together.

I thought of the day's experience and holding the tension.  My experience can be different even with the same person.  Even though I very much wanted to be emotionally connected to my dad, I can hold that tension and be grateful that Dad showed his love in another way.  He wanted me to be educated.  That opens so many doors and opportunities.  I can feel that now.

Dad put me in a position to be a helper.  I can be with a person in a very different situation than I, look at that person in the eye and smile and serve a meal. It is a small service but it is one that I can do.

Holding the tension, being in the present moment.

Namaste.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Allowing Persons (and Dogs) To Be Who They Are

These are my buddies.  I never had an inside dog that I bonded with until this beagle, Annie, on the right.  A year later, we adopted the mixed breed, Brinkley because Annie was fearful of George.  Brinkley has taught me unconditional love and Anne, well, she has increased the amount of laughter in the household immeasurably.  In the past year plus, the teenage girls in the house obsess over Ann (the name they began calling Annie)  I have to send pictures when they are away from the house. They come and greet her, and ignore Brinkely. I don't try to understand it, I just roll with it although Brinkley is so much more responsive in every way unless it's the food bowl.

It is my job to walk them in the morning. My husband, George walks them at night. Sometimes on the weekends, he walks them both.  We had a brief conversation that I would walk them today.  I became busy with stuff inside and George was busy outside.

And then I tried to walk the dogs.

Brinkley was raring to go in his youthful self. Annie not so much. After her vet appointment yesterday and with the evidence of her ever whitening fur coat, we know she's reaching her elder years.  We don't know her exact age, but now there is a heart murmur ( And an every present cherry eye that no longer ruins my appetite.)

So Annie very reluctantly comes to the front door when I call, but we don't get very far in the walk and she is not budging.  Brinkley is way ahead of me, and Annie is lagging way behind.  A jogger going by, laughed and said, "Resistance." I laughed, and said yes, she is resistant.

And then a magical thing occurred... I accepted it.

I accepted Annie for who she was in that moment.

Why fight her on this? I will be home this morning and let her outside to relieve herself. George will be home this afternoon. She obviously doesn't want to walk.

So I accepted it.

I know this is a dog but you know ... I have fought with this dog a lot, early on. She peed on my carpet and ruined it on one side of the house. I did not like her for a long while.  She tried to escape several times, and it came to a point, that if it wasn't for the chip that identified her as ours, I would have let her go.  I had to learn boundaries with her.  And once that was established, LOVE.

Also, she might be sore from her shots. So I dropped her off back at the house and continued with Brinkley. But he was acting weird too.  He was choosing to lay down on the ground and rub his back on the grass multiple times.  He looked ecstatic in these actions.

Then I get the text from George and it all made sense.
So much for communication. 

What I took away from this little escapade. People (and dogs) will show me who they are in the moment or on an ongoing basis.  I am learning to believe them. Even bigger is to accept them for who they are and know that it is not a reflection of who I am.  

That is the kicker. 

It is not a reflection of who I am. 




I didn't even get mad at George.  It was funny. 

Namaste. 


Thursday, March 7, 2019

A Retreat Like No Other: Holding The Tension

I went on a spiritual retreat this past weekend.  I attended the same version of it at least ten years ago.  I thought I knew what to expect.  I was in for a surprise.

The retreat is a boundaried place so I am going to speak in generalities.

The first night, I looked around the group of ladies sitting in a circle and I spotted someone who I thought was the person that I had a bad encounter with years ago.  My body turned to mush because I had been more on the receiving end of the encounter.  It was the same person.  I was never recognized yet I kinda wish I would have addressed it.  We are both in different places now I think.

But I let it go.  There were other things I had to chew on instead.

On two other occasions, I heard words spoken by one person that was moved in the moment and then another spoke of spiritual concepts that jarred me. And after a few moments of agitation, I thought, I can detach from this. And when and if appropriate I can speak up and give my truth without negating what these other person's experiences are.

