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Monday, May 13, 2013
Recently, we attended a one-hundredth birthday party. This woman was about five when the US entered World War I. Think of that—she’s survived two world wars. Somehow, in a small community, she really stands out.
A farmer’s wife, she’s known hard work and has survived a whole lot more, including two children’s deaths. But she’s bright, full of faith, alert, and articulate.
When we exclaimed over her pretty peach suit and lovely corsage, she smiled, “I feel like a Christmas tree.” Her creative assertion inspires us.
I’d say this lady, surrounded by a big, loving family, portrays mindfulness to the hilt. Our past propels us into channels and habits, unless we consciously redefine our lives. To awaken to our unique, God-ordained self, we must be aware of our surroundings, our intuitions, thoughts, emotions, and actions.
In other words, we become mindful. Where am I at this present moment? What colors do we see? What sounds entrance us, what new ideas float into our consciousness? How will this moment recreate us for what lies ahead? The present lays the foundation for new plans, new adventures, new ways of being.Apart from mindfulness, our lives pass by default—not to decide is to decide.
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare
is to lose oneself.”
That limbo-like sensation of losing our footing throws us off, but if the alternative means losing who we are, isn’t the choice, as they say, a “no-brainer?”
So, along the way, our birthday girl made consciously decided how she would respond to life's twists and turns. In a sense, she created the “Christmas tree” before us today.
In her long lifetime, how many times did she dare? She graciously receives guests in our church narthex and calls herself a Christmas tree—yet she most likely lost her footing momentarily a few (dozen) times throughout the years. Her sense of humor testifies she found it again.
Her sparkling eyes and perky voice motivate me to go out and take a risk we thought impossible. Here’s to losing our footing more often!
Monday, April 1, 2013
"Blooming is risky business-just ask any flower." Anonymous
When the temperature crawled to two degrees, I happened upon a blossoming Kalanchoe brought in the night before October’s first hard frost. The plant bloomed faithfully all summer. My best hope was for her to survive the winter inside the house and reinvent herself next season.
But a golden yellow blossom caught my eye—in March, she’s blooming away like nobody's business. I couldn't find the source of the risky business quote, but whoever said it shared succinct wisdom. Putting ourselves out there is risky business at any age, but re-inventing ourselves in a second or third stab at using our gifts can be daunting.
Blooming takes energy—common knowledge among gardeners. That’s why we nip off flowers when we transplant, to allow the roots more chance to thrive. And roots are the foundation of everything good that comes from growing things.
My Grandma’s rosebush, delicate pink, thrived well into old age, though I doubt she took much time to nurture it. But I heard lately that burying fat in whatever form—bacon grease, throw-aways from a cut of beef—near a rose helps it flourish. Maybe the leavings of Grandma’s frying pan reached that bush. But I digress.
Late blooming—seemingly out of season—can be so meaningful. Those Kalanchoe flowers, hidden away in a neglected corner, brought me hope for spring. Some of us tucked away our deepest passion years ago—we thought we didn’t have what it took to carry through with our dreams, thought no one would read what we wrote, or listened to naysayers who shortchanged our art.
That’s not everyone’s story, but it is mine, and I’m finding that everything in my background has led me to this moment. Now I know what I felt deep-down all along. We’re born to tell our stories, no matter what anyone says, and everyone deserves a hearing.
Recently I read another fitting quotation: “This Is Your Time.” Four simple, straightforward words, but they stood out to me. For late bloomers, they’re zapped with empowerment. We may have thought our blossoming time was past, but we were wrong.
Something inside my wintering kalanchoe plant must have whispered, as March blizzards beat against a nearby window, “It’s still your time, old girl.” And so she bloomed, which is my intention for my writing, too.