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Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Truthful Mirror Doesn't Need to Flatter

Rereading my last blog I was reminded of one wardrobe mirror I have that’s flattering to me. It makes me look about 2 inches taller and 30 pounds slimmer. I know that it’s not true but I check myself in it occasionally anyway and it makes me feel better. Have you ever walked through a hall of mirrors? You know, the ones at state fairs? They are amusing but you know they lie. There are some religions that forbid the use of mirrors. They say mirrors disobey the second commandment. Well, if a mirror reflects the truth or not it tells you one thing, that a person called by your name is present.

A friend of mine used to say, “You, sitting there in that chair, tell me that you are, but you, sitting in that chair, do not tell me what you are.” He was expressing the same idea St. Paul did when he said we see “through a glass, darkly.” It behooves us all to clean up our lens or get a better one. The vision of the most enlightened individuals who have ever trod this earth in the past, many who are doing so right now, and all who will do so in the future, gives us hope. John saw “a new heaven and a new earth.” Jesus described his Father’s house as one containing “many mansions.” Other sages have tried to describe their visions of life in a higher realm.

Just sit down with a pencil and pad, close you eyes for a few moments and think how you would describe a better life, a better world, a better sense of being. Then write down your ideas. It’s a good exercise.

My husband used to say, “If I were God and I looked at this world the way it is today I’d go back to the drawing board!” But I know that he knew that the way we see our world is not the way God sees it. God just has a better window, a better lens, or a better mirror, even better vision, perfect vision. It’s not a flattering one, it’s just a truthful one. The prophet, Habakkuk, said it this way, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity:...” and he goes on to explain that if this were not true, how could God see the world as we see it and not do something about it? 

Haven’t we all questioned God this way at times? But seldom do we stop to think that the reason God does not see evil is the mere fact that there is no evil. Evil is only a lie and God sees right through lies just as we do when we see the railroad tracks come together in the distance. As we grow spiritually close to God we begin to see more intelligently, more clearly, that God’s creation is as He pronounced it to be in the beginning, “very good.”

Now, I suppose I’m attempting to make up for the hall of mirrors expressed in my last blog. I don’t want to see anyone, much less myself, “through a glass darkly.”  Nor do I want to see a fake paradise out of imagination. I just want to see the way God sees. I can make this my goal and work toward it or I can go on, as I often do, being a “sluggard in the race.” I really do believe that a sincere seeker for truth is the happiest of all. It’s a wonderful quest to travel along that path, especially with others who are going the same direction. Mark Twain was once asked if he’d choose heaven or hell in the hereafter. He thought a minute and then said wryly, “Well, I reckon I’d choose heaven for the climate, but that other place for the company.” Since God is everywhere I’d look for the right vision to be able to see myself and all others in good company and enjoying the best of weather in heaven. 

Have a great day!


Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Mom, You Need To Pick Up Your Feet"

When my daughter, Robin, told me I was shuffling that’s when I decided to look for a cane. Way back in my blogs you can read about that in a piece called Stanley, My Sidekick. Then I saw my new cane in a positive way. To me it looked sporty, or maybe even aristocratic. Lately I have to admit, I need that cane. And with it I am better able to take Robin’s advice and pick up my feet. No one thinks of me as old because of that cane, do they?

I thought not at first but now I think I was wrong. People stepped aside for me, made a path, hastened to open doors or help me over curbs. Was that because of my cane? Oh well, that was not altogether bad, but when I’d catch a glimpse of myself passing a store window I didn’t like the impression. I hadn’t noticed before that my back, which had always been erect, was beginning to hunch over a bit. Was that the fault of the cane? Well, by then I liked the feel of the cane. It gave me security, prevented the occasional walk which might give just a hint of “one too many.” I knew I could walk unaided with Stanley quite nicely inside my house, but he was good company outside, like having a handrail at my side. Stanley stayed.

I do have to admit though that I’ve become a little surprised at how I’ve changed in just the last year or two. I sometimes feel like I’m playing a part in some play where I’ve been cast as an elderly lady. That’s it. Playing a part. Grasping the fact that in any given room I’m probably one of the oldest has crept up on me too. I always used to think I was one of the youngest, and perhaps I was. When did that change?

I can tell you when it changed. Just before I started writing this blog. I saw the years piling up and began to wonder how I could put a positive spin on that. But the mere admission of age and old age in particular soon began to ricochet and symptoms began to spook me.  Like the mirror over the sink in the bathroom and cameras whose pictures made me ask, “Who’s that?.” Before I’d been not nearly so focused on age, good or bad. 

True, I have found a number of good things about these added years and I like to say, “I prefer getting old because the alternative can't be so nifty!” But that puts me in the position of having to prove it. When I was a kid I loved to run, swim, roller skate, even ice skate and ski. Later I rode bicycles, and much later I played golf with my husband, and even went jogging with him until I thought better of that. I don’t have any desire to act young or do those things anymore but neither do I want to act old. And that’s exactly what if feels like, that I’m acting. Can this really be me? I ask myself when I notice that I’m wobbling or stuttering or slumping. 

So, what do I do? I start thinking about how I can do better. Pray, get organized, stay sharp in my mind and quit shuffling. Straighten up, I tell myself. Use your cane, but use it as if it were not a necessary appendage. Moving to The Willows is going to help me a lot. There are many interesting activities one can participate in but they are not mandatory. People are all genuinely considerate, friendly and loving. I find myself admiring the beauty in others whether they use a cane, a walker, or not.

I walked over to no. 312 this morning to see how the guys are progressing with my new home and when I opened the door, gloryosky! the new flooring has been installed! It is a light hardwood and it’s beautiful! It’s in the entry, the hallway, and the dining room. One day soon I’ll see new sinks in the kitchen and bathroom as well as new fixtures and countertops. Then there will be beautiful new carpeting, a general finishing touch to everything, curtains hung, and final inspection.

I did something yesterday that I hadn’t planned to do so soon. I found a lovely new sofa-bed and a perfect dinette set. My old lady self said, “Wait, this is the first you’ve seen except on-line.” My younger spontaneous self said, “But these are perfect! The money is in the bank. Well, practically. Why do I need to think it over?” Guess which one won.

These new pieces of furniture are all I need or want now for the new home. The store is holding them for me (after paying for them, of course,) and they will move in with me whenever the jobs are done. I’m grateful and glad. There are a few left-overs in the fridge which I’ll now warm up. I’m feeling hungry, I’m feeling blessed, and even if I’m getting older, things are certainly getting better for me in a host of ways. Guess I’ll go on blogging. No need to change the name of the blog just yet.