Monday, May 31, 2010

Can You Deal with the Village? Can Your Kid?

Six years ago our family branched out for the first time and Athens, Georgia became part of our lives. The parks, the restaurants, the churches, and the people fitted themselves in our consciousness and dialog because our oldest was in school there. Four years ago the same thing happened with Carrollton, Georgia when our second child began college there. Just this past January we added Milledgeville, Georgia into our psyche when our youngest found a home at school there.
Ryan finished in Carrollton Friday and we move him into the home he'll share with his new bride today. Robert and Carrie move from Athens tomorrow.
Athens and Carrollton - we feel blessed to have known you.
There's that saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." I definitely agree that every parent needs to surround themselves with a good village. But this morning a new thought came to me.
Unless a child knows how to deal with a village - it won't do him much good.
To ask for help, to be vulnerable and humble, to pitch in and do your part, to be grateful and express it - all these are necessary for the village to work for a person. And not just a child. A friend wrote in her blog about finally finding a church home in her new military home. (If you want to take a look here's the link - ) But it took her working up the courage to be vulnerable to a stranger.
Our kids plunged into their villages and found wonderful folks to help them in that transition from teenager to young adult. Their villages provided opportunity, acceptance, and instruction.
Athens and Carrollton - we feel blessed to have known you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Been to the Graveyard lately?

In Wilton Center, the township we lived in in Illinois, the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend was special. We'd have Sunday School and then meet upstairs for the worship service, but after a quick song and some announcements, we'd leave. We'd get in our cars and drive down the road to the cemetery.
Along with the caravan there would be a couple big buckets full of water and carnations. Red, white or blue carnations. We'd gather near the flag pole and the minister would sometimes say a few words and then lead us in prayer.
The rest of the service was spent in distributing the carnations throughout the acres of graves. Everyone, smallest child to oldest adult would have a handful of carnations and we'd wander underneath the trees, out in the meadow area, beside ancient, weather-worn markers or shiny, sharp-edged stones and lay our carnations down as we desired.
Most of the congregation had generations of relatives buried there and those always received special attention. Stories were shared, as we walked, about those named on the headstones. Laughter floated around the grounds and children darted here and there, choosing where to lay their flowers.
I feel we avoid graveyards more now than ever and our children see them as strange, forbidden places. I also feel that is why our youth and culture is fascinated by the world of the undead - ghosts and vampires. We can try to sanitize death and avoid looking it in the face, but our hearts and souls feel the void.
Death is part of life - whether we like it or not.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Life in an Oyster Shell

Each summer I read "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She uses a collection of shells to represent the stages of life and the one I'm thinking about this morning is the oyster shell. About it she says: they are common, no two are alike as they each grow and adapt as each needs, and they always look as if they are still growing. She compares it to a family home in the middle years, "It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations and, in it's living state - firmly imbedded on its rock."
The first time I read that it hit me with such truth as we were in those growing years of expanding and filling up every inch of space we could find. Where encumbrances attached themselves to us exponentially and bonds tying us to each other and to the family formed, and strengthened, on a daily basis.
By this time next week both our sons will be living in new homes. New to them. A bungalow in downtown Atlanta on a tree filled street and a post WWII home in a small southern town. The beginnings of two new oyster shells. They are accumulating and arranging and attaching.
Lindbergh goes on to say that other shells may be beautiful, but that's not a comment often made about the oyster shell. However, she points out, it's not supposed to be appreciated for it's beauty, but for its usefulness.
And, Lord knows, we've sure used ours. Now, I need to read and see what she thinks about life after the oyster shell, who ever thought we'd get past it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Embrace the Chaos

