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Her Advocate

The doctor was thoughtful as he asked, `is she in pain?'  And I said
that she takes the stairs quite slowly and has difficulty in the morning. 
I felt as if I was describing myself.    He touched her head lightly
and said, `take her home and love her.'

The walk home was longer than the other times.   We talked.  I told
her how I knew that she hurt sometimes but together we would
make it.  Her head was pointed in the only direction she knew,
home.

We climbed the porch and with great relief she sprawled.  It was
the only place in memory to put its square arms about her and say,
`welcome back.'

I watched her forget at times when a squirrel spirited her vision
and she gave chase.   A monumental effort for the enormous body
collapsed and found its rest with four legs at right angles.   She even
thought at times she was a pup and she remembered from some
distant time how she jumped straight up.   Now she found her
legs unsteady.

She does not whimper but takes time in stride.  I prepare her
supper with the crisp fatty bacon and no gourmet meal matches.
I look upon my cereal bowl and wonder.

One voice says, `put her out of her misery.'   Another voice demands,
`would you do as much for me?'  Another counters, `what will you do
with me?'

My bones become brittle now and I find rest at the top of the stairs.
My eyes grow dim and I tire.   Occasionally I do my spirited dance,
remembered.   And then my limbs remind me again that to dislodge
hidden memories brings pain.    And I wonder again.

Who will be my advocate?
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A Lesson In Strawberries

I was a young girl, about 12.   It was our first summer on The Farm and it was a hard one.   But it also was filled with good food straight from the warm earth.

My mother had a talent for growing things in the city, despite its polluted air that even 70 years ago people knew to be unhealthy.   But in the clear air of the country, in the soil of her loam filled garden, her talents blossomed as did her crops.

We were getting produce ready for the stand down near the road.   As we were preparing the fruits and vegetables, selling them as fast as we put them out, friends from the city were arriving.  They were what we would consider diverse characters.  Some were people in her circumstances with many children and little money.  A few were wealthy but the outstanding characteristic of all these relationships was mutual respect.

Toward the late afternoon, I was tired and as most adolescents are prone to be, whiny.   The source of my irritation was the fact that my mother was giving to her friends, without charge, the best and finest of what we were putting out.   A bushel of potatoes here, quarts of strawberries there, a bushel of apples,  here.  But the strawberries were my argument.  I loved them and the ones she grew were the reddest, juiciest and largest I had ever seen.   They were sweet clear through and the dream stuff of that first June on The Farm.  With the heavy cream separated from the rich milk the excellent cows gave, these were mine she was giving away.  The strawberries summed up my resentment.

“You can’t keep giving away our profits,” I said.  “you have given away half of all the produce!”

She turned to me in a voice I have not forgotten and a lesson that has stayed with me.

“These are mine,”  she said.  “I will do with them what I please.  These are for me to give away if I want to.  No one can tell me who to give to.  My friends may never do anything for me, but if one of them does something for my children or my grandchildren, then that will be payment for me.”

I have thought often of that lesson in gift giving.  In giving what is yours.   In the course of my days, when someone did something for me I did not expect, there was the lesson in strawberries.  When so much has been done for our children by their friends and ours, the lesson in strawberries comes up.   When time, whole weekends of time, have been given up to add a room, to sit with a sick child, to listen to an impoverished spirit, to make dinner when the task seems insurmountable and appetite non-existent, to do any of these when time has become our most precious commodity, it is a gift of Spirit.  When a check arrived unexpectedly from someone whose only reason was “I remember how I would have felt to have received this. . . ” or the some ones who oftentimes helped our children through school because “it was done for me. . . “,  I thought of the lesson in strawberries.

As I review a life where so much has been done for me and mine, from sources unexpected, I am grateful for the lesson in strawberries.   My mother gave what was hers to give, what she worked for and gave freely.   I do not forget.
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For Love’s Sake

What we create are memories.   Not only for ourselves but for others.  What we think we are doing and creating,  to another within their frame of reference, is an altogether different thing.   For ourselves we may be enriching our experience.   For the Other, we are oftentimes teaching something of great value.  Or simply giving them something to warm them when life's experiences are not sufficient.  It is important to keep in mind that what we think we are doing together is often quite different for the Other.

