My One Life

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Twice this past week I have run across a statement by the Chinese philosopher, Confucius. He said, “We each have two lives; the second begins when we realize we only have one.” I am claiming my one life.

When I married John, I purposefully chose to set aside my single self in order to become one with him. I willingly gave up certain behaviors and sacrificed certain wants. I became a very-much-married woman. I have absolutely no regrets about that. I became one with my husband and grew in ways not otherwise possible.

John’s death was not my choice, and I was not nearly so willing to move forward through the resulting devastation. I existed. I breathed. I resisted. I lived life because I felt there was no other option. I also healed, studied, and internalized many incredible lessons and experiences. Now I am ready to tuck all those lessons and experiences on marriage, death, and being single into my older and wiser self and live consciously, alone and on my own.

This past week I also read an article that changed the phrase, “Endure to the end,” to “Enjoy to the end.” The new phrase struck a chord in me because I’ve been realizing that I, and I alone, am in charge of my life. The genetics in my family portend another 35 years for me, and I’d much prefer to enjoy than endure. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know God lives. I have put God to the test, and He has blessed me with knowledge and sureness of the truth of His ways, and the joy that comes through obedience to His commandments.

Several years ago I posted a quote on my fridge from a prominent women’s leader. The quote said, “Observe, then serve.” Service has become key to my survival and happiness. This fall I will be starting a graduate program to obtain my Masters degree in Psychology so that I can improve myself and better serve others.

I am a little intimidated at the sole responsibility for my life and well-being, but I have a great team of family, friends, and neighbors backing me up. I am moving ahead in my emotional health coaching and teaching. I am improving in health and fitness. I am claiming my one life. Daunting? Sometimes. Exciting? Mostly. Strenuous? Always. Possible? YES.

I now joyfully choose to live forward.  Thanks to all of you for your support in getting me to this moment.

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Celestial Equations

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How wondrous and great thy works, God of praise,

How just, King of Saints, and true are thy ways.

Years ago I wrote a post called Sharing is Loving. Today I am witnessing the same thing, but from a new place. I am seeing the reality of obeying the commandments in order to be happy. I have discovered the need for service in my life. I need to serve. Service is an outlet for love. When I am filled with gratitude for all that I have and am, I am inspired to reach out to someone else, to do some specific thing. Those things that I do to serve enhance me deeply and give me joy and happiness that allow me to continue on another day. The service I do fills my heart so full that I can overflow into more kindness and love. I can’t force anyone to see things my way, or give anyone the sum of my experiences and learning, but I can radiate love and kindness and lift others as they go through hard things. I love the Lord’s math. His side of the equation, His sum, is always way more than my paltry, though sincere, efforts in the math of service. I am dancing in an upward spiral of gratitude, and an outpouring of testimony that God really lives and is aware of me each day. I receive all of that through serving others.

I’m still so mortal, though. When I feel grouchy, I stomp around thinking, “WHO CAN I SERVE??!!” I think most people would fear that kind of service. I selfishly serve in an effort to lift my own spirits. And it works! Then I am humbled and filled with gratitude and joy once again. Celestial algebra wins the day.

 What do I know? I know that God lives, and His ways are perfectly just. I know that if I follow the Savior, I will always have peace and happiness, even in the midst of trial and tribulation. I know that God is the perfect teacher and mentor, even for a theater major struggling to understand math. I know God loves me because He is teaching me in language and methods I understand and can take to heart. I sing, “My God, how great Thou art.”

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The Winter Coat of My Mortality

In the scriptures, the doctrine of mortality is rarely, if ever, taught without a quickly following reference to immortality and our final accounting to our God and Eternal Father.

Job 19:26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God 

1 Cor. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 

Alma 34 :32 For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors. 

As I studied the topic of mortality, trying to find comfort on a day when this life seemed a little overwhelming, I was struck by the eternal perspective I encountered at every turn of the page. More and more I saw mortality as a step in eternal progression, with an eye always on the prize of eternal life so that we can all claim, with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7) My scripture study brightened my outlook and gave me new perspective, as well as a new analogy.

