|Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was born on this day in 1929, observed, “The beauty of nonviolence is that in its own way and in its own time it seeks to break the chain reaction of evil.” He also famously declared: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
The above quotes were taken from an article by Jim Dennison. They are worth sharing. In light of all the violence of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, his words can enlighten our thinking and the words we use in talking about current events. I'm sure he meant all violence by all people.
With that in mind, stay home the next few days. Do not go to your state capitols or if you live in one, don't go near government buildings or public places. Think of your own safety and your family's. Then think of being a peacemaker, not a troublemaker. And stay out of DC. There are traps laid for you. You will be tricked into looking guilty of things you did not do. You will be swept up with the crowd into places you don't want to go. Government employees are going to allow this to happen just to stir things up. So just stay close to home. You can make your peaceful statements heard later on in a safe environment.
|It's always a great time for introspection on the last night of the year. What made you happy in 2020 and what made you sad in 2020?
I think a lot of people will find it easier to think of the sad part. For me it was watching my father pass away. I knew it was coming. I was sitting there waiting for it to happen. There was a long time between breaths. A respiratory therapist came in and couldn't find a heartbeat. She was very calm about it. I couldn't respond to her. Within minutes 5 nurses were there checking. When someone looked to the charge nurse for confirmation, and she nodded, I teared up. But I thought I had it under control.
Suddenly, one of those young nurses bent over to hug me tightly and I lost it. I boohooed out loud and held her back (despite COVID risks). I don't remember what anyone said, though I know the gist of it. For a few minutes I was engulfed with sadness. Nothing can prepare you for that moment.
Happy moments are harder to remember. Most of those were glimpses of the kids in my life. When the three year old just forgot himself and jumped into my lap. Watching the five year old trying to coordinate a fist bump or elbow bump with great grandpa. Just little things, fleeting moments.
My church tried to find alternate means of worship to satisfy the governor's restrictions. I stayed with a very small group who did an early outdoor service, shorter than usual. Another small group did a short indoor service, spaced appropriately, with no singing (the law). It got colder, after the mosquitoes disappeared. One day it rained. I got the feeling we had rediscovered worship. We went to great lengths and discomfort to be together and pray and meditate. The outdoor group had squirrels and songbirds. The Sunday after my father died, I brought four children with me. They ran around away from us and added background noise. It almost doubled attendance. I felt a kinship to those first century Christians, before buildings and formalities encumbered the church. That's a happy outcome.
| My dear father has passed at age 92. He suffered a lot the last month, but in the end, he passed peacefully. Now I have so much work with the funeral home, the insurance, the cemetery, family and friends, banking, etc. I not only lost my father, but the person I live with, and the person for whom I physically cared.
I'm in for major adjustments. It will be lonely not having another person in the house. I won't need to change his bed or wake him up to get ready for bed. I cooked for him. I have no incentive to make a hot meal just for me. I can come and go as I please. You would think that would make me happy and feel free. It feels weird and makes me sad.
I didn't mind taking care of him. I would have done it longer. I wasn't ready to let him go. I'm also worried about my future. I'll be okay for about six months, but then who knows?
There's the grief, the loss, the fear of the future, the loneliness, but also guilt. What could have I done differently. Was I too impatient when he was in the hospital trying to rip off his leads, oxygen, and his catheter? Did I get an edge to my voice when I tried to stop him from getting out of bed? Could I have done something else to relieve his discomfort? Probably, but I'll never know for sure. I loved him. He was a good man, and now there is a hole in my heart and in my life.
|Prompt: "When all the world appears to be in a tumult, and nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons retain their essential rhythm. Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter, but then, winter, will be forced to relent, once again, to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring." Madeleine M. Kunin
I had to look her up, not a familiar name to me. Kunin was governor of Vermont in the late 80's and ambassador to Switzerland in the 90's.
The bigger part of what she says here is true. Life goes on from season to season in our lives, and in our world, no matter what happens. The Pandemic may stop us in our tracks, like the Bubonic Plague in England in the late 1500's. but nature doesn't stand still. Places that experience seasonal change will continue to do so. Places that have been bombed or hit by a tsunami will still experience that age old change of nature. Those areas ravaged by fire will also have seasonal change, although less dramatically.
The word that keyed me into her attitude immediately was "assault". That word indicates a liberal thinker. The "affects of climate change" wouldn't have told me anything. Climate change has been around since the Ice Age. Yes, we can make it worse by being careless with our carbon foot print. But science and restructuring any country is not going to lower the temperature. Global warming has been a part of the original plan since the Dawn of Creation. It's not going to go away, no matter how much we scream or restrict business.