In my lifetime there have been many memory makers.   The memories are sweet at times and often poignant and other times sad.   Maybe not the intent of the memory makers but this was because of my frame of reference .   If we approach each other with the intent of making our meetings something of substance, there will be many memories of those times.   But the most effective I think are the ones where the relationship is mutually satisfying, the good moments become the sole substance in retrospect.  There will not be a defining moment,  simply a sigh of something that has come into our lives uninvited but leaving or creating a deeper fulfillment.  Those are the ones that expand our spirits and give depth to who we are.

Oftentimes we are surprised, especially with children who visit when something is done which is outside their experience.  Coming to mind is a special visit of small children to our home when I set the table for dinner with cloth napkins.  The surprise on the little one's face will stay with me forever.  'I can wipe my face and hands on this?' the question was asked.   Of course, of course.   Another time with older children I quietly put logs in the fireplace and started a fire to take the fall chill out of the room while they slept on couches.  I saw sleepy eyes open and close as they snuggled on down.   The smiles on their lips are my memories.   I am certain that in their adult lives they too will recreate similar moments for those they love.   It is love that desires to make memories.

Small incidents surely.   But in the lives of those we welcome into our hearts they become the stuffs that are the substance of character.  Someone took or takes the time for these small things that begin to form the shape of who we are.   Someone loved us enough to do this.

For love's sake,  are we not honor bound to do the same?
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Peace In The Center

Refresh yourself at the trough of knowledge.  The water is cool and fresh and deserves a thirst that can appreciate it.

When the eyes see, there is peace in the center.  Providing of course the footwork has been done.

Not until one sees where one has been can one change direction.

Illusions are the finery with which we dress all the dailyness, all the scullery to make life not only bearable but to elevate it also.   It is a noble endeavor.   It is a god-work.

Evolution can only be taken a step at a time.  No lesson is skipped else it will not stick and carry forth.

It bodes no good to keep ploughing when the field is ready for seed.

One cannot expect to govern a body of men when one cannot govern one's own body.

One cannot be a better anything that what one is as a person.

Words are water and actions are stone it is said.  Your actions will shout who you are and your words will whisper to the ears of them who do not wish to hear and hear what you do as louder than what you say.

Do and you will be shown how.

The Spirit requires an indulgence now and again.

Man is a country quilt.  A patchwork of many colors and shapes.   Altogether beautiful.
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A Perspective

To forgive and forget has become a shopworn edict.  It can work just so long but when you realize that the god of the other person weighs your interest against his best interest, you might come in second.   You can forgive until your face turns whatever color it is not, it still is heavy on the heart.

Forgiveness can only work when we give up hope that the past can be rewritten.  Generally the insult or injury is not viewed as such by the other if they are still in our lives.  Even when pointed out, there is no ‘I am sorry’ because the other does not see a reason to be sorry.  It does not mean that the injuries are not valid.   It means that the other has a different frame of reference and heads are different.   It means that what is, Is.  It does not mean that all things are forgotten, but that from this point on there will be notable changes.    How different will depend on what we value.   And that is where the hard work of sifting and sorting and building a philosophy begins to accommodate life’s challenges.

Education of people varies so one wonders about credibility.  Women stand by erring husbands and often feel guilty. People stand by their governments no matter how rancid, employees stand by employer’s outrageous malfeasance, and children work to cover their parents’ stupidities.    Now everyone is to be held accountable.    This is how it should be.   But it is a challenge.

The question then is how to forgive the daily irritant in our lives, related or not.  In this day of  DNA , we are more than a little surprised just who our relatives are. The commandment still is to love one another.   When we look upon Others as separate from us, we deal with me, my and mine instead of we, us and ours.  Open warfare is the agenda and we become Separatists, whether we speak of a person, families or countries. 

Forgiveness may be difficult when we cannot accept the effort of Others who behave in a manner that is within their frame of reference or their culture.  That path may not be what we can share but we must remember within them also is the earnestness to find a way toward their truth.  When we acknowledge our different perspectives and that the past is accepted as past, we can begin to write the script for the future by our actions today, the present.