For so long, when I was growing up and in adult years as well, I would not speak up. I did not voice my experience around certain people or groups.  I learned to get along by staying silent and going with the flow.  That silence when I wanted to talk, ate me up.  And this blog for the last ten years is helping me to write my way out.  (Thank you Lin Manuel Miranda!)   It's a skill to learn to express oneself verbally assertively without aggression or passivity and I have bumbled my way through at times. But to be honest, the skill set is one thing, what it's really about is not caring what others think.

Learning to let go of that too.

Back at the retreat, on another occasion, issues of a political nature were brought up in casual conversation, in the very last place I thought I would have to hear it.  My entire body turned to mush once again.   I politely said I was finished with the task at hand and got the heck out.  I did try to mumble that we shouldn't talk about politics, and the person said we weren't, but the topic was very much a current political one.  Why on earth would one bring this particular subject in casual conversation at a spiritual retreat?   It was progress for me to get up and leave as I would have sat silently years ago.

So now there are three persons I'm trying to avoid sitting by at group.

Relaxing retreat. Ha ha ha!

Growth is not relaxing.

I phoned a friend as I walked around the campus, and calmed down. I knew I wanted to stay and dang it, I was going to get something out of this retreat, other than dodging persons or sentiments that pushed my buttons.   We had a lovely afternoon break and I took not one but two naps.  I knew that this experience was about holding the tension.  The idea of holding the dark and the light at the same time with equal respect was first introduced to me by Father Richard Rohr when he visited our church many years ago.  It's not seeing the world in black and white, but in grey.   In the first half of life, we have to know good and bad, right and wrong to not get burned by the stove or drown, etc. But at midlife, we can wake up and embrace that not each person or issue or experience is all right or all wrong, or good or bad. It's a lot of ego work.  It's all about the ego.

And in holding that tension, there can be spiritual breakthroughs.

By letting go of my ego reactions to all of the above mentioned so-called "negative" situations, I did have growth.  At the proper time, I spoke up when I had the opportunity to express a different experience with the same issue than what someone else did.  I also said it was okay that we have different experiences.

I was telling myself that as much as I was speaking to the group.

I also requested time with those in "charge" to discuss a matter that had been lying on my heart for months. I was heard, understood, and acknowledged.

I also watched the participants whom I differed with, have their own strong aha moments.  Sitting with the tension spurned me to come to the conclusion that all those attending were here for their relationship with God as was I.  My initial ego reaction would be to slam these other people, try to find someone to back me up.  We just have different words, mannerisms, paths and theologies.   Most importantly is we don't all have to be on the same page.  (Living the tension at it's finest here!) It is heavenly to find those in the same book, and thrilling to find someone in the same chapter though.

As I have learned what methodologies spur a deeper faith, trust and relationship with God and all of creation, I can't ignore that which works for me and that which doesn't.   I know it to the core of my being what brings me deeper, as do these other folks but of course, these can conflict.  I know certain words, phrases, and sentiments that I experienced in my past, are language that does not bring me closer to God.  The critical point is the recognition that people have different ways of achieving a similar end.  I can notice the buttons pushed in myself and work to be non-critical, and curious both of myself and the other person.  It seems as though this act of detaching from the button pushing will always lead to growth.

Leaning in to the tension.

Namaste

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Chest Pains At Fifty

Yesterday, was the first day of Christmas vacation for my youngest.  I set my alarm for the late, late time of 7:00 am and it was luscious.  Eldest daughter is still taking exams, but she is autonomous.  I just have to run after her to give a one-sided hug that she resists before she drives off.

Night before last, I had my nails painted.  I went jezebel and had my always clear nails painted RED!  And not just any red but The Breakfast at Tiffanys inspired, "Got the Mean Reds."  I just keep staring at them delightfully.   I know they will start chipping soon, so I am soaking in their perfection as long as I can.

Sometimes, you just need to treat yourself.

Sometimes, I just need to take care of myself.

After the nail salon visit, I discovered it was the 20th anniversary of You've Got Mail. One of my absolute favorite movies of all time.  It doesn't matter how many times I've seen it, I will watch it again.

