My children watched a movie yesterday. It was one we'd seen before, so instead of snuggling in beside them, I went out to the kitchen to make bread. I could still hear it plainly. The tale was an old one, biblical in fact, about a boy and his colorful coat. I grew up hearing the story, but like much that's meant to enlighten, its more deeply layered meanings often escaped me as I got caught up in more obvious aspects. It was easy to appreciate the lessons about showing favoritism, Joseph's loyalty, his brothers' lack of it and their eventual comeuppance, the importance of forgiveness. As I listened from the kitchen, elbow-deep in dough, the movie reached the part where Joseph is languishing in prison from a crime he didn't commit. There were no words at that point, only music, but the scene still played out in my mind; Joseph nurturing a tiny seedling as he grows older and wiser, and it grows into a tree. (I don't remember those exact particulars in the biblical version, but the animated metaphor for faith was clear.) As the music played on a new thought came to me. What I hadn't considered before was that Joseph's gift of interpreting dreams sat dormant for a long, long time. As a youngster, he had used his gift in a self serving way to taunt his brothers. It took years to develop into something truly useful. He wasn't the "Prince of Dreams" all at once - there was a process of becoming, even when the situation seemed hopeless. Just like dough, our talents need a little leavening & nurturing, and a little punching down & time in the fire before they can rise up fully and become something truly wonderful.
A Matter of Taste
I can turn a blind eye to Christmas decorations that appear before Thanksgiving - I even saw some before Halloween this year! Complaining about them just to hear myself complain doesn't do anyone any good. Like I tell my family, "When you do the cooking, you get to decide what is on the menu." If someone else wants to rush headlong into the next season, who am I to tell them they can't? Since nothing is ever fully appreciated until it is remembered, maybe they just want to get on with that part of it!
My family likes to remind me that while I can try to get them to eat something that's not their favorite, if they would rather go hungry, it's up to them. Too true! Just because there is festive music on the radio, and elves and reindeer already on T.V., that doesn't mean I have to partake. As for me, I love variety. I want to take it slow, to relish each season for its unique flavor instead of stirring it all into an indistinguishable porridge of commercial sameness. To take a break in between rich courses, to get a little hungry for what is to come. Even steak and champagne get boring if its on the menu too often.
So, as one holiday ends and another ramps up, here is a little friendly suggestion to take time to savor the flavor of each. But..... it's your plate.
This Is Dedicated to the One I Love
Today marks 22 years. When this handsome man with a voice like warm honey first sang me his love song, I listened. And sang back. Our duet hasn't always been perfectly in tune. But with a lot of practice, it's pretty harmonious, and my favorite jam. After all of our years together, and adding five members to the band, when I wanted to jazz things up with a little counter melody (aka my writing career) he didn't even miss a beat.
So thank you, my love, for not letting me go solo! You're a Rock Star - rock on!
P.S. The other band members are gonna think these metaphors are so off-key! Too bad, cuz I'm your biggest fan.
There have been moments in my life that come close to heaven on earth. They're not what you might think. One, I vividly recall, was just after my husband went missing for several hours after he should have been home from work. I envisioned him lying in a ditch somewhere, and went into panic mode, but all that had actually happened was his work vehicle getting locked behind a gate of a backwoods area he was mapping soils in, and him having to walk several miles down a mountain to get to a phone. Later that evening I went for a walk. and as I returned up the driveway, there he was in the yard playing with the kids. In that moment, everything in my world was perfect.
More recently - last night, in fact - just sitting around the dinner table with my family brought on the same feeling. Today is the big feast at our friends' house, our yearly Thanksgiving tradition. But after the last few weeks of rollercoaster emotions, the simple act of sharing and ordinary meal with the people I love most was, for me anyhow, pure bliss. It really is the little things that matter most.
And for those, I give thanks.
Gimme Your Best Shot
Come on - you gotta try! Even if the world you're trying to bloom into is cold, hard and hostile.... you still gotta try. You've got beauty the rest of the world needs.
The Flip Side
Hands are meant for work. I'm a firm believer. When we stop reaching for handouts and do the work before us, we all prosper. Sometimes, the job isn't our preference - I hate washing pots-n-pans! - but, when I let go and open myself to what is, instead of what could be, I find contentment. It is said that only empty hands can receive. It may be that the only way to empty them is to finish the work at hand.
Reaching for Something
Always reaching. Sometimes I know what for, and other times even that eludes me....
“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
What are you reaching for?