Am I Still My Brother’s Keeper?

Well, the Coronavirus certainly has made itself known and recognized in our world.  Events cancelled and/or postponed.  Travel stopped.  Schools and businesses closed.  Vacations extended.  People quarantined.  A country under a State of National Emergency.

And, of course, the panic buying of emergency goods and stockpiling of all manner of products.  It’s all scary stuff!  What is a person to do?

First, I refuse to live in fear.  I am a person who always sees the glass not only half-full but full to overflowing.  No matter what, my world is abundant and full and positive – always. No virus can take that from me.

I’m also going to be cautious, so as not to harm myself or anyone else.  I have an obligation to everyone to be sensible and reasonable with my health and theirs.  There is no reason to take unnecessary risks that would potentially harm anyone.

Therefore, I will follow standard guidelines and common sense in dealing with this contagious disease, as I have with every other contagious disease I have confronted.

My convenience and whim should not scare or endanger anyone I care about.  So I will be thoughtful and caring in my actions.  But I will not be afraid.

If someone needs my assistance or help in any way, I am obligated to give aid.  Not just if it’s convenient and not just to the point of discomfort.  But all the way.  I’m supposed to give whatever is needed, for as long as needed, to whoever needs it.  Even if it kills me. Hard words to live by.

So I can’t in good conscience do anything that is only for me and leaves my fellow sister or brother out on their own.  Such as buying all the water in the store and leaving none for anyone else.  It seems selfish to me.

If you have all the water and your neighbor has none, and that neighbor gets sick, are you willing to take water to your neighbor and stay with him until he gets well?  Just asking.

These are hard times.  We have responsibilities to ourselves, our loved ones and everyone around us.  The environment seems to be one of extremes and getting more so. Confusion is all around.  Decisions are being made for us, which makes the world feel out of control.

But we can always decide how we react to anything.  No one can tell us how to do that. That is entirely up to each of us.

We can always choose to be calm, wise and intentional.

That’s my plan.

The Purpose Of A Funeral

I’m going to a funeral today.  I don’t want to go but I always go.  A funeral is necessary.  It’s an ending and a beginning.  It’s like a period at the end of a sentence.  Final in a way, but also suggesting more to follow.

A funeral is one way to say goodbye.  Even if you don’t know the person, which I don’t in this case, you can help the family and friends say farewell.  It helps to have the village around you.

A funeral is a good time to remember the person.  Grieving is all about remembering and talking about the lost.  They should never be forgotten and should be part of the conversation always.

A funeral is a time to grieve for all the lost ones.  Every time I attend a funeral I think about my mother, Daddy, my friend Sherry, her husband Paul and all the sweet souls that I miss so much.  It’s such an appropriate place and time to mourn for everyone.

A funeral is an organized ritual that provides comfort at a time when everything feels out of control.  It soothes the soul, provides stability, and makes sense in a tumultuous period.  It may be the only time when you can predict what will happen.

A funeral is a gathering of friends and family that can give you the strength you lack.  The clan will back you up and hold you when you most need it.  There will be a hand on you at all times, so you will not fall.

A funeral is the best time to cry all you want and need to.  You may have to stifle your tears in many other places because it is so inappropriate, but not at the funeral.  You can sob until the Kleenex box is empty, if you want, and no one will care.

A funeral is a chance to tell everyone about the lost one.  You can provide pictures, video, music, favorite treasures, stories and jokes.  Make it as personal and detailed as you want, so all will understand the depth of the life that has ended.

A funeral is a group activity that strengthens the whole village and gives it a common memory.  The entire group has a known and agreed-upon way to deal with loss and sadness.  The elders hold onto the memories and teach them to the younger ones.  This practice keeps the village stable and strong.

Really, a funeral is no small thing.  It is a huge thing that can be uncomfortable at times.  It makes us face our own mortality, but we are never alone.  We do it together.  Side by side.  Holding each other up.

So today I will go to a funeral with the rest of my village.

The Gift Of Water

I can’t imagine turning on my faucet and nothing flowing out. I can’t imagine being unable to bathe any time I wanted. I can’t imagine not being able to water my garden and lawn whenever needed.

I can’t imagine these things because they have never happened. I’ve always had water available to me . And because of that, I’m sure I take it for granted.

If I had to walk miles for my water, I would be more grateful. If I had to carry my water for every use, I would be more grateful. If I had to boil my water to be sure it was clean, I would be more grateful.

But as it is, I use water daily without thinking about it. I trust it will always be available, be plentiful and be clean

Thinking about it now, I am ashamed that I am not more mindful of all the people involved in providing this luxury for me. ( And in most of the world it is a luxury.) How many people does it take to provide me with a glass water, anyway? I don’t even know.

I’m so used to water being in my life, I don’t even question it or worry about it. I’m embarrassed  to admit this all in public. but I know nothing can change unless ii is faced. So i admit to you, my sweet readers, I take clean water for granted.

I want to know better. I wants to do better. I want to be better. I want to be a mindful consumer. I want to be a grateful user.