I discovered this on their Facebook page that I liked and followed some time ago. So I decided immediately to share my love of the movie on this public site.


There's been a big response with 917 other You've Got Mail lovers liking my photo.  I'm enjoying the comments as well.  Other fans, made the same trek and have dogs named Brinkley too.  They love the daisies and smart dialogue as much as I do. I turned the movie on yesterday morning and began noticing things I hadn't the other umpteen times I have watched this Nora Ephron masterpiece. 

This is a tiny bit of connecting with others who love a piece of art as much as I do.  Those little connections are just plain fun.  But in the back of my mind,  I think of everything else that I need to be doing.  The house needs attention, the dogs need walking, there are gifts to be wrapped, errands to be run, etc.  

But sometimes you just have to stop and smell the daisies, because it's fun.

I have spent years judging myself that I'm not doing enough, I'm not working hard enough. I'm a stay at home mom and therefore I should be doing more, and not taking a break (for a movie during a weekday morning, are you kidding?) Work harder. Do More.  Compare yourself to others. 

God Bless. SMH

It's time to let that go. 

We each have our own unique situations and I don't need to compare anymore.

I've done a lot of healing work to let go of feelings of unworthiness, because that's what those nagging feelings are about.  The notion of shame (a la Brene Brown) has been brought up to me again recently. Per Brene: "I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging - something we have experienced, done or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection. 

Whoa.   There are people in my life who I have been unable to connect with that I think I should and I take that mantle on and carry that shame, that there is something wrong with me. 

People are who they are, and you cannot change them, no matter how much you desperately want to have a connection.  

It's time to let that go

I turned fifty this year while I was having fairly intense back pain (sacroiliac joint out of whack, thank you)  On top of that, I had a failed EKG in November.  Thankfully I passed a three and a half hour cardiac stress test on Black Friday.  This was done because I was having chest pains and sensations in my arms and my blood pressure now rises when I'm in the doctor's office.  So it seems that this is anxiety.  Probably related to peri-menopause, teaching the eldest to drive for the last 8 months, and maybe politics?!!  LOL I'm just a little passionate about politics...

My body is telling me to chill the F out.  (Sorry, not sorry) 

We push things down and go on because we need to, have to, and it's really painful to stop and feel the energy that comes through when we stop. The feelings (energy) that come through though will not kill us. For  the most part, we have already gone through them.  Our psyche is trying to teach us though.   It comes through until we pay attention to it.  It is likely, if we don't stop and allow the energy to move through, it will kill us. 

I listened to an authority on the body say, the body will have the last word. 

Having chest pains is really scary.  It is still scary even after you have a clear cardiac stress test. 

My pain has slowed down considerably, yet it happened again yesterday while I was in a movie. Mary freakin' Poppins Returns. Yet the movie made me cry about a longing for connection.  I am just beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle together of when they come on.  It seems to be related to thoughts.  I've been working on my thoughts and feelings with an unwavering focus for ten years.  Ten freaking years.  And I am a little angry that my body is betraying me. 

Work harder, do contemplation, mindfulness, spirituality better!!

I may need to take an anti-depressant even though I'm trying all kinds of supplements not to do that. It may just be MY body chemistry at this time in my life needs extra serotonin.  This is a huge hurdle for me to accept.  I just don't want to take it.  

But I might just need to take care of myself.  Whatever and however that looks.  

There is a deep acceptance of that coming for me. Thank you anxiety.  

It's not comfortable to have chest pains.  The body will win in the end. 

My body is clearly trying to get my attention and to accept what is.  I must treat myself kindly however that looks.  I am the only person who can do that. 

Namaste.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

He Failed the Job Interview for the Highest Court in the Land

On Thursday, a very compelling, articulate, credible woman told her truth of a sexual assault naming her attacker.  Dr. Christine Blasey Ford does not remember exact details, like how she got home when she was running for her life.  Victims of assault don't remember because there has been TRAUMA.  Trauma changes everything. But she absolutely remembers the person(s) who physically assaulted her in the room and the man who held his hand over her mouth removing her ability to breathe.  The sounds of Mark Judge and Brett Kavanaugh's laughter is forever burned in her memory.  Her life has been affected for the last 37 years.