Well, I woke up grouchy this morning. And, no, it's not the old joke--it was me. Grouchy. Too many people. Too many directions. Too many things to do. And think. And do. And think. So I sat outside with my cup of coffee and felt grouchy. Then I heard - nothing. Realized the quietness is due to school being over. No buses, no kids at the bus stops, no teenagers peeling around the subdivision picking up their friends. A friend yesterday mentioned how she'd prepared her husband for summer and how the house & schedule will be chaos with the kids home all day. I remember how I use to plunge myself into the chaos and love it. All of it. The late nights at the ballfield, quick suppers, messy house, kids unbrushed hair for days on end and then as teenagers the going to bed with a houseful of kids still up, comings and going all evening, pool parties that had to be shushed because the neighbors have to go to work in the morning. I remember plunging into all that and loving it.
Then I realized - that's the problem. I'm trying to manage the chaos, control it, subdue it, fight it. Lizzy's home and she thinks there should be food here to eat. And there's a wedding in a couple weeks and those two think it's a big deal. And the newlyweds had this graduation ceremony and are moving and looking for jobs and well, shouldn't that all be figured out by now? I'm tired of thinking about it.
There's a poem I love:
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
He drew a circle that shut me out.
But love and I had wit to win.
We drew a circle that took him in.
So this morning I realized, Grouchy needs to Embrace the Chaos. Not just tolerate it, but face it full on with a smile and "welcome". So, here's to the chaos - time to rock and roll!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Life in a Commercial

So here it is almost 4 pm and I'm finally getting around to writing today's blog. I had an early appointment, a full slate of errands and then lunch with some friends. A loooonnnnggg lunch - the best kind.
We sat outside in a courtyard with a border of gardenia bushes which smelled heavenly. The food was delicious, company comfortable and talk sustaining. And there was much laughter.
One time, when we were newlyweds in Jacksonville, Florida, we were invited to some friends home to watch the Super Bowl. They lived in a town home community and their town home backed up to a little lake. As the sun sunk in the sky, I wandered onto the deck to watch the colors of the sky mirror themselves in the still water. Then I turned and looked inside at the gathering. Friends laughed and ate, pointing at the TV with fistfuls of chips or half a hoagie in mid-air. And I thought of how it looked like a commercial.
Mike has a saying, "If only life was like it is in the beer commercials." At that moment I realized we were living a moment someone could make a commercial of. So I've watched for those "commercial" moments in my life. They happen more often than you might think.
Snapshots of our lives - a moment captured - they don't tell the whole story or let us see behind the scenes but sometimes we need to be happy with the moment. Just be happy with the moment.
A slate patio, bright umbrellas, old trees and gardenias - a memory worth making. Or like my friend Stephanie's song - maybe these are just "Moments of Grace".

Monday, May 24, 2010

Stepping Into - what does that mean?

How are you at "stepping out"? As in stepping out of your comfort zone? Facing new challenges. Reorienting your way of thinking. Taking risks. Laughing at the fear and distrust others caution you with.
I'm pretty good with it. Stepping out, that is. And usually that's enough. Step out, let things happen, sink or swim--enjoy the ride. There's the first moments of decision making as I step out, but then it's fairly passive. Like getting onto a roller coaster. Once you're there, and buckled in, you're riding the roller coaster wherever it goes.
What I'm in the midst of discovering about myself is the stepping out is where I stop. Where I tend to stay. I don't take the next step - Stepping Into.
I don't know what that exactly means. Like I said, I'm in the midst of this discovery. But what does it mean to you? Do you see the difference? Does anything in your life come to mind? Perhaps a time in your life when stepping out AND stepping into were asked of you?
Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

Friday, May 21, 2010

God: The Monkey Exterminator

My daughter-in-law-to-be just sat a cup of coffee down beside me, without me even asking for it. Now, I had put the pot of coffee on, so assuming I wanted some wasn't a stretch. I told her "thanks" and she said, "Well you take it black (plain, nothing added) so it would've been too rude of me to pour mine and not pour you one when it's so easy." My son said, "That's why it's good to take it black."
And truly, ease for myself is one of the reasons I started drinking it plain many years ago.
So, being easy helped me out this morning.
Being easy to work with was talked about at the conference:
Agents are leery of high maintenance clients.
Readers want an author they have easy access to.
Make it easy for folks to help you market your book.
Clear writing means it's easy for a reader to get sucked into your book.
But sometimes trying to be easy means I end up carrying around other people's monkeys on MY back. And there are some folks who seek high and low for folks to carry their monkeys. So, how do I be easy, but not end up with a load of other folks' monkeys?
Discernment and wisdom. And I get those two things from God, so staying in close contact with God is essential for me to remain monkey free.
Do you think God has ever been called "a monkey exterminator?"
Didn't think so.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Heart Overload? Possible?

