Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Stop and Think

It is the only thing that works for me.

I have been running, non-stop, for the past couple of weeks.  I have traveled with my husband to Idaho.  We have spent precious time with our children and grandchild.  We have celebrated accomplishments, honored fathers, given gifts, played, laughed, and feasted.  We have reunited with family members, amused ourselves as tourists, visited aquariums and lighthouses, combed the beach for treasures, played, laughed, and feasted some more.  Exhaustive just thinking about it all.

And I have not written a single blog.  I haven't even thought about writing a blog.

But in the solitude of an unexpectedly quiet morning, I have realized something about myself.  I can't do more than one thing at a time; I am not a very good multi-tasker.  I simply can't "think" and "do" at the same time.  The past weeks of doing, as delightful as they have been, have afforded me no time to do any thinking.

And thinking is important to me.  It is the time I tune into my spiritual gifts; it is the time I connect the dots; it is the time I learn new things.

Eventually my life will slow down again.  I can't say for certain when that will be.  There are more trips on the horizon; more reunions; more adventures.  And that makes me very happy.

But I will also be just as happy when I finally have time again to stop.  And think.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hanging on Every Other Sail

Life is exciting and thrilling for everyone but us, right?  So and so has greener grass, the Joneses have a bigger boat, etc. etc.  Isn't that how it sometimes seems?  I was startled to discover that one of my philosophic heroes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, also had occasional pity parties.  While reading his essay entitled:  Experience, I am learning that Emerson wasn't afraid to show a little cynicism, he who is usually very optimistic.  About ten pages in, he himself admits that  he had "set his heart on honesty in this chapter," apparently not wishing to sugar coat the realities of life and life's experiences.

My favorite passage is this:  Every ship is a romantic object, except that we sail in.  Embark, and the romance quits our vessel and hangs on every other sail in the horizon.  Our life looks trivial, and we shun to record it."
I had to laugh at this.  Isn't it the truth?  Why do others' adventures always seem, atleast outwardly, like smooth sailing and pleasant breezes, compared to our own storms and rough waters?   A few months ago I experienced the lifelong dream of sailing on a tall ship.  It is was beautiful; it was exciting to be in the middle of all the action; and it was FREEZING cold, something I had only moderately prepared for.  When its sister ship sailed gallantly past, in all its splendour at full sail, did I think of its own passengers, huddled together in the cold as we were on our ship, or did I focus on the romance of its masts and sails?  I saw what I chose to see, just like everyday I choose to see the roses in others' lives, while forgetting that they may also have a few thorns that they are dealing with.

A wise man I know remembers to look for the positives amid the setbacks.  He looks for the steadiness that may be accompanied by otherwise quaking hands.   And to Emerson's credit, he also recognizes that: "Life is a series of surprises, and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not."

The true message here, though, is to claim your life, accept it, embrace it, and as Emerson insists, "record it!"  Our lives are exactly the perfect proving grounds for us, individually.  My trials are mine and I will take them, if God can foresee what I have yet to learn.  You enjoy your roses and your green grass and the romance of your ship.  I'll take the thorns and the weeds and the tempests that come my way.  Because they are building strength of character only yet to be discovered.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Like Coming Home

" was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I'd ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic."

I still remember the first time I held hands with Brian Haws.  We had just parked the car at the Salt Lake City Airport, were crossing the street to go pick up his parents, when he reached out for my hand.  It wasn't planned.  It wasn't premeditated.  It just happened as naturally as anything in the world.  It felt right.  It felt warm.  It felt like...magic.  It felt like coming home.

Today we celebrate 28 years of coming home, of being in a marriage that stands the test of time and space, and every kind of test that life can throw at two people.

I hesitate to share openly here about the depth and breadth and height of my love for Brian Haws.  It is too dear to my heart; too sacred.  And yet I can share great quotes from others about the true nature of love.  That is far enough removed to honor it, without my becoming a blubbering mess.   Maybe.  I see and hear things all the time that remind me of my husband.  So many songs, the ones with happy endings:

"I'm gonna love you forever
Forever and ever amen,
As long as old men sit and talk about the weather
As long as old women sit and talk about old men.
If you wonder how long I'll be faithful
I'll be happy to tell you again
I'm gonna love you forever and ever
Forever and ever amen."