We will keep going on like the seasons until the earth self-destructs. Then there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth.
|Day 2908: November 3, 2020
Prompt: “There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the performance sufficiently rewards the duty.” – Joseph Addison
Life coaches will tell you to start out every day with gratitude. No matter how old you are, thank God or your higher power you woke up again this morning. You have another day ahead of you which means another chance to get it right! Be thankful for the weather, or the birds chirping, or the nice warm house you're in.
I'm always thankful to get into a bed with freshly laundered sheets! So many little things we take for granted, that we really could take time to feel gratitude for them. Hot coffee, fresh air, mother nature, moonlight. Listing our blessings lifts our spirits and prepares us to receive greater things.
I recently read a book about two young women in Paris who were sent to a concentration camp; they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were tortured and starved, but were allowed to stay together. They constantly reminded themselves they were still alive and still together. They had nothing else for which to be grateful, but it helped them get through the nightmare.
We can get through our own nightmares if we look for things that please us or make us thankful. The Karate kid used the mantra "The grass is green, and the sky is blue." In very difficult times in my life, when I felt like I had nothing for which to be grateful, I told myself, "the grass is green, and the sky is blue." It kept me from feeling so sorry for myself, and eventually, I could make the list longer.
|Prompt: “You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ― Maya Angelou
What do you think? Can you use up creativity?
I agree. The more you create, the more ideas you have. I can't write music, but people who do always have one more song. That creativity applies to cooking, crafts, music, and all art forms, not just writing.
Famous examples would include Clint Eastwood. Despite advanced arthritis, and a ton of work in acting, producing, and directing, he's still going strong. He can't stop finding new actors to coach, new projects to undertake, and he's almost 90. He is driven by creativity.
The same is true of inventors and scientists. It's like you inspire yourself to do one better than the last one. You never rest on your laurels. Creativity breeds creativity.
|Pick a dessert quote and share a story that connects with the one you chose.
"People who love to eat are always the best people." by Julia Child
This is so true. Eating employs several senses: tasting, seeing, smelling. Touch is used with foods eaten with the fingers, and hearing with foods that sizzle or snap. Now she's not saying overindulging or making yourself a glutton. But simply preparing food, sharing it and consuming it. Maybe even growing your own would be included. It always seems to me a tomato you grew yourself tastes better.
I've noticed that people who like to eat tend to be more generous, more amiable, and more adventurous. Picky eaters are more uptight (in my limited observations) or have personality quirks. I learned in my single life that if a man only likes Velveeta cheese or white bread, he's going to be a pain with too many hang-ups. He got dumped. The person who likes to try new recipes is more likely to be appreciative, of anything, and have a more positive outlook. It would interesting to know if some social scientist somewhere had actually done a study of this.
I broke out laughing when I read Julia's words that "The only time one eats diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook." (of something close to that) I like it, but I think the title quote is more insightful than Julia meant for it to be.
| I just filled the dining room mantle with metal spiders, real mini pumpkins, scarecrows, and one ceramic jack-o-lantern. There's a bat and a ghost hanging under the mantle. I don't have that many kids visiting, so I guess it's just for me. I have short scarecrows in the windows and a haunted house in the kitchen over the big window. The living room has a dancing Mickey Mouse wizard on the coffee table. He's the one decoration that's meant to played with. I have a burlap pumpkin on the end table, and a carved wooden pumpkin down in the foyer with seasonal color flowers.
Outside I have a large ceramic jack-o-lantern (Kroger sold a ton of them last year). We have scarecrows in front and back, left from trying to keep the woodchucks and the deer from eating all the plants. They didn't do their job, so now they get Halloween duty. And I have my potted mums from last year showing their white, yellow and brownish blooms.
The cars in the driveway block the outdoor view because of the weird layout of our yard. My 92 year old dad likes to clown around by posing with the scarecrows or the elephant ears (plants) for photos. Sometimes he enlists one of his great-grands, and we have two clowns. We don't usually get many trick or treaters because of the wooded feel and the distance between driveways. The pandemic will probably prevent all tricks or treats, so we will have the candy all to ourselves.
|Prompt: Who has changed your life, and how?
This can be a tough question. Lots of people have influenced me: parents, grandparents, teachers, some older friends, etc. Who changed me? Besides me, that is.
You might say my husband when he became a raging alcoholic and made my life a living hell. I changed it by walking out on him and giving up all my worldly possessions.
No, overall, through all the ups and downs of my life, I have to give you what many would call the corny or sentimental answer: Jesus. No matter where I find myself or what the circumstances, it is Jesus who determines my actions and attitudes. I am continually changing as I attempt to study his word and to walk more closely with him. I have to delve into my deepest thoughts and feelings to clear out the old "clutter" while trying to be more in tune with his teachings.
Without Jesus all these years, I know I would be a different person. I wouldn't be examining my values or trying to improve my being. I would have made more mistakes than I did.