Monday, April 9, 2018

Rewards are timeless

They sat on different sides of the room. Neither had seen the other before. A glimpse and at once they were friends from the past, for the future, for the moment. Eyes locked across the room.

Okay, this isn't a mushy story. This is really not a love story. Wait, this is a love story. Eyes locking across a room. It does not mean that two lovers will meet and be carried away in rosy words and dreamy eyes. Nope. It is a love that comes from another part of us. I find it a love so overwhelming that I cannot deny it. This four letter word is a spiritual freedom that erases all walls and builds a world of all people. Eyes lock and something new happens.

Last week Loren and I once again squeezed ourselves into the cafeteria seats, waiting for the twins to join us for lunch. The twins' beautiful African American friend Samara came and gave 'MeMe' a hug. Another little girl wandered over to our table and stood there looking at me. Emma leaned over to tell me that she does not speak English. I ask her how she is doing in Spanish. Her eyes widen and she walks away. We meet up on the playground, and I explain that I speak 'poco' Espanol. She shakes her head and says 'no English'. Before we go into the school, she pops up again. She is told to go to the end of the line, so I say "vamos" and take her. I put a loving hand on her head as we part. I am touched by the quiet conversations I have with these children who accept me as Emma and Nolan's grandma. I am aware of how my roots immigrated to this continent, while this sweet girl and my nieces people are the true natives of this land. I am so grateful to be able to bridge gaps and not make them.

We are listening to great jazz with friends in a small wine bar. The music from the 60's fills the room,  and I start singing along. I look across the room, and a woman is singing, too. She points a finger at me and shakes her head yes. We are on the same wave length. I can tell that she moved and grooved to the same music from all those decades ago. Our group is deep in conversation when I feel a tap on my back. This woman came over to give me a hug and tell me that we are sisters. I felt the same connection. A connection of music and the past feelings that went with it. A final hug and she said, "I just love you." Two strangers who shared the words of songs, remembering different childhoods, sitting across a room but connected by the memories of another time. I will never see her again yet will carry her in my heart.

She gets it. She knows the secret that I hold so dear. That secret that says that we have an opportunity to love everyone in this colorful world. Instead of looking for the differences that separate us, we should look for those that bind us together.

Perhaps this is a mushy column. I am awed each time I leave the house at the opportunities I have to love. The more I give, the more I receive. The more I receive, the more I give. I know I talk about love a great deal, but in the long run, is there anything more important? Why stay stagnant in your own world when you can experience the world with open arms and an open heart. The rewards are timeless.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The struggle to get there

So you start the day out with good intentions. Ah, that time when you first awaken tucked down in that warm nest that lulled you to sleep. Well, good intentions flew out the window when I did that first stretch of the morning. It has been years since it happened, but on this morning my back decided that any intentions would be impossible.

I hate how incapacitating back pain can be. The only relief, if you can call it that, is not to move a muscle. So I managed to find some pain pills and popped one down before painfully making my way to the coffee pot. Yep, got to have that coffee to at least jump start my basically immobile body. I am ready for that second cup of coffee now but wondering how quickly I can get is poured so I can get back to the heating pad and immovable position. Coffee? Pain? Hm. I'm sure I can get that coffee if I really try.

Back pain is indeed incapacitating. Having had a history of it, you would think that I would plan my supplies for the eventuality of such an attack. The heating pad should be at chest height, not on a bottom shelf. Ouch! A tray with the remote, phone and place for coffee should be placed in same location within easy reach. Instead the tray is on bottom shelf, remote and phone in locations calling for my aching body to bend. I could lie down, but that at the moment seems a little like climbing the Himalayan Mountains. Not going to happen.

I try to get sympathy, but that seems in small supply. My son James is quick to point out my stupidity from yesterdays events. My guy Loren is right up there, too. So what if I lifted Emma on Easter Day. Those days of holding her are almost over (well, maybe over). I am blessed if she has time for her MeMe. So why would I pass it up? Okay, our games ended me up with a black and blue chin when we connected head to chin. Isn't it worth it to have an all out day of play? What's a little, er, big bruise when you make a memory. So what if I can't move today. I need sympathy!

I sit here weighing the facts. Partly because I don't want to move and partly because I am sure you understand. Our grandchildren (especially those who are last) make us push our limits. We want their memories of us to be full of the fun and the closeness we shared. I have learned to sit longer on the floor, to once more move down the stairs on my derriere as we play train. I can do the hokey pokey and turn myself around. Frankly, that's what its all about.

Our Easter was extra special this year. Our church has a cross that on Easter is wrapped with wire fencing in which the children can insert the stems of spring flowers. Emma and Nolan were the last to leave the cross as they were having such a great time making it beautiful. The Easter egg hunt on the church lawn was different this year since the kids are older and their baskets filled more quickly. My son created a wonderful meal that we shared with those we cherish. The house was filled with Easter love. For Loren and I, we are looking for a home together and want so much to continue lovely, new traditions. So why not give it my all this year.

My heart is content, but my need for coffee is ever so strong. I look at the pot and am considering the heating pad that is cooling rapidly. This big event that will include much pain seems to be worth the effort. I know the pain will disappear in a day or so. Just as Easter will fade until we come around the calendar once more. Emma, I won't be lifting you next year. You will be a couple inches taller and a few pounds heavier. I will be a bit older and maybe a little smarter (not counting on that). But the memories we make, the efforts we put forth to build relationships (and get a cup of coffee) are well worth a little struggle to get there.

Well, here goes!