Thirty Seven Years.

Sexual Assault survivors are affected for the rest of their lives.

How many women don't come forward because they are shamed, scared and know they will not be believed?  After the President, who has been accused of sexual assault himself, said it was Dr. Ford's fault for not coming forward when she was fifteen, survivors who have never previously uttered a word to anyone, spoke of their painful stories en masse.  Yet even when women do the bravest thing possible, it just doesn't matter. It comes down to a "he said, she said." The old white men side with the other man.  The statistics are sad and dismal.  Women do not come forward.  Cases do not go to trial and there are not convictions. Rape kits sit untested. There are not usually witnesses to assaults.  And the assaulters get away with their behavior.

The hearing on Thursday was a "he said, she said" without any other witnesses allowed.  She was very credible. He was angry, condescending, and evasive.  So what is the answer? Old white men apologize to the entitled white man and vote him in.  They ignore her truth and are astonished and moved at his emotion.  But his emotion was from being found out and letting his family down. And the white male senators couldn't handle one of themselves crying. "The Democrats broke this man."

No, Kavanaugh broke himself.

Most men and even women, especially these male Senators, don't know how to recognize emotional behaviors in front of their eyes.  They run from anything vulnerable.  They recognize and adulate power.

It is sad that he feels so entitled, that he came out swinging for a lifetime spot on the most dignified and important bench in the United States.  He is no longer qualified because he failed his job interview.  He was playing to a jury of one who appreciates bold and brash denials.  Roy Cohn, the McCarthy lawyer taught that one man jury how to do it so well.

It is time for the old white men's club to be dismantled.

I wish I were one to get out there and march and speak up.  But my calling is to write. Perhaps because I live in the Deep South Bible Belt and it was ingrained in me by the culture to smile, be pretty and stay quiet. This is my own personal quiet revolution.  Writing these words are a coming out in the midst of a deeply red state with very small blue spots in cities.  My senators are the worst. One gives quotable shticky one liners and the other writes articles for mysogynistic, racist websites.

I identified with Dr. Ford sitting in that interview.  She was bright, articulate and funny.  When she began speaking about the assault, she became the fifteen year old girl again.  That is what trauma does to one.  But she knew who attacked her.

Judge Kavanaugh was on a high pressure job interview for a seat on the highest bench in the land.  When he began speaking it was belligerent, partisan, entitled and condescending.  This is not how a judge should comport himself or herself and shows his true character.  Assault charges aside, he is not the best candidate for the job because of how he behaved Thursday.   What his actions revealed was a white man who has always had privilege and could not believe that he was being called out.  He was crying because he got caught.  From his actions under oath, it is entirely believable that he could act aggressive and violently when alcohol enters his bloodstream.

He must have been the shy kid who drank excessively and wasn't having sex but wanted to. He was conflicted about a natural desire and what was dictated by his religious culture.  There seem to be several classmates coming forward to reveal he was a nasty drunk and not exactly the do gooder that he wants the world to believe. None of us are good as we want ourselves to be but don't fib about it under oath.

Kavanaugh is not the best person for this job to legislate women's issues for the next thirty to forty years.  Nominate another candidate. Push that candidate through before the midterms.

It is unfortunate that Dr. Ford's story was leaked when she wasn't ready.  It is unfortunate that the other accusers came forward at the last minute of an arbitrary deadline.  For survivors, there is strength in numbers.   But the allegations have been brought out, and now Senators have to deal with it and follow tradition of due process and not throw hissy fits about it.  Senator Graham doesn't want to know the truth. Did he watch her testimony?  Thank goodness Senator Flake got caught in that elevator with a brave survivor speaking her truth.  And now there is one week for the FBI to gather more information. One week only was given for a lifetime appointment.