That will only happen if I remember. Remember to be thankful each time I see water come from my faucet. Remember to not waste any of my precious water. Remember to use my water helpfully. Remember to think of those who provided my water. Remember those in the world who aren’t blessed with water as I am.

Yes, I will remember.



A Marvelous Kindness

She was wearing the sweetest little pin. A sort of wonky heart shape in multiple colors that was obviously handmade. It was so charming.

I told her how lovely I thought it was. No big deal, really. A common exchange between friends.

I expected a “thank you” or a “this old thing?” in response. Maybe we would just smile and both admire the cute little pin. Or she would tell me the history of it, where it was made and who gave it to her.

Instead, the most amazing thing happened. Without saying one word, she reached up and unhooked the pin. Smiling sweetly, she put it in my hand.

“For me?” I said.

“Yes” she said, “I’d like you to have it.”

No, no, I thought! These things don’t really happen in life. People don’t just give away their jewelry.

I tried not to accept it, but she insisted. What else could I do?!

I was stunned. No one had ever given me something so spontaneously, so easily, so freely. It wasn’t the size of the gift. It was the enormity of the gesture that overwhelmed me.

I had no words. “Thank you” seemed lacking and yet I was enormously grateful. Finally all I could say was, “I am so humbled by your kindness.”

And I still am. Humbled, that is. Every time I see that little heart pin, I am overwhelmed by the gratitude I feel.

She says I owe her nothing but to enjoy the gift. And I certainly do. That little piece of handmade jewelry gives me great joy.

I think now the best way to pay back my gratitude is to pay it forward. How fun would it be to hand this little pin to the next admirer, freely, easily, spontaneously and with no strings attached.

Just the way she taught me.

Best Advice

My mother always had good advice for me – for everyone actually.  She gave every girl in the neighborhood a good talk before each got married.  She taught every boy how to treat a girl well.

My mother knew a lot and was not afraid to share it with others.  She learned much from her life and was eager to teach it to those she thought needed it.  No one was safe from her advice.  Especially me.

As the only daughter, she saw me as the one who really needed teaching.  I got a lesson nearly every day.  It was important that I grew up benefitting from all her knowledge.

And it was all good.  Some of her advice was standard stuff, like “A stitch in time saves nine.”  No sense reinventing the wheel, she thought, when most things are tried and true.

But some of her advice was life-changing and learned through hard experience.  She always told me to keep a quarter in my shoe (to make a phone call home) and to never depend on anyone else to get myself home.

This good counsel would come to my aid one night during my senior year in high school.  I was on a date with a boy I knew well, and we were out with another couple.  We had gone to a movie (drive-in theatre, in those days) and were on our way home.  I needed to use the restroom, so we stopped at a gas station in a very remote area.

While I was in the restroom, the two boys thought it would be funny to drive away.  When I came out, no one was there.  I was scared to death.

Then I remembered my mother’s words.  I got the quarter out of my shoe and called my dad, who came immediately to pick me up.  Just as he arrived, my date came back.

Needless to say, I went home with my dad and I never dated that boy again.

From then on, I always had money for a phone call and was never in a situation where I could not get myself home.  Meaning I was never too drunk, too high, too isolated, too intimidated or too penniless to take care of myself.  Never!!

Today my mother’s advice still rings in my ear when I leave home for any reason.  Good counsel is good counsel at any age.

Thanks Mom!!

The Best Part Of Waking Up

I am not a morning person.   Never have been.  Probably never will be.  If I never see another sunrise, I am okay with that.  I understand there are pictures of sunrises in books and online.

So waking up in the morning is actually the hardest part of my day.  I don’t rise with a smile, eager to greet the bright sun.  I don’t look forward to jumping out of bed.  (Did I say “jumping”?)  And I certainly don’t start each day with joy in my heart and a lilt in my step.

So what is the best thing for me when I wake up in the morning?  The smell of food cooking, breakfast on the stove, nourishment wafting from the oven – especially BACON!!!

Ah, that wonderful all-around food, go-with-everything concoction, should be on everyone’s diet, bacon.

The smell of it cooking can pull me out of a full blown coma and carry me into the kitchen without my feet even touching the floor.  I believe it might be able to raise me from the dead.  It is that good!!

My friend Kelly has a T-shirt that reads, “There are two kinds of people in this world.  Those who love bacon and those who are wrong.”  I so believe in that shirt and stand by its truth. I am, of course, one the “right” people.

There can’t be too much bacon at any meal either.  At least I have never discovered the limit.  We just ran out of bacon, that’s all.

Now, the taste of bacon is an experience all to itself.  Wonderful, salty, fatty, hot, crispy. Need I say more?!  The perfect food, really.

Then there is the licking of the fingers and on to the next slice of greatness.  On and on it goes, until all the bacon is consumed.

There is never any left.  That would be against the rules.

Enjoying bacon is a full body sport.  Take your time.   Don’t rush.  Be thoughtful.  Lick every morsel off every finger.  Leave no crumb behind.

Bacon – the best part of waking up.