Wednesday, March 28, 2012

There is a God… ask me how I personally know.

There is a God… ask me how I personally know.

When we approach the issue of God or someone starts throwing about religious vocabulary filled with what appears to be trite verbiage to the listener, critics of all kinds show up. And when Satan or the Devil is involved in the mix, it really brings out all the late night comedians.

The main question always posed early on is, “How do you know God even exists? Have you seen Him?” To which I would very quickly answer. “No.” So when asked the follow-up question always on the heels of the first question, “Then how can you say you know He exists? Maybe it is just a deep psychological need all of us have to create this Super Being always standing in the background ready to take on responsibility for all the unspoken or misunderstood questions of ‘why this or why that’ that all we humans have.

Questions that have been being asked for thousands of years. If you have any knowledge of the Bible and its references to peoples’ experiences of dealing with, if there is a God, the one I go to instantly is the story of the young man who was found in the temple by Jesus who had been blind from birth. Jesus heals his blindness on a day he least expected it and my, my, what a commotion it caused. I love how the rendition goes. Once the onlookers become aware of what just happened, the authorities, the current day religious leaders and even his parents are all called upon to get in on the discussion, his parents finally duh, they ask him. Every time I read this I still am amazed that it took so long for everyone involved to finally get smart enough to ask the right question to the right person.

This is where how I am feeling today bears witness to my blog sharing. I can see all eyes coming to rest on this young man. Who, probably while everyone was discussing and even arguing over who of them was right or wrong about who Jesus was or wasn’t or what did or did not happen, is simply ecstatic with his new sight. He then gives the absolute best and oh so completely appropriate answer. I love how he begins, “I have no idea who Jesus it. I don’t know how this happened or why it happened to me today, but the thing that I do know is this, I was blind and now I see!” I am sure everyone was waiting for some BIG mind-boggling oration riddled with impossible to understand technical jargon.

Oh, how I understand! I know my ‘blindness’. I know myself. No one knows me better than I do; no one but God. I know the dark places I have gone to. I know when I walked out of  those dark pace as if someone hit the pause button in my life and I walked a safe distance from whatever was happening in my life and the pause button was again pushed and everything continued on but without it effecting me. If you have further read the Bible, you know there were times Jesus was about to be in the midst of a stoning. Have you ever wondered how he just walked off? The stoners were ready; the crowd had not disbursed, nor the atmosphere of the moment disrupted by an ancient police squad with teargas. No, the pause button that was in effect for Jesus back then still is in effect today.

Again, I cannot reiterate enough that I know me. I know exactly what I can and cannot take. I know my emotional and physical threshold and yesterday it was once again tested. I had to go have an MRI of my right shoulder done. Not ever having been on the receiving end of this procedure I did have enough wits about me to request what they call an “open” MRI. Excuse me while I roll with laughter for a minute. OPEN???? What part of having a huge round padded (still laughing) disk slid within 4 inches of your face with only a very limited view of maybe six inches to the right or left of you would you consider open????

The minute this machine was moving toward my face cutting off the only movement of cool air in the room coming from the central air-conditioning, I knew what being buried alive must feel like. As my heart rate begin to instantly spike and my mind turned on me that had been my ally all morning telling me I could do this, I suddenly found myself alone on a cold metal table about to suffocate and finally succumb to the reality that I was about to cross my threshold of sanity.

As my left hand began to raise up off the table to begin scratching madly at the air and this disk that had so quickly covered me from the top of head to about my waist, and knowing what fear taste like, something happened.

This God that I have lived with for 40 years once again hit the pause button for me. Did the machine stop? No. Did the sound liken to someone beating a drum like dripping water in the middle of my head that was accompanying this live burial stop? No. Did the technician all of a sudden do or say something that came to my aid?  No. God factored Himself into my circumstances in the form of a Bible story I have read over and over. I saw this young man step out of a long ago era, peer into the small space between me and life, as I know it, about to leave me and said, “I understand.”

All of a sudden I found myself experiencing that liberating pause button that only God can press. I closed my eyes, my breathing instantly relaxed, my hand went back down to my side, and a cool stream of air miraculously found me in that cramped space.

Forty minutes later after intermitting 6, 7, or 8 minutes in length of drum beating sounds, that hovering padded disk firmly overhead, unable to move any of the body parts that I am used to readjusting due to pain or stiffness throughout my day at my discretion I emerged like an observer of my own life.

