Life and. . .

Loss

of a loved one,

a family member,

is a stark

reality

of life.

There is

no way out.

Anticipating

a loved one’s death

offers no

preparation.

Expectation,

no matter

how long,

does not

offer

a roadmap.

Once the rituals

whatever they are

have ended,

each of us

are

on our own.

Friends may console,

prayers said,

but in each moment

reminders

present

the harshness

of raw

physical,

emotional,

spiritual

change.

When

tears wet

my eyes

or sobs

move my

body,

it is a relief.

Pent-up

emotions

erupt

on grief’s

own schedule.

There is no

measurement

of the tears, the sadness.

The shadows

linger.

“Are you over it yet?”

a friend was asked

six weeks after her husband died.

There should be

no expectation

or impatience

with someone’s

time of

mourning.

There may be

stages,

but each person

marks their own.

There may be

light

with the shadows.

Sometimes.

A smell,

a glimpse

of someone who

reminds of

the loved one.

The depth and length

of grief

may

reflect the

intensity

of love

between

the

one

who has died

and those

left to mourn.

Life

Death.

Kindness.

Please.

Before It Is Too Late

At any time

in my adult life

which came of age

during the civil rights movement,

it is clearly imperative

that we acknowledge

how far we have not come

in being

welcoming and loving

                                                                                   to all.

If we,

our children,

our children’s children,

are going to live together,

we must talk not

just with adults

about how this election cycle

has exposed rampant

prejudice and anger.

It is inherent

in sharing the

FACTS of LIFE.

Perhaps

the voices of our children

have more wisdom

and simplicity

in how

we can begin

in this moment

to love ourselves

and love each other.

Age and Wisdom

I

should be

wiser

than I was.

Memory

composes a story

of shames and amazements.

The shames I closed

inside myself,

but the amazements,

at a sun streaked wall,

at the thrill

of an oriole,

a face,

an iris,

a volume of poems,

a person,

endure and return

in brightness.

Such moments lifted me

above my lameness.

-Czeselaw Milosz , Polish Nobel Laureate in Literature

 I don’t necessarily feel wiser as I age. However, I do remember coming upon similar challenges at earlier times and hoping that what I learned would help me.It is natural to assume that age will confer wisdom. It is really a hope that I will remember-and act on-what I’ve learned from life’s experiences.   Sometimes, I realize that asking “is this mine?”  is the question to ask myself. Often the quiet answer comes and it is “NO”.

Gaining Some Control

When you feel life is too intense

imagine it as

a TV soap opera.

Turn the sound down

until is seems manageable

or mute the sound

and read the text.

It reads

differently

than it sounds.

Sometimes

we can’t

eliminate

the drama

in our lives,

but,

we can

turn the volume down.

Breathe In

Breath Out.

Breathe In

Breathe Out.

Again.

Again.

Bucket List

Do you have a

Bucket List?

Or do people

tell you what

is on theirs?

Places to go,

people to meet,

relationships

with family and friends.

For me,

my real answer is

I no longer

make a plan

for myself,

but respond to

the things and people

in my life

that are

part of

a plan

I cannot see.

That response

is not

passive

but

is more about

life

unfolding,

some

sense of

adventure,

being open

to surprise

and

a longing

for fullness.

Some describe

longing

as the underlying

desire

for the divine.

There are times

when I am aware

of a longing;

other times,

not.

I do begin

most days

with a prayer

to take me

where

You want me to be,

Meet who You

want me to see,

Say what You

want me to say

Help me stay out of

Your way.

So,

as I close my eyes

at the end of each day,

I smile,

realizing

that what

was in my bucket

for the day

had

some unexpected

experiences

encounters.

Some might have

been painful

yet

each day

has a spark

of light

for my dreams

to process

into the

longing

for the next day.

Milestones

Tomorrow

is

my birthday.

Decades declare milestones.

At certain ages

there can be

the realization

that there are fewer

years ahead

than

already lived.

Mid-life

it is called.

Demographers

and cultural observers

 now offer

more gradations than

young,

middle aged

and old.

Early middle age,

middle age

late middle age.

At what point

does your category

become early old age?

Are you in

middle old age

and when

really old age?

For some,

lifespans

extend into the ninth and

even tenth decade.

When Social Security

was made available

at 65,

people weren’t

expected to live

much beyond that.

For some,

there can be

many decades

beyond

that mark.

How to live

these years,

whatever they are called?

Wisdom

offers

the suggestion

to shed

as we age.

Things,

images of ourself,

expectations,

hopes,

dreams,

disappointments.

Shedding

seems to say

that

growth stops

at some point.

Adults

we are.

Approaching

this birthday,

I am beginning

to understand

that letting go

is a better perspective

of what no longer

serves me.

Traveling

lighter,

I

hope

I

am

Growing

Into

Older

Age.

Learning,

growing.

Shifting gears,

slows me

to follow

the Inner Light

to savor

each moment,

each friend,

loved one

and stranger.

Sometimes the

Light

offers

a clear path.

Sometimes

intuition

brings

me on the path

I cannot

see

in this moment.

Do Unto Others

While the focus

is on the multitude of

Republican candidates,

Bernie Sanders,

Senator from Vermont,

who distinguishes himself

as a Socialist,

spoke to a

leading evangelical Christian college.

He spoke of

Common Ground.

His faith

is Jewish.

“I am far, far

from a perfect

human being,

but I am

motivated by a vision

which exists in

all

of the great religions-

in Christianity,

in Judaism,

in Islam,

Buddhism

and other religions-

and which is

so beautifully and clearly

stated in

Matthew 7:12.

“So in everything,

do unto others

what you would have

them

do to you,

for this

sums up

the law of the prophets.”

“That is the

golden rule.

Do to others

what you

would have them do

to you.

It is not very complicated.”

Not exactly

a campaign slogan

but

a

compass

to live by.