Yesterday, I sat on the bed and arranged the items on the little round side table that has helped me through the last couple weeks. There was my reading glasses, Iphone, chapstick, tv remote control, half cup of tea, bottle of Advil, a picture of my darling hubby along with a green potted plant that is feeding me oxygen. So, I get the clever idea to water the plant with my remaining tea. You already see where this is going, I know. I poured the tea carefully into the dirt. Then, I noticed that all the liquid ran off across the other side onto the table, carrying bits of soil with it. Oh Lord! I immediately rescued the photo and removed each item one at a time for a wipe down. Next, I grabbed yesterday’s t-shirt to polish the table and further inspect all the items again to make sure they were dry. That felt like a days work for me after a very quite week of being waited on by my attentive hubby. I actually fretted that I would have nothing to write about in my weekly blog because the days were so routine and sedentary. Hah! What analogy can be made from this mishap? Perhaps it is that when we try to share and nourish others in small ways, our words may not be absorbed or our actions appreciated. They may flow right by unnoticed or even be rejected by the intended recipient. But that is not the end of the lesson. The result of my deed required immediate follow up. If I had left without seeing the water, it may have caused damage and left a mark. If we neglect a follow up, we could miss an opportunity to serve another way, or assist someone else. Others may be affected by our gestures in ways that we are unaware. People may observe us and benefit from our labors even when we think our attempts are futile. Our actions affect future generations that we will never know, just as the our grandparents and their forefathers are responsible for molding our destiny and character. We are an important part of a continuum, so stay the course. Sharing our stories and the love of God may run right through some deaf ears, on its way to fortifying another. That little bit of good soil might need to be spread around so others can grow and flourish. I will find a more suitable watering can to refresh my potted plant. God calls us to keep watering until the right amount sinks in.
This week, I rented a walker from the Senior Center. Humbling. A little minor foot surgery requires me to be off my left foot for three weeks. Crutches are lovely for maneuvering, but the walker has four on the floor for best support when rising or sitting. Turtle pace for sure. Simple tasks are difficult standing on one leg. Hopefully, I am developing a stronger upper body and not putting to much stress on the right leg. I don’t want to end up without a leg to stand on. This happens figuratively when I try to argue with friends, and with out supporting evidence. My childhood bestie, Lise, and I used to argue about many things, especially religion. She became a well renown litigator in Chicago and I still defend theological dogma whenever challenged (yes, everyday on Facebook). If we want credibility, it requires research, experience, and strong elocution. Lise inspires me with those gifts.Some people might accomplish solid arguments with their sound bytes and internet links. Most of us just sound off. Truthfully, I would rather have a visit face to face and engage in deeper discussion. Come on over, and help your self to tea. I lack the skill at the moment. I tried to make lunch on my own and hubby insists I sit with my leg elevated. He is a marvel at food prep and shower assistance. He is also ever ready with the ice pack and a beverage. This is a true test of love and the best care I could imagine. While he is at the office, I have all this solitary quiet time and no place to go. I understand now, the value of visiting the shut-ins or those with infirmities. A friendly face and a few good stories have value beyond medicine. I am practicing my ukulele and reading the first Marshall Terry book in a series of seven. The author is a relative and was a professor of Literature at Southern Methodist. This should be inspiring for me to get started with a family memoir. I actually have a working title and outlined the chapters. “The Mother Daughter Banquet” spans four generations of Lutheran women in our family. And yesterday my daughter, Bethany, has announced they are expecting in November! I jumped for joy- on one leg, holding tightly to my walker. As I balance carefully to take steps, I already can imagine the excitement we all will have when baby Single takes the first steps. I know God will be there every step of the way and I pray the Lord will give me restraint when I am tempted to cover our new “love” with kisses and my poppy red lipstick. In our daily life journey, some walk ten thousand steps and others take baby steps. The important thing is to keep moving forward, even while we reminisce about how far we have traveled.