In a full heart there is room for everything, and in an empty heart there is room for nothing. ~Antonio Porchia

I found this quote and it expresses my feelings tonight - perfectly. From joy to contentment to hope to concern, my heart seems to be full to overflowing. But then fifteen minutes with a new person and my heart is making more room.
The heartache people are going to sleep with, right this minute, is astounding. Eyes squinted, lips tightened, brain crunched aching, the same aching they've been sleeping with for months, no, years.
The joy dancing in another friends soul tonight bounces around in mine also. Giddy giggling goofiness that tickles the feet and throat.
Fear sits with another friend and begs me to sit up too. Far away, but sitting up might help.
Memory of a blue sky playing with fluffy white clouds and dozing in a rocking chair in the sun and breeze spills over the edges of my heart and lets a sigh escape.
How can all this be contained and entertained in my heart? All I know is how thankful I am to be honored with the bequests from those around me. The world searches for hearts with room - Here I am.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Picture Album for Bedtime

Some days are so filled with real moments that I wish the day was taped. That way I could go back and review to get a clearer picture. Today was one of those days.
Nothing monumental, just a full day.
I'm writing this late Tuesday night to post Wednesday morning. The day starts early and there won't be time to gather my thoughts. Plus, I'm feeling the need to gather them before I lay down.
But as I sit here and attempt to gather my thoughts in a neat bouquet to examine at will, they float and meander and surprise me - completely not cooperating with being coerced into submission.
What a delight! To lay in bed surrounded by the pictures, sounds, emotions of a full day when people have touched my life, and I've been honored in being allowed to touch others lives.
To have learned and been expanded. To have talked and been heard. To watch connections being made, friendships began, horizons lit.
Visiting, breaking bread, sharing at the table over sausage biscuits or grilled chicken or vegetable lasagna.
To live the day with people and then relive the day with the memories of those people.
Try it, today, create a memory picture album to reexamine, page by page, as you drift off to sleep.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Painters' Palette or Torture Rack?

Fog is thick here in Western North Carolina, like walking around in a cloud. The mountains have disappeared and trees grow only so high before vanishing. Muted voices and sounds of nature have an eerie, blanketed quality.
I'm not a fan of fog. Maybe I think too much of how awful it is to drive in. Maybe it's just too creepy. Maybe it's too secretive.
Some of my feelings about fog are echoed in my feelings about high mountains. The high, deep, dark mountains surrounding Asheville are the kind of mountains I'm not partial to. They're beautiful, but they hide too much for me. Too many nooks and crannies and hollows and thickets and crags and caves and dark. Mountains make me think of secrets.
When we moved to Illinois, the openness mesmerized me. Nothing hidden from view or secluded, unless the corn was high, but even that was orderly, bright and temporary. Watching lightening race across the sky, from horizon to horizon caused open-mouthed awe. Leaving that openness on our trips back to Tennessee made me love and relish the dark, deep mountains --for a while.
Now, our home in Georgia provides some of both and I love the happy medium.
Even more? I love that I had the opportunity to experience the difference and find what soothes my soul.
So why do I fight being in uncomfortable situations? Aren't they just providing a painters' palette on which to find what I really like? really want? Who I really am?
Are your hard situations serving as a palette or a torture rack?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What If?

So different - being here at the Blue Ridge writer's conference. Always before there were all my plans and worries and strategies for talking to the folks I wanted to connect with. Now, since I have an agent and they have the contacting of publishers in hand, my perspective is completely changed.
The big talk is always about the appointments you were able to get with the agents, editors, authors, magazine folks, etc. . . There are 15 minute appointments all week, one after another, and jockeying around to get the last spot with the big publisher or the just-right agent, occupies much of the attendee's minds - and conversations. I'm not making any appointments. My agent has already said we'll talk, not as part of the scheduled appointments.
But I see myself. from years gone by, walking the halls. The nerves, the fear, the confusion and plain old sick to your stomach anxiety are evident every corner I turn, in person after person. And who would've ever thought I'd be where I am? Not me.
And that's something I'm trying to come to terms with right now. What is wanting too much? Reaching too high? Setting goals that really aren't normal or probable? I'm thinking I'm somewhat fearful of saying, or even realizing, just where I want to go. And I think I've tempered things all my life. Just tried things and then been surprised when they worked. Not that that is a bad thing, I'm not sure it would be good to live with outsized dreams.
So, that's what's on my mind this week--what if I really let myself fly? What if I embrace, and accept all the possibilities? What if?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Grandma Knows