Let us gift ourselves and make today our present to us.

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The Dance

There is a dance that our feet learn to do when first we stand up.  That dance
is learned well, for even when our feet no longer dance, our phantom feet 
remember the dance.   They itch to dance.   And under penalty of death we
think, we stay with it.   If we decide to learn new steps, the old steps often need
to be altered.  And if they are, we think we are not needed for our dance or we
feel our steps are not noticed anymore and are taken for granted.   Either way
we may feel sorry for ourselves or worse, give up.   Very few give in and learn
new steps, perhaps slower ones.   The new dance feels alien to our self image 
and we are certain we will be laughed at.   Fortunately others do not remember
our old steps as we who danced them.   In the fashion of our admired dance
stars, we skimmed the floor and swept others along with us.

And that is the kicker.   When one is aware that a new step is needed, one is
aware also that the dance is soon ending.  How to do it gracefully,  with a
sweeping dip that barely touches the floor, takes a nimble body and mind.
Most of us do it with the tentative steps we learned when first we learned
to dance.   For the vision might still be sweeping, but the body falters.   And
before we know it, the audience's attention is riveted on younger feet still
learning new and beguiling steps.  We shuffle off the floor.   Our dance is over.

And we are never the wiser that the young feet doing the new dance could
not dance at all had we not learned the old dance first. 
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A Resolution

Let us resolve to fall in love with our Earth.  Since many resolutions have
already died let us fall in love with our Earth and keep her alive.  Yet
how does one fall in love with Earth?   It is easy.   It is a different kind of
feeling, a oneness, a union that nothing dissolves nor divides.  It is the
steadiness,  the compliance of all things in Nature that yield to a bidding
when it is done with love.   She is not secretive.  She is an open book.

 

This love is a desire to return to a place where the heart knows its
completeness, in its wholeness with the laws of Nature.  We become one
and the same.   We are what the seeker chooses to establish when all else fails
to come to fruition.  When there is nothing that satisfies, there is always
the hope and response in the garden, in the fields and in the forests.  In its
beaches and in its waters.  It is a communion with the holiness in us and a
love which puts all else to shame unless it measures up.

 

It is a comfortable place to be.  It is what we choose in place of
relationships that wither with disillusion.   Nature does not.   She gives
from an unending Source, reaching into her carpetbag to bring forth bits
of revelation to entice, to give one reason to keep trying.   Yet when she
falters, for every grievance she dispenses, there is redress.  In time there
is an adjustment, a correction for every injury.   She is easy to love.   And
no matter the number of other worlds,  this one is worth taking care of.   No
illusions are necessary because she is sufficient unto herself.

 

In retrospect, this planet has suffered with our lack of stewardship.  So
let us fall in love with her.  Let us resolve to make her an object of our affection
and take care of her.   It is time now to assume guardianship of this place
we call home.

 

For this time it is all we have.
2

A Life Worthy

Life is kind to those who treat her kindly.  But if intensity, with its power is used, then life desires to meet her match.  And uses the match for preparation to a higher glory that has little bearing on what one believes.   It is not a matter of life in a hereafter that has one floating on a bed of tranquility.   When life’s conditions are met in the physical, there will be testing periods only chosen by the person who feels the need to gather time and put it to use in a way that others would find untenable.

Who would put or pit themselves against situations that would force a do or die attitude?  Who would force themselves to grow in spite, despite all prevailing attitudes about stress and stress related illnesses, except the soul who knows a something that seems to escape the knowledge of others?

Escapes the knowledge of others.   It is an ancient thought that has propelled some to the present now with the knowledge that by stressing themselves they will prove capable of better and higher things.   And not necessarily in physical life.   There is something innate that tells them there is a something beyond physical life and when pressed, they will shrug and say who knows?    Or some such bright saying.   They will also when pressed deny it and say we work for our family, for position, for the good of some worthwhile cause.   But the truth of the matter lies in the fact that what they are saying is that they want to be qualified.   Qualified to pass a higher judgment to qualify for a position of work that will enable their transport into a world unlike the one they have known.

