Sunday, December 11, 2022

 Expectations – ‘Tis the Season.   

    What are folks looking forward to this holiday season? The possibilities are endless. The giving and “getting” season is fraught with expectations that run the gamut. On top of the list likely are material items and money enough to buy for those we care for the most. We who own privilege will give, and we all expect to receive some kind of present I would imagine. Gifts can be disappointing though – you know, the ugly sweater, the fruit cake wrapped in cellophane, the faux diamond necklace, perfume that smells like grandma’s, the flannel high-necked nightgown, socks, ties. . . underwear. Stuff. Stuff is what we receive and, if the truth be told, much of it will be shoved in a drawer, thrown away, or regifted somehow. What did the giver expect? Humans can be a greedy, unappreciative lot. That’s why, these days, I rely on gift cards. My motto: Buy what you want. Purchase what you need. And lots of love.

So, what do I want, need, and love? Yesterday I was looking online at Ferraris. Yes, just looking, but they sure are lovely. I definitely do not expect the keys to a shiny sportscar under my tree Christmas morning. Honestly, the closest I ever came to owning a Ferrari was a poster of one that was plastered on the wall above my bed when I was a teenager. It’s nice to dream though . . . besides, a gift card simply wouldn’t work in this case!

Tangibles aside, what else during this time of year do we anticipate coming our way? Perhaps, an intangible is in the offing - romance, health, creativity, adventure, strength, truth, honesty, kindness, love. Wouldn’t some of those be nice? That’s what I opt to see spread around everywhere though doubt does lie in the shadows.

During the holidays, many people hold close the prospect, the expectation, of gathering with family and friends to celebrate but I venture even those get-togethers can be either a joy or disappointment. My experiences may differ from others’, but you understand my drift. My late son detested holiday events with family although he put on a brave face and managed to bumble through relatively unscathed. But I understand him and as a result have given up any expectations on this front. It takes a great deal of energy to pump up that feeble emotion, hope, only to be let down. And, in time, letting go is not really so difficult after all.

Life goes on. We learn to accept what is . . . and that results in contentment. I can’t hold contentment in my hand, but I do in my heart. Really, when all is said and done, what else could one possibly want?




Sunday, November 27, 2022

It’s Sunday. Let’s Talk About Sin.                   


         Sin is probably not a topic most people want to venture into discussing, but, what the hell. It’s Sunday. A bunch of folks have gone to a house of worship already today, I’d imagine. A few have sought forgiveness I suppose, while others have amassed simply to hear the Word of their choice, to show reverence to some higher entity, to reconnect with neighbors and friends, to feel puffed up with piety, or most likely to chitchat, gossip, or tell a tale or two to a willing ear. Why not? Worshiping sites provide people a place to congregate, to share a sanctimonious moment, to allow faith to sink in . . . one more time.

            Not everyone is a churchgoer. As a child I was, out of deference to my parents who insisted. As an adult, I am not. Instead of being inside a building with men and women I do not know, I would rather take a walk outside with my best friends – my husband and my two German Shepherds who love me and help me feel whole. I’d rather feel a crisp, cool wind kiss my cheeks as I look at the cloud-streaked sky, multiple shades of blue and grey. I’d rather take in fall’s display as branches of trees quiver in the breeze and drop leaf, after leaf, after leaf, the colors – orange, crimson, yellow, russet, bronze, and brown – feasts to my senses. I’d rather take in the smells – wood burning in a fireplace - the house toasty nearby, pungent whiffs of molding, rotting leaves that remind me of childhood, and myriad smells of breakfast escaping the confines of kitchens somewhere – bacon, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin spice, brewing coffee, fresh bread. Ah! So yes, I’d rather consign my reverence to the outdoors; it refreshes me and reminds me of a few things that make the world more beautiful. These daily respites, my walks – not only on Sundays – keep me grounded and give me peace amid a society that is sadly wrought with wickedness. And that brings me back to sin.

            I doubt few folks have escaped learning about the seven deadly sins – cardinal sins, capital sins – that, if not careful, can plague any living, breathing soul. Need a reminder? They are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride, not necessarily listed in order of weight or potency. Every single transgression has the power to cause pain, has the strength to harm, to damage, to wound, to defame, and each has touched us all. It’s true and depending on the giver or receiver some folks have been affected to a greater degree than others. I want to believe that most human beings sin in moderation. They don’t hurt themselves or others intentionally. Sometimes a stinking little sin will sneak out though, and when that happens, most of us have the ability to say, “I’m sorry.” We learn to clean up the mess, to make “things” right again, to learn our lessons. That is not always the case, however.