So, I’ve been asking myself since yesterday, what again would I say to anyone who asked me, “Yeah, but how do you really know that God exists?” I have yet another ‘blind’ understanding. I did not just summon up some inner strength or mind over matter or positive thinking strategy. If that is the case then I have a latent duel personality just waiting for the bus to the funny farm.

And that is what I think it comes down to for all of us. It doesn’t matter what theology says, what the day’s authorities think they know, what religious tradition or teachings claim or don’t claim, or even what you put off believing in your own heart about who God is because believing in Him might change you forever . . . it’s the things that you know, that you know, that you know, that you don’t know how you know them or why they happen or didn’t happen, they just did in that personally experienced ‘pause’ of your life.

So, even when I find myself in those personal moments when I am my own accuser of why I believe what I believe, I know me. And no one, not even myself on those questionable days life brings to all of us can I help but say, “All I know is, once I was blind, or in this case about to go crazy and make a total fool of myself, and here I am.” Restored once again and in as right a mind as possible for me. You’ll have to excuse me as I must pause right here to give thanks to the God that I know exists.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today life is just a bowl of Potpourri…

Today life is just a bowl of Potpourri…

Several things are going on in my world right now, some good, some not so good. One thing I have learned is that whatever it is, somehow it all works together for my good. .

Potpourri fragrance of the day # 1

The writing class ended yesterday and everyone was gracious in being sure to ask me if I was coming back, seeing that I was one of the ‘new kids’ on the block. But the best thing was being handed the finished product of the class. A soft cover book is constructed by compiling a contribution from each attendee.

It is our choice as to which of the prompts we submit. I could not help but use, Mom’s, Gone with the Wind. Opening this small collection of each individual’s personal memories and finding my tribute to Carol Follett October 25, 1923- July 29, 2003 seemed fitting to her life and times.

I can just hear her now, “Ooh, let me see. Let me see.” She would think she had just made the President’s Christmas card list. It gives me a satisfaction and joy that I cannot really express to know that she is being honored in the reading of a small, yet wonderful part of her life.

Potpourri fragrance of the day # 2

This past weekend was a hard one. Physically, my osteoarthritis afflicted left knee flared up and I guess in sympathy, my right shoulder joined in the campaign. It was like having a toothache simultaneously in both spots. A lot of rubbing, moaning, hot showers, pain pills and heating pad episodes. Luckily, Monday afforded me an already scheduled doctor appointment. Upon seeing the fix I was in, she sent me instantly to an Orthopedic doctor right down the road from her office. Four x-rays, an examination and two cortisone shots later I limped my way back to my chair, a cup of coffee and a deep-sleep napping session that lasted on and off all day. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Potpourri fragrance of the day # 3

The bird –yes, or should I say ‘a’ bird and me are going to come to blows if it doesn’t find a new tree to do its two-hour chirping session in each morning starting at 3 am. My physical condition is the only thing that has saved me from scaling the porch railing, climbing into the tree, finding, strangling and plucking every feather off its scrawny little bird body. Unbelievable as it seems to me, this same bird is back again this year. Like clock work at exactly 3:05 am it starts. Now mind you, it isn’t a sweet little ‘chirpy chirp’, it is a four part chir-ER-ER-ptt-ptt-eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee thing that it does. Over and over and over and over and over and over and . . . . for two solid hours right out my bedroom window. Unbelievable! So, being creative, I bought an Owl. I now have an Owl statue glued and tied to my porch railing. I could hardly wait for 3:05 am to come the next morning. Sure enough, The bird makes its presence known and starts chirping. 1 chirp, 2 chirps, 3 chirps, 4 chirps, 5 chirps, . . .  257 plus chirps later, three curtain shaking rampages, four trips out on the porch, five taped Owl hoots played (yes I recorded an owl hoot) I finally came to this decision, there is at least one bird in Ohio who isn’t afraid of an owl and I now have that owl firmly glued to the rail on my porch which seems to be encouraging a nightly visit from its new best friend. All I can say is thank God the owl just sits there – quiet.

Potpourri fragrance of the day # 4

On the writing front, I am highly motivated now after taking my teapots to the writing class and receiving such overwhelming encouragement to start a story about them have started, Miss Dots and the Timely Teapots.  And as I mentioned in a recent post about doing something different from the same-ole-same-ole, I am going to set up a storyboard/outline to see where these whimsical characters are going to take me.

So all in all, my basket of potpourri today has a mixture that I think all of life needs –balance. Not to mention, coffee, toast with jam, the bird off doing whatever it is birds do, something creative to exercise my mind, and almost being pain free. Plus my new pet glued to the porch, I think I’ll call him –He who doesn’t give a Hoot.