Have you seen the 8 & 9 year old girls dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies"? They are in a dance competition and they are amazing dancers. However, the costumes are skimpy, and modeled on the Moulin Rouge outfits. The moves mimic those of Beyonce in her music video and there is a lot of gyrating and grinding. Two of the parents were on Good Morning America this morning talking about how the video wasn't meant to be on the internet and how everyone is taking it out of context. One comment from the parents was that the girls were doing what they love to do, so there's nothing wrong with it. Another supporter had written that those condemning the dance or the outfits were wrong because, "The girls don't think they are doing anything wrong, so you are imposing your adult views on them."
That's what adults are supposed to do. Because we're supposed to be wiser, able to discern better, and just all round more mature. But again and again we see and hear of parents who don't feel they should impose themselves on their children. Of course, like with anything it can be taken too far. But that's not the problem I'm seeing.
I used to listen to Dr. Laura and she would say when a parent would call with a question, "Think about it - would your grandmother have to ask this question or would she know what was right?"
We question so much, that sometimes I feel we question things we should already know. Of course, upon the heels of knowing, comes the use of what we know. Or as Charles Spurgeon said:
Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.
Adults are supposed to have wisdom and they are supposed to use it. When we don't, we are neglecting and failing our children. All children.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Honeysuckle On My Mind

Back when we lived in Illinois, we were visiting in Tennessee one early summer. After spending the evening at a friend's house, Mike and I were driving the back roads between Lenoir City and Kingston. The windows were down and the night time breeze through the window was warm, not chilly like the night time air in Illinois. But even better than the warmth was the sweet smell of honeysuckle. Oh my. That smell, that night, began my love affair with the South.
Yes, I was raised in the South. Yes, Mama is from Georgia and Daddy is from North Carolina. It was just who I was, where I was from. I even got upset with people up north who seemed obsessed with the South. They'd come down here on vacation and then rave to me about it. "Oh, how could you have left it? The mountains, the politeness, the coasts." Then I'd proceed to tell them the things I knew were wrong about the South. And in my reading group, it seemed every other book was fixated on the South. Give me a break! I'd say, "It's just another part of the country, for crying out loud!"
And then that night with the honeysuckle and I fell in love with all of it. Deep, because I already knew it and it resided inside me. It wasn't love at first sight, it was love at long last.
Last night driving home from dinner at dusk, we were coming down roads laden with honeysuckle. My window was down and my head was stuck out the window like a big old dog. I couldn't get enough of it. Mike laughed (oh, yeah, I wasn't driving) and he said, "I feel a blog coming on." I said, "No, people have got to be sick with my ravings about the South."
But when I sat down this morning all I could think about was that honeysuckle.
Oh well, I had good intentions, but the honeysuckle made me forget them.
And that's another reason why I love the South.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

God and Cinnamon Toast

Ever heard a Christian respond to a compliment, "Oh, it's not me. It's all God."? Yeah, me too. And I understand the thought and the understanding of not trying to take credit for something God has obviously done in our lives, or through us --But . . .(knew that was coming didn't you?)
But I think to a non-Christian or a struggling Christian or a new Christian that sounds kind of magical and hocus-pocusy.
Like this morning I had a yummy piece of cinnamon toast for breakfast. Now, am I going to take credit for making cinnamon taste delicious, or giving sugar it's sweetness, or the physics behind toasting a piece of bread? No. But did I make sure there was bread, butter and cinnamon sugar in the house? Yes. Did I put it all together? Yes. I had a part to play in God's creation of that piece of cinnamon toast.
Sometimes I feel in our eagerness and desire to make sure God gets all the credit we so often forget to give him, we take ourselves out of the equation. Then those not familiar with God see our successes, our victories as something beyond their reach. When we don't acknowledge that the miracle began with the willful turning of our will toward God's will, it looks too easy. We tend to not share our dedication to prayer, or seeking Godly counsel, or our attendance in worship when it's the last place we want to be, through those times of failure, disappointment, and heartache.
Jesus putting skin on was all about God making himself accessible. Why do you think his teachings involved things like a lamp, a coin, and seeds? One of my favorite quotes is by Anonymous - "The Word was made flesh, and then theologians made it word again."
When do I make access to God hard? Why?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another Trip Around the Sun

"Only Time will tell if it was Time well spent" is a line from the Jimmy Buffet song, "Trip around the Sun". This song came to mind this morning because it is my husband's birthday. I love the saying about birthdays - "I celebrate the day you were born." Isn't that an awesome thought? That along with remembering the years you've lived and what the future holds, we're remembering and honoring the day you first breathed, first opened your eyes - the very day you were born.
So, Happy Birthday Mike - I Celebrate The Day YOU Were Born!