Yesterday, I bought a ukulele. I don’t know how to play it, but I decided that it would be a great instrument for Dr. Sing A Song to have when visiting children in the hospital. I don’t play guitar and when I tickle the ivories on the piano, they actually giggle back at me. It will be a challenge for me to learn a new instrument when my musical skill it limited. Luckily, there is a workshop for ukulele players at clown camp that I plan to take, so I decided to get a head start and learn a few chords. We have just one little music shop in town, so I was thrilled to learn that they had one soprano ukulele that just came in. It looks like my hubby’s guitar that I left in the dryer too long. I bought it and brought it right home. Then, I went to the internet to look for tutorials. First, I learned the Island strumming technique-down-up-up-down. Then I listened to a couple songs on YouTube that showed the beginner chords. Apparently, I will be able to play a hundred songs with just the C, G, F, and A minor. Finally, I practiced the transitions form one chord to the next. This was going poorly because my fingernails kept me from proper contact. The salesman said I have seven days to try it out and can return it if it is not for me. I am not ready to quit, even though it is clear that I am not a natural musician. I took a big step and got the clippers to cut off all the nails on my left hand and kept the nails on my right hand for strumming. Amazingly, this has made all the difference. I worked on the three transitions until I could do it with some melodic clarity. My hands started to cramp so I took a break. This purchase was so impulsive, I had not even discussed it with my hubby. I wondered if I could surprise him with one little song when he got home, so I got back to practice. Those of you who know my super supportive sweetheart, already know that he listened with delight and encouragement. He asked me to play more while he reached for his guitar. Our little duet truly made my heart soar. My daughters were equally encouraging when I played the chords for them today on the phone. They guessed exactly the song I was attempting. I am not ready to record it on YouTube, but in two months I should be ready to join the minstrels at camp. This whim may not amount to anything significant; it may just be a little Hawaiian happiness to add to my repertoire. Long ago when I was born in Honolulu to the Harper family, I must have heard the sweet sounds of the ukulele calling to me. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” is an island girl that keeps dreaming. If music is calling you, come make a joyful noise with me.
Yesterday, a sassy realization came to me and plopped itself down by my side and said, “That’s the way it is, what’s the big deal”? This has happened a few times when I ponder the lives of my children after seeing their Instagrams. My daughters and I are similar in so many ways that I forget how differently we see the world. Our family covers a complete spectrum of beliefs and ideals, whether it is philosophical, political, relational, or religious. I never expected them to think exactly like I do. My mother and I debated many issues and certainly communicated much differently than she did with her mother. This may be a truism of every generation. Still, I marvel at my daughter’s conclusions and their choices when they are not the ones that I would make. They are not afraid to ask questions or try new things. They are not looking to be rich or popular. The result is that they are braver than I, more accepting, more generous, and more resilient. I cherish them as a gift from God. An example of our dichotomy lies in what we find humorous. Our family all likes to laugh out loud, often and uncontrollably. We all love comedy, but their idea of funny differs from mine. I credit my husband for this as he raised them on Monty Python and quoting their favorite lines around the dinner table. We might all laugh at a man who slips on a banana peel (that may seem kind of cruel, but it is old shtick) and they would find it much funnier if he slipped on a “meadow muffin” when walking through a cow pasture. I think the movie industry calls this “potty” humor. I just can’t seem to embrace this. So, my children and their generation laugh at base situations and remark, “What’s the big deal”? Maybe is isn’t, but my Swedish Lutheran upbringing did not include exposure to this. When people we love think differently, it can cause fractures in the relationship. What can be done about it? Peaceful discussion is imperative. It is never very agreeable to disagree, so I never liked that expression “agree to disagree”. A better outcome is “understand a little more, than we did before”. There is a new beer commercial that promotes this concept. I love the clever sociology projects that appear on Facebook which enlighten people. Comedians and storytellers often have the same motivation: to enlighten and entertain. It may not be a big deal that our language changes and our mode of communication changes with each generation. It is a very big deal that Love never changes. Love doesn’t end or walk away. Love is always there even when people are far apart. Laughter is in cahoots with Love. If you laugh when I slip and fall in the mud, I pray your Love will pick me up and brush me off without fear of getting dirty. Be different, because your mothers were too. Laugh loudly, because it is incredibly healthy. Love without end, because there is nothing better than that. If realization pays you a visit, call me and we will have a peaceful talk.