       "You wanna be friends, little bird?"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Final writing class….

Final writing class….
 I am really going to hate to see this class end. I started it for one reason and I found so many other reasons to rejoin the Spring class. This final writing prompt was to describe ourselves without adding our name to the paper. They will we distributed and read by someone other than ourselves during the class and we have to see if we can identify who the person is. Of course as writing goes, everyone has there own style of writing and as one class member noted, she cannot keep a straight face so it is going to be hard for her to not give herself away.

This will be my final contribution to this class. I am seriously thinking about joining again.
Catch me if you can
They say you cannot go back, but in this case I am going back to the first day of this class. I decided to apply the cluster method to see if I could pinpoint some word, place, or action I had not mentioned.

 I thought about all the ways in which I’ve traveled. I’ve been in a baby buggy, on roller skates, and a bicycle. I ridden/driven a car, a truck, a motorcycle, an old time humped-backed black taxi, and driven a tractor and a four wheeler. I’ve been in a boat, both big and small. I flown in a plane both commercial and private, but never a rocket or a helicopter and hope I never do.

I began to think about all the places I had lived. Seven states in all and traveled to another country but never lived there. Then it hit me, my Alaska! Alaska had been my dream for years. I envisioned its rugged landscape enfolding around me and swallowing me up in its vastness. I’d become a speck on a speck there. I’d forge my world out of the woodlands and blend in with nature. I’d be clothed in the skins of the animals I’d hunt and feast off their roasted, baked or broiled flesh. I’d savor every bite of wild berries and relish in the long summer fruits . . . Whoa! Wait a minute! Hold on!

Yes, Alaska was and will always remain as one of those thoughts planted in the reserves of my mind and heart where it will remain untouched or tainted. But the reality is that after visiting and standing in Alaska’s breathtaking five dimensional wonderland, breathing the pristine crisp air and feeling dwarfed by its mass, I came home to either have to summon up the courage to throw all caution to the wind and move there without a foothold or even a place to start or forever let Alaska be that everlasting dream.

I learned over the years that courting dreams are like courting a mate. The list of desires or deal breakers varies from person to person and asking others for their input is a ridiculous thing to do. It muddies the waters of love and dreams get washed away in the landside of human differences.

But Alaska gave me something I did not expect. It gave me one of life’s impossible moments that come when you least expect them. As our plane was departing Alaska the pilot came on narrating one last time the highlights of Alaska’s rocky terrain. As the plane made its final bank to the left Mount McKinley in the Denali Valley appeared in plain sight out my side of the plane. I had two last exposures in the disposable 35 mm camera I had brought with me, so I lined the camera up at my left shoulder in the cramped space of my seat by the window and clicked it once, and then for the last time hoping for whatever I might capture of this majestic mountain as I left my dreamland. Thinking that what I’d probably end up with would be a glossy 3x5 snapshot of the plane’s left wing.

As one often does in life I settled back into my daily routines letting them override the excitement of my trip and the 35 mm camera lay undeveloped for weeks. When I finally had the pictures developed, I was once again transported back to Alaska and beyond.

The last two pictures not only caught my immediate attention, but the strings of my heart. I could not believe what my hastily taken unfocused picture-snapping-act had afforded me. I had been to the top of Mount McKinley! My eyes had seen its majestic peak! I joined the ranks of mountain climbers who have seen this very same spot. Me, a nobody in the climbing community, a couch-peach, captured not only in life but forever on film the top of a mountain that stands thousands of miles away, that never knew I was coming, that had been forged out of hundreds of thousands of years of wind and rain, sunshine and violent storms.

Every time I look at these pictures I am so amazed. In looking back if someone asked you, “what was the most amazing thing you ever ended up doing that you never dreamed you’d do?” What would it be? For me it was looking upon the top of a mountain that I did not have to exert one bit of strength in making the climb. And yet I too, have been to the top of the mountain; A mountain that is standing this very moment in time maybe being bathed by sunlight or enduring another harsh storm that is reshaping its massive formation. Perhaps even now someone is being rewarded by their physical endurance and has reached its peak and is rejoicing in the magnificent view.

The same view that you now hold in your hands and I saw with my very own eyes. Hopefully these pictures will teach us all the lesson hidden within them, you never know when something quite unexpected will happen and become a lasting memory.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It’s bubble bursting Monday . . . .

It’s bubble bursting Monday . . . .