When I was a young mother, I sewed a winter coat for my toddler son. I used very nice wool fabric, and was careful in my efforts to line the coat and attach the correct closures providing maximum warmth for my child. The hood had a drawstring to help keep out the cold wind. If I sewed something wrong, I quickly unpicked whatever was amiss in order to have the final product be strong, warm, and durable. My goal was clear, and I willingly worked toward a well-finished product. I was very proud of that little coat, satisfied that I had done my best, and John was suitably admiring of my efforts.

What if mortality is like that little winter coat. Do I daily live with the final accounting in mind? Do I use the best materials available? Do I apply myself with whatever skill I possess? Do I hasten to undo incorrect acts and make them right? Am I grateful for the talents, materials, and tools given me to make a nice winter coat?

When I meet God again, I’m aiming for it to be a loving reunion when I can present my winter coat of mortality and say, “I sewed a straight seam. I finished my edges. I did my best.”  With humility and gratitude I will offer my earthly efforts, knowing that it is only through the grace of God and the Atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ, that I had the opportunity to experience mortality at all. If I can keep an eternal perspective, and always see the end from the beginning, I can face each day with patience, a thankful heart, and the determination to conquer whatever comes next.

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Peace in the Struggle

 

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I wonder if it’s possible to stay in that place of peace that allows me to allow others their life struggles. If, instead of trying to conquer trials by making them go away, we could support and sustain each other in going through the trial and gaining all the life experience possible from said trial. How do we distinguish between that which can be conquered/overcome and that which must be endured…and are they often the same? To endure until a way is found to overcome?

I witnessed a young couple go through endless heartbreak as their baby developed childhood leukemia. They endured many different treatments in an attempt to beat the disease and keep their boy. From my perspective, they journeyed from cancer as the bad guy to be defeated to a place of such great love for their boy that they could let him go instead of making him suffer more in the hopes of a cure. I saw them grow in testimony and faith to the point of accepting God’s will. Is there no other way except through extreme heartache and pain? Could there be acceptance from the beginning? You can’t just let a baby die when there’s a chance for a cure. The babe was in remission periodically, allowing for family growth and fun times—building memories. How do we develop gratitude for the journey when the journey rips our hearts out?

I think of Heavenly Father watching His children try to help each other avoid pain, and all the weird personality challenges that result: codependency, martyr energy, helicopter parenting, etc. Then there’s the other extreme: avoidance, super independence, heart walls, over achieving, etc. And the middle ground of victim-hood, giving up, kicking against the pricks, “poor me,” etc. How do I put into words the belief that all of the previously listed struggles are a part of the magnificence of mortality? How do I rejoice in each person’s path without seeming unfeeling or masochistic?

Is there an eternal perspective of the eternal perspective? Can I step far enough back to see that each person has a carefully handcrafted life-plan as well as a loving and guiding Heavenly Father? I think I’m missing a piece that has to do with the necessity of a veil and how that relates to agency. With the Atonement of the Savior in place, virtually all hardship can be overcome/endured/conquered. I see bits of eternity in man’s struggle to comprehend life and progress therein.  Situations like discovering that helping a baby chick out of its shell is not really helping at all—the chick will die without that beginning struggle to build strength for life. How do we absorb all we see/hear/experience, and then categorize it as to receive the most insight possible? Maybe that’s part of the struggle as well, and we each need to go through our individualized struggles to gain necessary strength.

Another challenge of mortality is to allow each person his own struggles without judging. Just observe, then serve…by loving and supporting and accepting and helping in whatever way possible. Some of our attempts to help may actually be unknowingly harmful, but we don’t find out until we try—like learning not to move someone who has taken a horrific fall. That was only learned through trial and error, but the error probably cost someone their life, or at least their mobility. The knowledge gained was priceless; the process of gaining the knowledge was incredibly painful. Can we have enough gratitude for the sacrifices of others that help us avoid the same painful mistakes? Can we view our own paths as examples for others and turn evil/bad into good? My nephew is doing that right now as he engages in a speaking circuit telling about his journey through addiction, overdose, near death, jail, and worse, to get to a place of health and freedom, loving and marrying a woman who has experienced much of the same and supports him/speaks with him of her own journey.