Is it any surprise, that my friend, Emerson, also has much to say on the subject of eternal love and the metamorphosis of the marriage relationship?

"Their once flaming regard is sobered by time...At last they discover that all which at first drew them together...had  a prospective end...and the purification of the intellect and the heart from year to year is the real marriage....That which is so beautiful and attractive as these relations, must be succeeded and supplanted only by what is more beautiful, and so on for ever."

He is right.  Time passes, and we change.  Love changes.  It may no longer be the breathless and heady elixir common to youth.  It becomes fuller, and richer, and more stable.  And certainly more gratifying.

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life.  To me, there is nothing in the world as lovely as coming home.

(Thanks to Sleepless in Seattle, Randy Travis, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, for their timeless quotes on love.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gifts From Heaven

Sometimes it takes a while to process things.  Or perhaps it takes a while to have the courage to give things their proper label.  I have recently had an experience that can only be described as a gift from heaven.  We like to use the term Tender Mercies.  And that certainly fits.  But I believe sometimes experiences are purely gifts from heaven, that don't further any cause, don't solve any problems; they are merely heaven's way of putting arms of love around you.

I had been proverbially punched in the gut.  I was hurting.  I was sad. 

And God, in His loving way, turned my attention immediately away from myself.  He provided a show of nature that was remarkably unique, impossible to expect again.  And it was just for me, to be shared with my sweet husband.  We marveled.  We laughed.  We cheered.  We forgot ourselves.

It was a gift from heaven.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Insist on Yourself; Never Imitate"

I was reminded today why I choose to blog.  I was reminded by reading other blogs that I follow.  Each is unique.  Each shares the author's own notable, exceptional perspective of their world.  And I was inspired.  And I was grateful to be given the opportunity to have a glimpse into their lives, their minds, their hearts.

Isn't it remarkable how different we are from one another?  We may share very similar experiences, similar paths, similar circumstances; yet we process them with our own special brand of uniquity.  So why not have our own little website, our own personal URL that is filled with the things we love, the thoughts we think, the dreams we dream?

Lately I have become absorbed in an obscure book.  I stumbled upon it last summer, while it sat upon the shelf of a used book store in Ashland, Oregon.  My daughter, Miranda, and I were immersing ourselves in a literary weekend, replete with Hamlet and Pride and Prejudice on the stage of the Shakespearean Festival, a lovely old-fashioned room in a quaint little hotel, and a self-guided tour through the many old book stores that line Ashland's main street.

It is the kind of book that probably would be overlooked by my children when I am gone, as they sort through my faded and tired possessions.  Perhaps if I give it a little attention now, it will have more meaning and value to them when that fateful day eventually comes.  Perhaps instead of tossing it into the giveaway pile, one or more of them will realize that it was a favorite and seek to uncover for themselves the wealth of wisdom I am finding in its yellowed, cracking pages.

This one small, unpretentious book bears the title and the collection:  The Complete Essays and Other Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  There is a reason that Emerson is one of the most oft-quoted literaries; he has some amazing insights and the ability to express them with pith and power.  Picking up his book everyday is like clicking open his blog.  It is insightful, it is inspiring, and it gives the reader a glimpse of his life, his mind, and his heart.

The underlying theme of his "complete essays and other writings" is the importance of being true to oneself.  He boldly states: "Insist on yourself; never imitate."  And with that, he promises:  "that which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him.  No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it."

I am so thankful for what I learn from others.  But I will not try to imitate them.  I have decided to look for what I, alone, can do best, no matter how far and wide I must search.

You might consider "following" Emerson, too.

Friday, June 3, 2011

You Have Shown Me the World

This is my blog, and I can use it however I feel like.  Today, I feel like giving an early Anniversary gift to my husband.  So I am.

I have a surprise for you, Brian, that I can hardly wait to give.  In comparison to all the wonderful things you have done for me, this considerably pales.  And yet, I think it is pretty fun and exciting.

Consider this an invitation to a date tonight, when you will be able to open this envelope.

I love you for all the happy times;
I thank you for all the times of support;
I rejoice with you in the multiplicity of blessings that we have shared.

Hurry home.