     This post might be jumbled because there are so many things running through my mind. I am going to try and start with what woke me up this morning. Doing something different today. Somewhere at the beginning of the year I read an encouragement to do something out of the ordinary. Something you would not naturally do. Two things, small things, but yet things I realized I did not do in my life were, to make something for myself and in writing, make an outline first. UGH!
     I hated outlines in school; I thought they were a total waste of time. But I am giving this some thought with a couple of my books. In doing this, I realized that I start with an inspirational thought and take off like a bullet and usually get half to three-quarters through and . . . fizz! Where am I going with this? So I am going to sit the next couple of days and storyboard these two books.
     One of them came to me through one of the prompts for the writing class I am taking. It was, “what is your favorite possession? And if possible bring it to class.” Mine, without a doubt, after being told of course that we could not name family or pets… is something my son gave me, a tea set. I LOVE THIS GIFT. It has given me countless hours of happiness. And it has triggered my quirky imagination. As I read my paper to the class and showed them my ‘cuties’ (see picture below) I did so with animation and their participation. In other words I brought them with me and let them talk to the class. They all said I should bring them alive in a book. So that is one thought that is whirling around in my head.
     The other thing I am in the process of doing differently is I am making myself one of the memory plates. This has been a challenge. I keep asking myself why. But I have forged ahead and now that empty spot on my table beside me is no longer vacant. I filled my plate with pictures of five of my closest friends and all the things I shared with each one of them. I added autumn leaves, and will find three other things that I personally love, pumpkins, roosters and hens and books. I can do this in time, because this one isn’t going anywhere. It’s mine. Something I have not ever said while making a craft. They always start out with the intention of being for someone else.
     While making this one another major thought came to the surface. While trying to avoid leaving brush marks in the sealer, I switched to a sponge brush. It did not leave brush marks, it left bubbles! As it dried all I could see were hundreds of tiny bubbles making the plate look rough. For days I wondered what I could do to fix it. All I saw every time I looked at it were the bubbles, the mistake. I completely lost sight of my pictures in the middle, all five friends and all the things I have loved about them and my own personal loves.
     The bubbles became the focus of my plate. Then yesterday, when I glanced at it while feeling a little lonely it wasn’t the bubbles I needed or even wanted to look at. I looked past them to the faces and objects of these five friends I have had throughout my life and everything my eyes fell across brought back memories of just why we had been friends. All the laughter with Marie, Christmas projects, and all the baking we did. Raising our kids with Gerri. Going through common struggles and supporting one another with sometimes nothing more than a word.
     Learning to accept things with Hope. Seeing the difference in our relationship and finding so many things we would have lost if we had let those differences separate us. With Linda all the love and patience and kindness we each had to help each other nurture in our common impatient and sometimes critical personalities. We were each other’s testing ground and then going through losing her to cancer. And understanding what unconditional love is like with Teresa. Fishing, fishing and fishing. Spontaneous four-wheeler rides at midnight to ‘spot deer with a high beamed flashlight’. Driving on back roads just to see where they go. Not feeling so alone. And taking the challenge to do things I never thought I could.
     I don’t know what your ‘bubbles’ are, but we all have them. And usually in light of the whole picture they are often small and insignificant like the tiny bubbles on my plate. I don’t care about them being there; in fact I am glad it happened. It woke up something in me that is going to strengthen each new day.
     I don’t care about the bubbles any more. So what? Really . . . ask yourself, so what? Who really cares? So there are bubbles and the plate has some flaws. How wrong I would be to let those bubbles override all the happiness and joy I had with these five friends. If they were all here right now I am sure they’d want to know they meant more to me than a few bubbles and ask me why I couldn’t look past the bubbles to what the plate really represents in my life.These friends were people who did not make bubbles in my life. I am through with people like that.
     So today rather than saying, “don’t let me burst your bubble”, I am hoping to burst a few bubbles for you today and gave you the freedom to say, “Who cares?”; So your life has a few bubbles or a lot of bubbles, so does mine. I am sure there will be people who look at this plate and they will instantly see the craftsmanship of it is flawed with all the bubbles and miss all the good stuff on it because they can’t get past my bubbles. And amazingly enough, I’ll be able to say, “What bubbles? I don’t see any bubbles.”

Aren't these just the cuties things you have ever seen?

What wonderful memories . . . for me!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Rose by any other name might have been . . .

A Rose by any other name might have been . . . Esmeralda

This week's writing prompt was about our name.