In the hearing, Judge Kavanaugh over and over refused to say out loud, let the FBI clear my name.  He kept repeating, I'll do what the committee says.  Because he knew the Majority on the committee was behind him.  He doesn't want further digging.  Why?  He absolutely doesn't want Mark Judge to testify.  He knows he drank too much at times and something in him deep inside, that he's not ready to admit yet, doesn't know what happened every time.   Kavanaugh lied about several facts including Renate, the triangle, and boofing, or whatever it was. There are other lies related to judicial matters.  Instead of answering the blackout drinking question, he made a turn to aggressively ask the kind and seemingly meek female Senator Klobuchar if she had the alcohol problem.   This is what a defensive, guilty aggressive person does.  He is trying to paint himself as the victim when Dr. Ford's life has been affected for the last thirty seven years.  People at that particular gathering where the assault took place may not know anything because she ran away and didn't tell anyone as survivors do, but there are people that could testify to a pattern of his behavior, mental health professionals that would explain her memory gaps, lie detector results for both of them and character witnesses on both sides. And then there are the other accusers.

We are at a place today, where getting the facts still may not make a difference because of the makeup of the Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Majority are completely ignoring the other accusers that have come forward because they don't want to know anymore and they want to push this nomination through. (Merrick Garland, anyone?)   Those accusers are willing to testify under oath to the FBI, the non-partisan information gathering body.  Kavanaugh doesn't, but why?  He just kept repeating, "I was ready to show up the next day to clear my name."  The next day would not give any time for an investigation.  How does a Federal Judge not understand that concept?

Courtesy of Megamamas
When people are found out, they do lie to save themselves. Our President is one of those who lies every day, day in and day out.  He has no credibility whatsoever in this matter.  He calls all his accusers liars.  And he was found out to be lying about Stormy Daniels per his own lawyer.  Judge Kavanaugh has proven to be on the same page as the partisan pussy grabber in chief to double down and repeat a lie until it seems it's the truth.  Judge Kavanaugh defended himself in a brash, aggressive manner maybe because that's who he really is or for Trump so that he would remain the nominee.   There is no doubt he and his family has suffered in the last 2 weeks, (contrast that with 37 years) but when you want to sit on the most respected, highest court in the land for the next thirty to forty years, the candidate must be thoroughly investigated even when new allegations come at the very last moment. 

Sexual assault victims do not come forward.

Dr. Ford showed more character, bravery and composure after a lifetime of suffering.  She did her civic duty.  She's reliving her worst trauma in front of the nation but she didn't whine and complain like Dr. Kavanaugh.  Women can be Steel Magnolias.  Judge Kavanaugh is having to come to grips with his past too.  Perhaps he could have come clean and said, I don't remember what happened when I drank too much, it is possible but I don't know.  I am a changed man now.

Those are pipe dreams I know.  But one day in the future.

There were witnesses to his past and I hope we find out more of the truth. I don't count on it because I have equal parts pessimism and optimism in me.

I do know, he failed the job interview.

I hope beyond all hope, that there is a wave of qualified women and minorities coming forth to lead and dismantle the old boys club.  Women came forward after Anita Hill and ran for office in record numbers.  It is accepted that what Dr. Hill said back then was true about Judge Thomas and she was maligned in the process.  And some of the same men back then are still judging now.   What will we know about this particular assault in the future?  What truths will come out over time?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Lesson on Paying Attention and Seeing Signs

A former first grade teacher that taught both of my girls was having stomach troubles after having beaten breast cancer a few years earlier.  She and her husband have a high school sophomore daughter, the same age as my eldest and an older son that is a senior in high school.  She was quiet and reserved but you knew she was present.  It took me a while to understand this though.  Having people in your life that are with you full on in the moments that you spend with them is an amazing gift.  It's nothing about themselves in that moment, it's all focused on you.  I have been diligently learning how to be present, especially with my children.  Shirley possessed that ability with such quiet grace.

