Saturday, June 30, 2007

And they danced

Last weekend was wonderful. I attended a surprise party for my dear friends who were celebrating a variety of occasions, including their 30th anniversary. I had been at their wedding, so it was a reminder to me as well of the passage of time.

My favorite moment was when they and their married guests danced together. I love watching people dance slow dances who know each other's dancing moves -- however basic those moves are. I love the way the movements fit, unawkwardly, how the arms know where to go, how the feet know how to move. Some couples have danced so much through the years that they have these little dips and swirls that they do, or the woman has a special way she crooks her fingers around the man's hand, or up against the back of his neck. The man's hand on her back is just so - leading from a familiar curve in her back.

It is easy to tell who has been together for a while. Those are the couples who just glide into place next to each other's bodies, so unselfconsciously and simply.

I watched my friend, whom I have known since we were five, dance with her husband. I saw how proud of her he is, and how happy with him she is. I watched her rest her face gently for a few moments in the familiar hollow of his shoulder. I found myself crying, weeping big tears of happiness for them, for her.

So often we hear the stories of love that didn't last, the sadness of divorce, and in honesty I can tell some of those tales about my own life. But here is my friend, who has made it across the finish line. Husband. Children. A life not without struggle, but not without love and joy either. I watched this woman dance in the arms of her husband, in the midst of a family that loves them, friends that love them, and it was all I could do to not stand up and cheer.

This little freckle-faced girl who has been in my life for almost all of it is now a woman fully grown and even more beautiful in the moment of her celebration. My heart burst with happiness for her.

It is a joy to just be around such fine folks, watching them dance, watching her rest her face gently against his shoulder as he smiles.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Still searching

Well, I am still in the hunt for a house. What I seek is simple -- it is just hard to find in the area that I am looking. It's out there, but not for sale. There have been a few "almosts" lately, so I am feeling a bit encouraged. But it is an odd market, and realtors who list homes really do "gild the lily" when writing their descriptions and taking pictures. "Lovely home" forgets to mention that it surrounded on three sides by ugly apartment buildings. "Vintage bungalow" doesn't mention that there is a 6 inch slant in the kitchen floor. Or other things are omitted like "city is scheduled to put sidewalks on this land", or that the cellar smells like deep mold, or that unless you were a 4 foot tall person you could not walk upright in the cellar, or that the two upstairs bedrooms were only for use by small children, or that someone has put up all new ceilings and chose a design with sparkles in it so the ceilings all look like the ceilings in bad Tiki Bars, or that the prior owner seemed to have had many more cats than litter boxes (gag!).

I just want a simple house, more than 1200sqft with the bulk of it on the main floor. Kitchen, living room, dining room or discrete dining area, three bedrooms. Room for a dog in a yard big enough to be fenced in if not fenced already. Garage or room to set up a carport without destroying the house's sight-lines. No leaks in basement so I can store things without worry.

So I will just keep praying and hoping and looking. My favorite listing this weekend-- which only shows how utterly mad the market is, was for a house I had no intention of seeing. Here is a description from this $127,000 home - quite a bargain!
"1930's stucco, wrap around porch, kit, droom, 3bdr, flplce in lroom. Upstairs had waterpipe burst. Extensive damage to hardwood floor, plaster and ceiling on both floors. Damage through to basement. Severe black mold. Require signed medical health waiver before showing home." These people have to be nuts.

Friday, June 08, 2007

New attitude

How on earth can you stand listening to me whine like I have been? I am blocked -- I am mired down -- I am depressed -- blah blah blah. Yes, all those things are true -- I have been struggling lately, and still am. But I don't need to burden everything I touch and every breath I breathe with what is not going well.

I am about to leave for "Up North" and am packing up-tempo CDs to listen to in the car -- and I plan to pray out a lot of gratitude to God on the way. How many people in the world would be delighted to have problems as trivial as mine? Millions, that is how many.

So it is time to just gird my aging loins and push through this time with positive action. Indulging the blues is just not getting me anywhere. Besides, it's like forgetting to be thankful for all the goodness that is in my life.

I am driving a comfy (thank you) paid-for (thank you) late model good-with-gas-mileage (thank you) car to a place I love (thank you) where I plan to buy my first home (thank you) and will be staying with friends (Thank you). While there I will see my 85 year old cousin Ida whom I love (thank you. I am meeting with the appraiser because I own things of value to have apppraised (thank you). I will return to my comfortable apartment (thank you) where the rent is paid (thank you) and I have a lovely landlady (thank you). And that is just the tip of my gratitude mountain.

Anyway, feel free to kick my buns into thankfulness whenever you see me indulging them.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Offering up the inertia

Today I spent trying to get things accomplished and offering up my enormous inertia to God. I will be looking at some houses this weekend and meeting with an appraiser who will be looking at some of Mom's antiques. I am amazed at the level of inertia in my life, however -- it feels like I could offer it up in giant pails forever.

Of course, we are at the edge of Father's Day, which is a rough day for me...given the fact that my father is not only dead, but while he lived was psychologically and emotionally abusive. So I am guessing that some of my ennui is being stuck in some old memories that I don't want to dredge up.

Looks like dredging is the answer. I may have a long talk with myself on the ride up north this weekend. I'll need an emotional backhoe.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Stuck in the Big Muddy

Sorry I have not posted much here lately. I promise to do better. I have just felt so stuck lately. I have plans for a new income stream, buying a new home, moving, etc. And nothing seems to be unfurling as it should, or as it might. I have prayed myself to the nubs about this, and have ended up stuck and blue. I am heading back up to look at houses this weekend. Please hold me in your prayers, as this feeling of inertia has me blue as indigo.

Oh I know all the right phrases -- I know maybe God isn't ready yet -- or that the 'right' house will someday magically appear -- and that God listens to the sparrow, etc ...and I know all about the lilies of the field. I have written gratitude lists and I know that I have a lot to be thankful for.

And I still feel stuck and depressed.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

A New Holiday (I just created it myself!)

I have no authority to create a holiday, but if I did, this weekend would be "The Celebration of Small Joys".

Though we are all beset and besieged, though we all have deep obligations and each bear our share of suffering and pain -- the truth is there is always something, however small, to celebrate.

During this weekend of "The Celebration of Small Joys", everyone would look forward to finding and honoring the small treasures in their lives -- the joys we often overlook in passing, in the hurry of our lives -- the way you feel when your child smiles, the glint of sunlight on morning dew, the tingle on your taste buds when you drink orange juice.

There are so many wonderful tiny elements in a day - the feel of talcum after a shower, climbing into a bed with clean sheets after having taken a warm bath, the smell of floral soap, the scent of morning coffee, the way the butter looks as it melts on toast.

Celebrate the sudden little miracle of a shooting star, the coolness of water, a tugging at the memory by a familiar old song, the scent of new leather shoes, the ability to see or hear or feel or taste or touch.

All of these little joys circle us constantly. Yet we barely pause to acknowledge them. Except on this weekend, when the Small Joy is what we most welcome.

And in so doing, we will lift our focus and our energy into a new place.

I say this not as a Pollyanna, not in an attempt to avoid the tough things in life, but as a pragmatist who knows that our souls need to be fed to survive. Our spirits need the warm glow of joy even if only on the very tip edges in order to stay hopeful, to stay forward-moving.

So this weekend, find the joys -- find a way to honor them. As you encounter little joys, come here and help us all by listing them.

May you all have a joyful weekend.

Happy "Weekend of the Small Joys"!
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