I believe that a person’s name is very very important.  Names in the Bible carried significant meaning so naming a new child wasn’t to be taken lightly. When I think about it, it is the first thing that you own in this world. As I began to enter my school years I learned even more the importance of a name. Children are often very cruel. Many times a fellow student got tagged with a hurtful name out of the blue. Brought on by some odd event in the day, an action gone wrong, or an article of clothing the wrong color or style and that kid was forever known as Frog Face, Looser, or Pinky Girl, or in my case, Porky pig and Big Bertha. I learned early in life how to avoid kids who held a potential name calling episode.

Some times adults aren’t much better. Apparently countries have restrictions on naming your child. In Germany, you must be able to tell the gender of the child by the first name, and the name chosen must not negatively affect the well being of the child. Also, you can not use last names or the names of objects or products as first names. In Sweden non-noble families are prevented from giving their children noble names. Denmark’s very strict Law on Personal Names is in place to protect children from having odd names that suit their parents’ fancy. To do this, parents can choose from a list of only 7,000 pre-approved names, some for girls, and some for boys. If you want to name your child something that isn’t on the list, you have to get special permission from your local church and pay a fee. New Zealand doesn’t allow people to name their children anything that “might cause offence to a reasonable person; or is unreasonably long. Most new babies in China are now basically required to be named based on the ability of computer scanners to read those names on national identification cards.

So, in light of all that I guess when the time came for me to enter this world it wasn’t that strange for my parents to wait until they saw me to name me. Of course, with the prior knowledge of my father not even wanting another child it is a wonder I got a name at all. The story passed on to me in bits and pieces goes as follows.

Once it was evident that I was a girl, all the boy names were out. Along with being pretty exhausted from the long pregnancy, delivery and evident dissatisfaction toward her for not producing him a son, my dear mother had to yet again fight to have a say in naming me.

After being all but trotted along side the car to induce her labor by the New Year in order to reap all the First Baby of the New Year gifts that were given back then, I remained a hold out way past Christmas, the New Year Sweepstakes and then five days into 1949. By then I am sure my father was even more convinced, what is the purpose. But On January 5, 1949 late one evening, – baby girl, arrived.

My father had gone down to the nearest pool hall to wallow in his misfortune, spend his last twenty-five cents on a beer and a game of pool. So after being held by my mother, it was told that when the nurse came out, she handed me to mom’s father.

I not sure but I think something was said about babies having to be named before they left the hospital. Mom said for the next three days the conversation went like this. Being the ‘right’ thing to do, i.e. passing on family names, using God parent’s names or carrying on the Sr. or Jr. I or II or III’d tag, all being proper procedure, these names began to surface.

Mom had won the battle when my sister was born with getting out of the Big Carol and Little Carol war. Although my sister did carry Mom’s first name Carol, Pamelia was added and she went by her second name, Pam.

So for me the two grandmother names were up for grabs. Susie Eleanor, Mom’s mother’s name, or Lilly May, on the other side. And just to sweeten the pot seeing that there had been the possibility of me being a Christmas baby, Holly had been thrown in the mix.

Would it be Susie, Lilly? Susie May, Eleanor Lilly, or Holly Lilly? Ah, and the winner is . . . Susan May, with a ‘y’. I guess in all retrospect not getting officially named Susie, which I have never liked and not having to explain too often why the month of May when in fact I was born in January.. I have come to laughingly appreciate the fact that Holly Lilly did not stick. If you say it three times fast a vision of a shapely Hula dancer with flowers in her hair or one of those fruity tropical drinks adorned with a little paper umbrella flashes into mind.

For years I wished I’d been named Susanna. It just rolls off one’s tongue.  It always sounded more endearing, mysterious, embodying a waiflike of a golden-haired girl in a long fluttering blue robin’s egg colored dress skipping in a field of sun drenched daisies tossing her wide brimmed hat into the air above her head with not a care in the world.  Okay, so a girl can dream, can’t she?

A friend some years back decided he would call me, Suz. I liked it, but he was the only one who used it.  Because most people could not pronounce it other than what they saw, and Susie was always said. Ugh . . .So, Susan May it is. Although my last name changed twice, I have arrived back at my beginning, back to the very first thing that was truly mine upon entering this world and the only thing I will take out of this world until my Heavenly Father gives me my new everlasting name that I will be known by forever.

Maybe because in the Word it says that “I am the apple of his eye” I’ll be called His Favorite . . . although it also says, “He who sits in the Heavens laughs” it could be Macintosh or Golden Delicious! I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Until Death Do Us Part

Until Death Do Us Part

This is a very identifiable phrase. Millions upon millions have recited it. I have myself. Admittedly, I did not live out that vow. Very few do nowadays.  So if we are fortunate enough to find two individuals who are going to make it to that kind of parting I think they should be honored.