The Lord can turn anything to His good. Anything. But I don’t think He wishes us to experience all the horrific bad in order to learn. That’s why we have scriptures, books, journals, modern- day prophets and revelation—to avoid the pitfalls that cause such intense pain at the possible expense of our salvation. Yet there is incomprehensible mercy in the saving grace of the Savior. We just have to follow God’s laws.

Mortality is pain. That’s all there is to it. Not only pain, though…these bodies have an intense capacity for feeling. Feeling joy as well as pain. Feeling a vast spectrum of emotion and physicality. Feeling with intensity unto death. Feeling with intensity unto amazement that I didn’t die! Even those who are continuously righteous experience pain as they watch loved ones go through trials, or experience hardships themselves. We ache for our children as they learn hard lessons. We mourn and grieve for the loss of those we love. We yearn to lift the burdens of another…but then we’re back to intruding on God’s plan with co-dependency, helicoptering, and micro-managing. I see further the magnificence of God’s plan for families—to understand His great love for us as we love another.

Mortality is learning and growth…or rather, an opportunity for learning and growth. With agency thrown in, that’s a big wild card we have to handle. We are to bridle the natural man and become living souls, with bodies and spirits united in the service of God, which is our own immortality and eternal life ensured. What a miraculous circle of grace being viciously combated by the adversary. I think I have been hesitant to give Satan credit for being as deviously intelligent as he is—which is probably one of his tools: deception. Yet, no matter how bad the minions of Satan become, the Light of Christ banishes all darkness! I need to find a way to acknowledge my enemy, to know and guard against him and his ways, without freaking out over his power. I have Christ on my side. I have countless angels in my defense. I can focus on God’s ways and God’s plan in order to have peace.

So now I’m back to peace. The Lord’s peace. Peace not of this world. Almost incomprehensible peace. The peace that comes of faith and righteous living. Acknowledgment that God’s promises are sure. Satan wants us to focus on the pain of the here and now. God assures all that He has to those who follow Him. Satan is in our faces. God is in our hearts, and we have to be still and clean to hear Him. Trust in the Lord with all [my] heart…

Peace. Just like every other character trait or talent or skill, I think peace comes with practice. Satan does not want us to see progress. He only wants us to see how far we are from perfect. God wants us to feel loved and supported, and He waits for us to come to Him for that support. Satan shoves stuff down our throats. The Lord allows us to choose. Agency, then, becomes the evidence of God’s love and trust in us, and ultimately, in His Son. What do I know?  I know that because I have agency, I can have peace.

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Piano Analogy

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Yesterday, as Heidi was leaving after my massage, I commented to her that I couldn’t believe it had taken me nearly five years to get to the point of being willing to handle my life—to be in charge completely. Heidi, in her blunt way, said, “Well, you resisted it so much! ‘That which we resist persists.’” She’s right. I did not want to be alone, I did not want to live without John, I couldn’t believe that he was really gone, I didn’t want to shoulder all his responsibilities, I didn’t want to do life without him…and I tried very hard not to. I sluffed things off to others, I ran away to do fun things, I spent money, I distracted myself. But life still happened. Maybe I just got tired enough to give in to fate. Maybe I just got frustrated enough with not being my real self that I’m finally willing to take on reality. Maybe my pretense at being okay and capable got to be too much. Maybe my desire to be me finally overcame my anger/pain/frustration at living without John. Maybe I’ve healed enough on some atomic, or sub-atomic level to take another step forward, and that step is recognizable to me as major progress.

But the grief still hurts so badly! I’m sure that’s why I resist. Why would I willingly jump into soooo much pain? The grief is overwhelming. It’s formidable. It’s daunting. It threatens to flatten me. So, I’ve come up with yet another analogy. The piano analogy.

When I took on a brand new young piano student, I did not start by putting Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody in front of them. We started with the basics. Middle C. Hand position. Super basic. We built from there. Years of diligent practice are required to reach a level of proficiency to even start on the Rhapsody. (Huh, interesting side note—about 5 years of exacting practice are required. It’s been almost five years.)