            I won’t name names. I don’t need to do that. Any person who has read this far can think of one . . . two . . . damn, a whole slew of famous and infamous individuals who literally wallow in the seven deadly sins, some floundering up to their eyeballs. And there’s no stopping them. Many are so caught up in the need for power and control that they have lost sight of what they are doing – or maybe not; fact is, quite likely they never had a clue that a difference in right and wrong existed in the first place. I doubt if a thousand visits to a house of worship, not to mention a few walks in the woods, could change these offenders’ ways of thinking, of living, of abusing, or of creating grief, pain, and chaos wherever they go. It’s simply not in their DNA. Is there an answer, a solution to combating such cardinal sinners? Maybe, though I am skeptical.

            For anyone who holds hope as a means to an end, I pray he or she is correct. Finding faith in hope is admirable indeed though I must be honest: my advocacy waivers. The notion of hope and faith facing off with grave sinners gave me rare pause today, however, so I decided to share my thinking. Afterall, it is Sunday.




Saturday, November 12, 2022

 I Can’t Feel My Heart 


I have had this quotation - “I can’t feel my heart.” -  scrawled on a post-it note, pasted to my desk beneath my computer for a very long time. I keep going back to it. The words were spoken by a child, and I doubt many folks could find a better way to describe absolute angst and complete anguish over being treated unfairly. It is likely the words were not spoken in English; more likely they were uttered through tears in Spanish. The child? I don’t know. 

Where this little urchin is now is a mystery. He could be anywhere – with strangers, alone still, incarcerated in a facility, with an unfamiliar family member, or hopefully with Mama or Papa at last. His plaintive words were overheard at a border detention center some years ago . . . and they have stuck with me. My upbringing probably plays a role.

I grew up in a home whose parents sought religion as a refuge. When a Southern Baptist mother and a Roman Catholic father meet and marry, well, one can imagine the result. It was a bit confusing. My brother and I followed orders and attended Severns Valley Baptist Church when we were instructed to do so. The result of our religious background caused two uncertain young adults to choose different spiritual paths – he to follow the beliefs of another religion, and me to no religion at all other than a silent, reverent, spiritual bent that charges that I do no intentional harm to myself or anyone one else who crosses my path. And that notion brings me back to the sad child who could not feel his heart. 

            When I recall “religion”, two brief phrases always have stuck with me, probably because my mother touted them over and over. The first, “Be ye kind.” The second was “Do unto others as you would have done unto to you.” It’s pretty basic actually. I believed those words then and I do now. I don’t have to attend church or be a part of an organized religion to know that my mother was correct. So, who in some random part of our country, had the right to be so unkind, to cause a little kid to cry out, “I can’t feel my heart.”? And more to the point, why?

            I sound na├»ve, I suppose, but as I have watched recent events play out on the news, incidents that surely have perpetuated pain and uncertainty among fellow human beings - children and adults - I have thought back on those words, “I can’t feel my heart.” I realize that the need some individuals have for power and control plays into tragic scenarios that occur in our world over and over again. How I wish I could change the thinking of a few people. I can’t though. That is a fact. 

            What I can do, is my tiny part. Compassion, respect, and kindness are fundamental it seems to me, but clearly others think differently. It’s a shame, really, because why on God’s Earth would anyone want to make a child sad enough to say his heart hurts, or that he can't feel it at all?




Wednesday, October 26, 2022


         /noiz/ a sound, especially one that is loud or unpleasant or that causes disturbance


I am compelled to write about noise today. The house on the hill just beyond our property has been undergoing renovation for the past year - the whole, past damned year. Every day, we are subjected to hammering, jackhammering, sawing, generators roaring, tractors rumbling, trees being chain sawed down, and woodchippers chopping the wood into pulp. That’s not to mention the deafening sound of myriad heavy items being tossed into huge metal trash containers day, after day, after day. Kaboom! 