I didn't really get to know her during the lower school years but after she retired, I had an experience when we were both chaperoning a middle school cotillion dance session.  This is when I saw the mom side of her and her sense of humor.  It was a wonderful surprise to get to know that side.  I didn't see her much after that as our children were at different schools.  But I struck up a friendship with her husband through social media.  He is the most gracious, friendly, down to earth, and kind man.  He doesn't meet a stranger and he sends a note to mark the smallest of occasions.   I think he read one of my blogs and made me feel special because he took the time to comment on what had struck a chord with him.

You never know how a small action can affect another person in a positive way.

This past April, I was sitting in an Old Navy dressing room with one of my daughters and I got a FB message from him, that was written by Shirley.  My heart dropped and the tears fell as I understood what I read. She had just been diagnosed with stomach cancer and the prognosis didn't seem good.

From an outsider's perspective, her writing and what her husband shared as times went on, she was strong and brave and had accepted her fate with a deep faithfulness.  I was awed by their strength. She had lost her own father young in her life.  She had conversations with her children for them to understand they knew her and would know what she would think for matters in the future.

Those are brave and vulnerable conversations.

This family's journey has struck something in me and has stayed with me.

As time progressed, there were updates through FB and then Caring Bridge.  By summer, they stopped treatment because she wanted to live out the rest of her time, with her family and travel.

From a selfish point of view, I thought what if I were in the same situation leaving my daughters and husband behind.

Life just doesn't seem fair.  I have come to expect that stuff just happens, and I think about my faith. Could I handle a journey like that?  Could I be gracious?  I still have a lot of fear and anxiety that pop up for me yet I am coming to understand the true unconditional nature of God.

I know for sure, that God has ways of helping me understand things that are too much for me, if I stay aware and open.  The signs of God's unconditional love never look like what I think they will, but they fill the need if I am patient and let go.  They are obvious especially as I practice observance.

In our neighborhood, for many months, there have been three pet bunnies that have roamed across the street in my neighbors' yards and sometimes in our own yard.  They ran mostly between the three yards directly across from my house.  When I have come outdoors, I never remembered to look for them.  I was always unexpectedly delighted in spotting a combination of the white one or the two brown ones.  Seeing those white cotton tails hop away brought me such joy in that moment.  But I also knew those bunnies weren't going to be around forever.  After a while, we noticed we hadn't spotted the white bunny for some time.

One Saturday a few weeks ago, Shirley's husband posted a picture on Facebook of a fox that was in their neighborhood.  On Sunday afternoon, my neighbor posted a picture with a very similar looking fox, with one of the brown bunnies that it had killed next to it.

What a coincidence.

I couldn't help but think of this family. They don't live that far away from us by foot with a BREC park and woods nearby.

Within days,  I received the news that Shirley had moved to a hospice facility.

And not much time after that, my husband texted me on his way to work that the fox was lying dead on one of the streets of our neighborhood.  It looked like it was peacefully sleeping with not a mark on it.

Again, my thoughts turned to this family.  What does this mean?

A few days later, my neighbor and I who have talked many times about the wildlife that has showed up in our area, texted me a picture of a beautiful white stately egret that was on her back fence.

That night Shirley passed away.

The next day, I read the news that she had moved into the great mystery.  That afternoon, Mallory and I spotted the egret with our own eyes in another neighbor's yard.

On the morning of her service, I was walking the dogs and it hit me that I really, really wanted to spot the remaining bunny before I left.  I had seen it previously and neighbors had seen it recently.

But then I got it.

I wasn't going to see the bunny.  I had already seen the beautiful white egret.



I don't have control over what happens in this world.  I have to look for the Divine signs that life goes on. Loved ones are still with us if we pay attention.


When I read the quotes in Shirley's funeral program, I was taken aback with what had been chosen.  They were so perfect and so meaningful.  It's more important what you do in your life in the time you have, how you make people feel and to celebrate even when things come to an end.  Be grateful for the moment at hand.  This has been a goal of mine to learn to live life in the moment at hand.



Shirley was a beautiful, gracious and faithful soul.  She inspires me to live my life authentically as I am.

Namaste.

Followers