And the world held in mind is different than their neighbors, in that it will be of memory as they bring it to conscious mind.  These will be glimpses.  They could not elaborate if their lives depended on it and could not describe nor articulate their feelings.   It is done with the hope that what propelled them here has resulted in a life worthy of graduation to a something higher. They are in a cooperative venture with the heavens.   There is assistance for the intense desire of the pilgrim.  It is there for the asking.

Though the majority of us feel we are plowing the field with runaway horses, it is enough to find  at the end of the day, that we too have been tested.  And found worthy.
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We Are Asked

In each of us is our dream, our desire.   The striving, the process is the only thing worth the struggle.  This is why we work at it.   All else are diversions.   They are but a tangent of the premise.  Either the striving or the process finds the dream for us or we do not find it.  The goal is unimportant.  Goals can change.  In the search, the striving, we will find our  Self.   And we may find nothing but compromise with the Earth, the Heavens and our Self.  But because of the striving we then put all of us a step closer to brotherhood in the making.  And the next generation will find a depth, a richness and a spirituality just where they are and will build on what was a dream.  They will find no reason to tear down but every reason to enlarge the dream and depth of it.

It is not only the way of the world.   It is the way of the Universes for life everlasting.  To learn the rudiments, to learn the process puts the mystery back where it belongs.   Within the godhead and in the being who is part of the godhead.  The Divine spark resides in man.  Not only are we human but divine.  We are in God.   It is no longer appropriate to qualify ourselves as only human.   We are more.  We must bring the god premises down to where we are or lift ourselves up to where we think they are.  And our lives must reflect the highest and best in us.

Some are given greater glimpses, more in depth visions of greater scope.  But they are still only glimpses.   We all are given those moments when we know we are more than what we appear.   What it means is that from where we are, we are  to pursue in depth what it is we require to bring the greater vision to us and give greater meaning to who and what we are.  We then are able to reflect it in who we are and what we do.   It is no small thing we are asked to do.  

It is not only our world we must concern ourselves about but all worlds.  Those yet to see the light of day but also the mysteries of night.
2

War No More

In my mind I am still in the midst of the Big War as my generation called it.   I am collecting my belongings,  gathering them closely under my long, big black coat and huddling close to vacant buildings.  The snow is dirty  with footprints and other soot beneath my feet and I long to have it disappear so I will not be so apparent in contrast.  Across my head mortar fire pierces the cold night and I stumble.  I think I am dead.  My possessions are scattered and there is no life without them.  They exemplified my personhood and now I am not even an idea.

Again, there is another skirmish, still from another time.  A speaker stands among the multitudes and is giving forth an idea to clothe man’s mortality, he says.  ‘I give to you Spirit, for without its recognition you continue to think you are nothing.’  My life is just fine I think and my catcalls and railing against him yields only to my spatting at him and running him through the village.  I followed him and made his life miserable till we both died.

I stood watching my young son in a high collared uniform one day at smokey tracks as the long train waited for the boys to board.   I stood by impotent with grief as he gazed into the face of his young love who held her upturned face with a hand firm on her straw bonnet.  The pain etched in both faces stays with me still.   Too old to battle that war, I battled others.

In triplicate sometimes.  A young man waged stop-gap measures in a series of events with eyes that held pain written before this century began to fulfill itself and thought only this life brought insurmountable problems.  Others in great numbers have incurred wounds that modern medicine with all its magic cannot even begin to heal.  And others whose mail is  addressed to places I cannot pronounce leaves no recourse but to worry about the uneasy state of affairs.   But I know war and you know war, too.

But I do not worry unduly.   There are places in my memory box which are unleashed and in dreams I am enmeshed in wars which only the history books have access to.   My age precludes my participation in the earliest skirmishes, we are taught.   But I have the details written in my genes.  I have the human interest stories etched on my heart because I was there.  And you were, too.   We have fought the enemy and continue to fight him.  He is our kin.   He is our brother.  He is us.  I am he.
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