The class that I am taking is becoming more and more rewarding in many ways. There are approximately 22 enrolled and on an average we have been having at least 19 in each class. Discussions are good and the writing ranges from soup to nuts. There is one male among all us females. Of course with his personality he thrives on the doting attention.

His lovely wife escorts him in each week. I am not certain how he lost his eyesight, but he has so he needs that gentle hand to guide him. Once his coat is removed and his walker positioned out of the way, his wife of 56 years pats his shoulder, and tells him to enjoy his class. A quick peck on the forehead, a last minute squeeze of her hand by him and off she goes.

He sits nested among chattering females and when he raises his hand to get a word in edgewise, it is often added wit with an obvious sense of humor. All the ladies cannot get to him fast enough during the break to bring coffee and refreshments. He eats up both.

Usually in the last ten minutes of the class his wife will return and I cannot take my eyes off their interaction. I miss some of the last conversations because of the attraction to their outward love for one another. She often catches me watching them, or should I say staring at them. She smiles and I feel like I am family.

You have seen this couple hundreds of times. She is about an inch or two taller than him and has that nice little round-lady build.  Blonde permed or naturally curly hair usually pinned up, glasses and always bright red lips. He is smaller in stature, making you wonder how the difference in their height was never a problem to them throughout the years. Marrying a shorter man is usually not something women choose to do.

Once she settles beside him they simultaneously reach for one another’s hand. It is like clockwork. Their fingers intertwine and unbeknownst to him, (or maybe not) she looks into his face. He of course doesn’t see her appreciative smile. But I am sure he knows she is doing it.

I could not help myself from asking them when there was an opportunity in the class to do so, if I could ask them a personal question. I am sure it was one they get all the time. What did they think was the key to their successful marriage? Again, together as if they knew what the other was thinking, they each gave a little laugh. She candidly told us that they had their ups and downs like most married couples but they worked them out. It never was an option not to. They both added ‘patience’, lots of patience.

Then he added the truth about what was the real cementing factor. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever met. He loved her from the start. She was and still is the most beautiful bride he had ever seen.

You could feel the hush in the room. His words were genuine. Not contrived or flattering or meant to be impressive. They were true. Heartfelt. Honest. It makes you wonder what the other one will do when the, until death do us part, component of their vows comes calling.

Their marriage is so real that it almost seems impossible. It is not a marriage of convenience or torture as some are today. Staying together to just annoy one another or because couples have been together too long and their lives too invested to go through the pain and inconvenience of separating. But in those cases there is no, ‘marriage’. Not like these two lovely souls. There is not a hint of sarcasm. No innuendos when one speaks of the other. No detectable unspoken undercurrent.

There are undercurrents though. You feel that love. Your sensory factors let you know that it is genuine. There is an acceptance, and a trust between them that has come with endurance. Their union says, this person will not hurt me I do not just feel safe with them, I know that I am safe with them. They are so comfortable in each others presence that it makes the room feel comfortable.

I hate for the class to end. I try to follow them out of the building to get one last bit of conversation and to observe the simple interaction of helping into the car. She does this as though it isn’t a chore and as he slides into the seat his face beams with appreciation. You know they have to have done this a thousand times and as you watch it looks at though it is their first date.

I cannot help but remark to her how extraordinary their love looks. She smiles and says, “We know each other pretty well. And you do what has to be done.” There is no frustration or begrudging in her voice. It’s complete dedication to him. And his outward noting of what he knows she does for him is marked with that appreciative smile.

Amazing. How did these two people find each other in this world of millions? When events, chance, losses, unpredictable schedules, jobs taken or not taken, geographical moves, family disputes, accidents, late busses or trains, missed planes or sickness all move us like human pawns. And yet their lives did merge and it has lasted and lasted wonderfully. To each his/her own in this world. We all travel different paths. But I am glad I was able to witness the original pattern of what an enduring marriage should be.

I’ve had my bubble busted a lot of times about other things by finding out what I thought was original was really acrylic nails and hair extensions, spray tans and implants. All the while I am envying their good fortune to having such natural attributes. You wonder why they just can’t be honest. I have to be. “Yes, this naturally curly hair is all mine, and yes sir, I packed all these pounds on all by myself. No implants here.”

You all have great day. Be safe and pray for those whose lives have just been turned upside down in an instant through bad weather.