Oh, and the music. If one doesn’t like country, she’s out of luck. And the fact of the matter is, I do like country music – some of it – but not so loud the band may as well be parked in my living room. I’ve already offered my two cents to the workers about that one. “Hey,” I yelled over the fence the first week they were working. “Enough already. Turn the  music down. Play it but keep it at a respectable volume for heaven’s sake!” (No, I did not curse, and I did not flip off one single soul although I thought about it.) 

I have a headache. I tried to read for a bit this afternoon but couldn’t concentrate . . . and the book I am reading is Violeta by Isabel Allende, one my favorite writers who generally pulls me in at the first word. Every time I latched onto a sentence today though and began following the author’s drift, I heard another racket. I don’t generally become upset about minor inconveniences, but this is just too much. So, I decided to write about it . . . not that writing will do any good other than to let me vent without taking my frustration out on the workers who, despite their noisiness are just doing their jobs.

The folks who bought the house behind us paid $1.73 million dollars for a house they’ve had gutted and are virtually rebuilding from the shell up. They’ll have a least another million into the project, I am sure. And that’s fine. I hope when the little family settles in at some time in the distant future they’ll be decent neighbors. Right now, however, I have my doubts. 

I’m generally a quiet person, an introvert, a reader, and a writer, who enjoys alone time, who is willing to tolerate the normal, ambient sounds of the household. Nothing more. Unless I am in a place that is appropriately noisy, such as a Warriors game or Giants game, I prefer the sound of silence. Loud voices, blaring televisions, uproarious events have a place I suppose, but I can do without them. But that’s just me.

While I was writing this piece, the noise next door quieted for a time. “Maybe I can fit in a short power nap,” I thought briefly. No luck, the machinery is at full volume again. My ears hurt.

I am well aware that excessive noise can result in anxiety, irritability, distress, and exhaustion. It’s a fact because I have felt those emotions this afternoon. And you know what? Nobody cares. The workers don’t, the owners don’t, and my readers probably don’t either, unless of course, they can relate. With this final rant then, I will stop complaining.

Time to fight fire with fire. I’m going to crank up the weed blower and blow down the driveway. Maybe. Or I’ll take a drive. Or hit something – just kidding! I do have a sense of control but thank goodness for writing. It’s a life saver, perhaps for more than only me.






Friday, October 21, 2022

It’s About Time                                                               


I’ve been thinking about time lately. Do we waste it, use it, spend it, measure it, or fritter it away? Does time fly or does it stand still? For me, time tends to fly by – hours, days, years. Where does it go? Indeed, where did it go? Does time simply disappear? Once it’s behind us, is it gone forever? Perhaps not. For haven’t we all said at one time or another, “Remember that time?”

And think about it. We all have had memorable summer times, winter times, lunchtimes, playtimes, bedtimes, and night times we hold dear . . . or, in some cases, want to forget. In a lifetime, I will never be able to recall every moment that has sped by, but sometimes I like to contemplate times gone by. It is in those downtimes that I remember, sometimes with joy in my heart and other times with pain so deep it hurts. So, in that regard, I suppose time basically becomes part of who we are, and it does stand still.

In a moment of pure frivolous speculation, I wondered a day or two ago about how much time I have spent walking down the street with my two German Shepherds carrying green plastic bags filled with dog poop. We walk two or three miles a day, so one can imagine. And how many minutes have I stared at my iPhone playing Words With Friends with folks I don’t even know? And what about staring at the clock ticking seconds down on the microwave while the leftover pizza is heating? Is it absurd to think, during those minutes, about life passing by, just like that? How many hours have I spent putting on mascara, primping, or glowering at a newly discovered line beneath my left eye? How many times have I waited through a halftime, or breathlessly anticipated an overtime when my team can still pull out a win and I can celebrate an uproarious uptime? How many minutes of time have I spent in bumper to bumper traffic, in a grocery store line, at the doctor's office . . . waiting, waiting? And at night, when sleep has evaded, how often have I wished time would simply get on with it so I can start a new day? Finally, I can't even imagine how many hours of contented time I have spent at my computer writing, creating, imagining, and writing more. Now that's a happy time.

I actually looked up the dictionary definition of time: the indefinite, continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. Thank you Mr. Oxford. It is timely that I read this because it influences my writing. I plan to capture and schedule elusive time to revamp my blog that has been sorely neglective during the time of Covid and political darkness that unfortunately seems timeless. I hope any reader enjoys reading this blog and will anticipate future ones, for at this point, I have timed out.