And a gift for everyone - Jimmy Buffet and Martina McBride singing, "Trip Around the Sun."

Hear 'em singing Happy Birthday
Better think about the wish I made
This year gone by ain't been a piece of cake
Every day's a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun

I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go

No, you never see it coming
Always wind up wondering where it went
Only time will tell if it was time well spent
It's another revelation
Celebrating what I should have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun


Yes, I'll make a resolution
That I'll never make another one
Just enjoy this ride on my trip around the sun
Just enjoy this ride ...
Until it's done

Monday, May 10, 2010

What Color was your Weekend?

Kaleidoscope. That word keeps coming to me as I try to think back over this weekend. A beautiful mixture of places and peoples. Predominate colors in my kaleidoscope would be yellow, green and blue - with dashes of bright pink.
Green is the many rolling hills and bountiful trees we saw driving between Milledgeville & Marietta on Friday bring home stuff from Lizzy's dorm and between Athens and Marietta as we went to graduation for Robert and Carrie. Green surrounded us on Carrie and Robert's porch as we ate BBQ chicken and visited at the celebration afterwards. Full limbs danced in the breeze yesterday as we enjoyed Mother's Day lunch on the deck and as Lizzy and I planted flowers in the back yard.
Yellow painted over each day as sunshine found us wherever we traveled. Light, almost white-yellow found us in the 90 degree heat at Lizzy's dorm. But by Saturday the sunlight was golden-yellow, warm, but bounced around by the breeze. Yellow is my favorite color, so when people laugh I see yellow--and there is quite a bit of laughter in my weekend's kaleidoscope.
Blue? The sky, our church sanctuary, and the peacock blue on Robert and Carrie's master's hood worn over their black robes.
And splotches of bright pink are the surges of happiness that happened at will all weekend. Those same type surges this morning as I remember make my kaleidoscope spin, just like you make the colors dance in a kaleidoscope held in your hand.
So when you look back over your weekend - what are the colors which made it up?
What a beautiful, and fun, way to reexamine life!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Books speak like. . .

Yesterday I posted on Facebook how much I am enjoying "Falling Angels" by Tracy Chevalier and how she is one of my favorite authors. I added that as I'm reading this book, I'm wondering what it is about her writing that makes me like it so much. A friend commented that she does the same - and that she also wonders about books she doesn't like. Which made me realize - I always know why I DON'T like a book. Isn't that odd? What about you?
And then this morning I came across this writing by Thomas Merton (love him, btw)
"Books can speak to us like God, like men or like the noise of the city we live in. They speak to us like God when they bring us light and peace and fill us with silence., They speak to us like God when we desire to never leave them. They speak to us like men when we desire to hear them again. They speak to us like the noise of the city when they hold us captive by a weariness that tells us nothing, give us no peace, and no support, nothing to remember, and yet will not let us escape.
Books that speak like God speak with too much authority to entertain us. Those that speak like good men hold us by their human charm: we grow by finding ourselves in them. They teach us to know ourselves better by recognizing ourselves in another.
Books that speak like the noise of multitudes reduce us to despair by the sheer weight of their emptiness. They entertain us like the lights of the city streets at night, by hopes that cannot fulfill."
Wow - I can't even imagine having a mind that can think something like that up. And yet it resounds with me at so many junctures. How about you? Do you find anything worthwhile in these words of Merton? How do you choose what books you read? Does Merton's words spur you on to look at choosing books differently?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Parenting - on the job training

Well, it's over. Tomorrow we go move Lizzy out of her dorm and home for the summer. Her first year of college is over. She and I were talking about how rough her first semester was and how it now seems years ago. Recently, I took a trip back through my blogs from September and October and relived some of those awful mornings when all I could do was type and try to make sense of the journey.
She's learned a lot since August. So have I.
I learned to step back. Proactive has always been my stance as a mother. Planning, arranging, focusing, - okay, okay - controlling. But Mike and I agreed, that was my job. Did I know everything they did? No, but it wasn't for lack of trying. When Robert turned 18 and headed off to college - I still had two other teenagers to focus on. Plus, Robert wasn't a lot of worry. Ryan, well, he was def more of a worry but he'd learned some lessons in high school and seemed to understand consequences so I pulled my hands away from him, and his facebook, and his everything. Learned to turn a blind eye and deaf ear - as long as no dean or police officer was involved. Even then - he was an adult and deans and police officers would have to be his to deal with. Plus, I still had Lizzy to guide to 18.
And then I didn't. But what an honor to watch her become a young woman, to step away and let her fly. To see her handle mistakes and successes and make big decisions. To drop back into an adviser position - when wanted.
Other jobs may say they are "on the job training" but nothing compares to being a parent for learning as you go. Nothing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dangerous Words

