After watching the news this morning, I thought how wonderful it is to have today. It is so beautiful outside, and the miracle of now is here. Some of the news was tragic, and it made me think about the glory of these 18 waking hours or so that are meant to be lived well no matter what the parameters of life might be. Which reminded me that a day can surprise you. Since the houses are far apart out here in the country, sometimes we can only hear the neighbors faintly. But for several years through the pine grove, we heard a screaming kid yelling as if no one could hear him past his fence line. You could tell that he just enjoyed the living daylights out of screaming like he was hurt. But when I drove by I could never see him. He probably felt like he was the only one in the world walking the pasture, playing, and doing chores. Finally, even though he was a little younger he became a family friend. At first, he transferred his wild antics to the yard, but time calmed him down. Someone was actually paying attention to this kid now. The dramatic voices he can produce are amazing, and he brought something special from across the way since last summer…laughter. He makes me laugh. “Kid do you like chocolate chip cookies?” I said planning to keep the comedian here as long as possible. “No ma’am, I don’t like chocolate that much,” he said. Rats, I had to move to plan B. As it turned out he loved iced tea, and for some reason he thinks my tea is the best in the world so out came the pot and tea pitcher. Keep the tea in the pantry; we found laughter out here in the wilderness. So, he and my son are good friends now. A lot of tea has been made, and last night was no exception. I heard a complaint about being tired of Dr. Pepper. Hint…tea it is then! What animation, this kid should be an actor! He was so happy! So happy that he forgot himself. ”I hope you don’t die. I sure like that tea,” said the less wild creature that we now call a friend. He realized his mistake, and mumbled something. I laughed until…well I am still laughing. Instead of a paper route, he has an egg route. A four-wheeler, some chickens, willingness to work, and the kid has a tiny thriving business. They have another friend in the mix now. Last night, they four-wheeled themselves down the back dusty roads to the local hamburger joint by the highway. It seems like everything here is nestled up against the forest of pines. I watched them drive off, and I thought how they would look back, and remember these simple days as great days. And every day is precious no matter what stage of life. I’ll keep the tea pitcher full. Laughter and friends are always good to have around. Who wants to live without them? Don’t worry kid. I plan on being around awhile.
Someone said to me, and I didn’t mind at all, what was I smoking to write such humor? I know what I wrote was silly. I would call it giddy even. I assured my sweet blogging friend that I was not under the influence of any substance, and never had been in my life. I was not offended at all. It was actually nice to hear her comment, because hearing from her is always delightful. But why, oh why, was I so happy?
This is the first time I have ever used social media. I took a peek at Facebook a little over a year ago. It held no allurement for me whatsoever, but I guess I need to one day. I have lived so isolated so long here in the boondocks of life. If I had belonged to a convent, I would have not experienced as much isolation. Death, illness, and the other guts and bolts of my life that would be completely boring to you if explained would cause perhaps any reader to say, “Oh I get that, no problem. No wonder you were isolated.” But this blog is not about life’s abdominal surgery that it likes to perform now and then, thank goodness! The surgical details of it all will remain in the operating room. I like the waiting room better don’t you?
So, if I act giddy. Oh, it is because I am people. I have some freedom. When I say that I ”love” what you have written, well I am not kidding. I need no superfluous adjectives to gain anything at all. When you read the word “beautiful” that my flexible piano fingers have deliriously written in a heavenly frenzy, oh I mean it because I am happy to see what someone else has done beautifully whether it is art, music, photography, or words. You people are too talented out there you really should give some of that away?
Don’t say, “so long” to sweet peas yet! I will be giddy from time to time. Maybe more often than not, but you will know that it isn’t because I am a blonde. It is because of my brain which is much blonder! One of the definitions of elixir is, “a substance held capable of changing base metals into gold: Philosophers Stone” Webster. Wow, I love that. This morsel of being able to blog is golden. Now you have a deeper explanation than my former reply, my blogging friend, and I hope it made you smile! Terri O.A.
I found a scrap of paper with a short phrase. They were usually scraps due to instant inspiration written by my burly Dad the sensitive poet. He was positive, but he also called himself an extreme realist. However, he sang, whistled, and joked more than anyone else. When the doctor said the word leukemia we all heard it, but we didn’t hear it. ”No, we are just here because there was a car wreck, that is all…what are you saying?” A longhorn steer could have rammed my insides, and it would have felt the same. Laughing instead of crying was his philosophy. So that is what he did along with those wonderful deep philosophical discussions we had about God and life during chemotherapy, and around the kitchen table. And some not so deep like the love for cheeseburgers, strawberry shakes, and cartoons. As a kid, I would laugh at his impromptu poetry….quite dramatic and funny. We watched cartoons sometimes, Courage the Cowardly Dog. My friend; my Dad. Silliness equaled happiness then.
Grief is a strange entity. It seems like it is gone, and all of a sudden, wham, a trigger point clicks the pain into every pore, and then it sits silently waiting for next time. I am talking about this because someone reached out to me in their grief. Does anyone ever say the right things? Do words really help? Following are the things I wish I had said, but didn’t. I don’t think most of us expect sorrow to tear everything up, to twist the heart into knots, and to walk away laughing at the contorted pieces. It feels like the pain is never going anywhere, because it just hurts so bad for so long. I found that sorrow has a wonderful enemy though…time. Time will stretch sorrow out until it is a thin vapor no longer powerful enough to be a prison wall. I think this incredible process happens because that is the way we are designed. We can only hold sadness at its saturation point for so long. It begins to dissipate, and sometimes so very excruciatingly slowly that it will seem like nothing will ever change. But it already is as you go about life everyday. Does the pain ever go completely away? Sometimes it does. But, it will not go away completely for my friend who lost her teenage son, promise of tomorrow, in an accident. But the pain today is not the same as the pain at the beginning of the tragedy. More good memories get mixed up with less tears. Each person has to find their own way through such a private and difficult process. I have my badges of honor where heart scars are concerned, and I found that my heart finally wanted to hug life again, and I hope the same for you.
My Dad would say to me don’t give up, because you never know what is around the corner. And then with a mischievous look he would say maybe trouble would find me, and maybe not. After writing his phrase on that scrap of paper, a few months later there she was, my Mom, dressed in red standing by the church door. The photo was iconic with the wind blowing her hair as she smiled. Another hope, another dream, less tears for him, because she made his life wonderful. He was laying in a hospital room the last day that he saw her. He would never see her again after that day, and we just didn’t know. He watched her walk across the room and said, “She is so beautiful.” Then they had a little chat about how she was jealous of him. They both laughed. He once wrote a poem for her, “After the bloom of the rose is gone, my love for you will still be strong.” He saw yesterday, and the present all together in that lovely face.
Some of us learn early that life goes back and forth in-between sad, hopeful, pain that seems to have no purpose, and realizing pure happiness can fall out of nowhere making a song out of the fact that you survived it all. I realized that I could survive… just by waiting on time. It was difficult for me to feel that one day pain would not rule my life. But life has a way of pushing a ripped heart around the corner where trouble isn’t always waiting. Hope just might be there with a dream to accomplish, and all the while your heart can still love the one that is gone, but with less tears. So this Saturday morning I was watching cartoons with my kid, because silliness equals happiness. Who knew SpongeBob SquarePants was so powerful? He made us laugh.
And what was it that my Dad wrote on that scrap right before he met my Mom?
“To think of the past is to weep bitter tears. To think of tomorrow is to fill the heart with joy.” (J.W.O.)“Never, Never, Never give up.” Winston Churchill
Now how did I get Winston Churchill, and Sponge Bob SquarePants in the same post ….well, I have no idea! :) ….Terri O.A.