"I just want everyone to be happy." - One of the most destructive sentences ever uttered. And yet, it's rather familiar, at least to me. I may not say it a lot, but I act it out. Often.
When I calculate the path of least aggravation to the most people I'll be in contact with, the goal is for everyone to be happy. Or at least not mad. Or at least not mad at me. My eyes and thoughts wander away from the intended focus of the event and I find myself focusing on what everyone will be thinking. Now, when I don't really care about the people - this doesn't seem to be a problem. Ever notice that? So the temptation to treat folks around me like strangers and stay focused on the real goal grows stronger. But, yeah, you know how that works out. Nobody's happy, including me.
Figuring out some maneuvers this morning (working on deepening that crease between my eyebrows) another phrase popped in my mind. "Do everything as unto the Lord." (Googled it and it's Colossians 3:23) And I remembered.
What I do and how I do it is between me and God. My purpose is to focus on God and do what he wants, not get bogged down in what the world, even my loved ones, want from me.
You see, my thoughts and desires tend to doing what keeps the most people happy (including myself). God's thoughts and desires tend to doing what's right. And Good.
You know what else? When I relax and let God be in charge - that crease between my eyebrows smooths right out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Floods to the left of me, Droughts on the right . . .

First morning to have coffee out on the deck before Mike leaves for work. Around 6:30 the birds were noisy and the air heavy. Southern air which caresses you, welcomes you, makes you want to sit and breath slow. Water droplets on the flowers and the leaves hung in mid-air. Wisps of fog also hung in mid-air. Lush and green and weighed down with freshness, the the trees and bushes crowded in towards us.
Twelve years ago from this coming summer, we came down from Illinois to take a look at Atlanta. Mike met with people and we enjoyed a couple dinners on the company - always a pleasure. Between all the schmoozing, we drove around. The word which hung on our lips was "Lush". It was beautiful back in Illinois, but this thickness of the air and the undergrowth and the tree canopy --made us homesick for the South.
The past few years we've been dealing with the drought here in the South and things haven't been as lush, as drippy, as heavy. But as my Daddy says, "Things in life are on a pendulum. They swing out too far on one side, but then come back to the middle. Then they swing too far out on the other side."
It helps me to remember that pendulum in more areas than just the weather. With people and politics and relationships. I need to watch the pendulum as it swings, not swing with it on each and every trip. To not let those invested in seeing how many folks they can get to ride with them out as far as possible, get too close to me--too much in my head and heart and spirit.
There are droughts and there are floods in all areas of life. My mission - to respect them both, but not be ruled by them.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Give that Ego a Rest

"And if the President dies, there will be a new one in a couple minutes." Mama would say that when we got to thinking ourselves indispensable at whatever we were doing. It's a good thing to remember because I think we tend to wrap ourselves up in our activities, forgetting that they'll go on without us. "There wasn't one train that didn't run when I left the railroad," is how Mike says it.
But that appreciation for the fact that life DOES go on, means my ego takes a hit. However, it also gives us the opportunity to straighten up our priorities.
This past week, was rather discombobulating. Mike didn't go to work, we made arrangements at a moments notice for us to fly to Philly, got the kids together to drive to Philly, got hotel rooms, made sure we all had funeral clothes and in general, dropped our normal lives with a phone call.
And here we are on another Monday morning, our normal lives back securely in our hands - and the world didn't skip a beat. To hold life loosely, to understand there are more important places for me to be at times, than the places I'm expected. To say, "I don't know" and rest easy with that because we're not meant to know it all on earth. Or as Steven Curtis Chapman wrote:
God is God and I am not
I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting
God is God and I am man
So I’ll never understand it all
For only God is God
So, relax your grip on your life today and give your ego a rest. Lord knows, mine needs one.