I tackled the Rhapsody in my years of piano. I even conquered a part or two, but was never willing to put in the effort to really achieve proficiency at the rest. When I would look over the whole score, I would give up because I knew what would be required and I wasn’t willing to put in that much work. That’s how I feel now. Facing life without John was like being required to perform the whole of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody. Too daunting and overwhelming. I wasn’t willing to take on such a task. Even though I really love the piece, and would totally revel in being able to perform the whole thing, it has previously felt like too much. I was content to dabble at the parts that I could already play.

Five years later, I’m faced with pulling out the whole score and planning a strategy for conquering said piece of music. I’m taking stock of weak fingers, and fully realizing the extent of practicing my Hanon exercises that will be required to regain strength, mobility, agility, and technique. I’m reading over the score to see which parts are most challenging. I’m recognizing the enormous task in front of me, but also acknowledging the possibility of success. Tough? Very. Am I capable? I will be. I know the steps necessary. I know the time involved. Daunting? Totally. However, instant success is not required. Constant and steady practice is.

I’ve been mulling over the art of practicing life in the past few months. I’ve been more charitable to myself and my efforts at living a Christ-like life. I’ve given myself credit for practicing, and have developed a greater love for the Savior and His atonement. I’m thankful for daily repentance.

When a piano student comes for his/her lesson, we take stock of what progress has been made with the previous week of practicing. We acknowledge challenge spots and develop of plan of action for conquering those phrases. There is praise for achievement and effort. There is often a need for buoying up the student’s spirits, and reassuring him of his capability. There is encouragement. But, there is always the task ahead and a plan for further progress. I used to tell my students that perfection in performance was a realistic goal, and that’s what we were working for.

So, I’ve pulled out the score for Hungarian Rhapsody with my mind’s eye on the ultimately satisfying ability to perform the piece with skill and gusto. To truly enjoy playing the piano with proficiency and expression. To perform! I am a performer, after all. To perform well I need practice…rehearsal…repetition.

My analogy isn’t perfect. Living life successfully and with gusto without John was never on my list of desirable things to do. At least with the Rhapsody I had a desire to perform. In my daily life I still have to work on some positive attitude and eternal perspective aspects. I have to trust that the Lord sees the whole score and knows that I will love it—that it will be just what I always wanted to achieve. That’s a hard one for me…to trust that what I’m working for, what I’m practicing so hard at is truly worthwhile and enjoyable. I honestly feel that perhaps the Lord has asked too much of my capabilities. Maybe He just wants me to practice forever, and never perform. I have to live with that.

Practicing forever—for the rest of my earthly life, doesn’t sound particularly fun or satisfying. When will I get to perform? I have to trust that God’s ways are ultimately wise and loving. He knows best. All things will be revealed in the end, and perhaps even a little along the way. So, I’m back to my piano analogy. Practice, take stock of progress made, tackle the next challenging phrase. I need to rejoice in each measure conquered, each phrase that comes together, each movement mastered. I can’t think about how I’m not able to play the whole piece right now. My little students were thrilled to master each new note and song—to hear recognizable melodies coming from their fingertips. No looking beyond the mark—that just results in frustration and discouragement.

Occasionally, I can’t help but look at the number of pages still to be mastered, and then the tears start. I am very aware of the extent of my talent, and how far I need to go to truly become proficient at Liszt’s Rhapsody. But how I love that song!! I love it!! I love envisioning myself playing it. I love the idea of my fingers flying up and down the keyboard and pounding out the dynamic, expressive notes.

This is my life. Five years ago I had the luxury of saying, “Nah, that’s too hard. I’ll do something else and be satisfied with only a part of the Rhapsody.” I no longer have that choice. Conquering the rhapsody of my life is before me in all its challenging, daunting, formidable glory. This is my path. It’s taken almost five years of healing to be willing take on this task.

Back to my conversation with Heidi, I commented that I must have some incredible strength to resist so fully for 5 long years. Heidi said something along the lines of, “Just think what you could do applying that strength forward!”

Here’s to practice and progress.

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Case Study

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If my life were the case study for a group of human behavior Master’s degree students, what conclusions would be drawn? What behaviors would be noted as indicative of progress, and which would be labeled as obstructions to progress? What personal attributes would cause some students to become my defenders, my advocates? Which actions would bring other students to argue that I was on the path to trouble of a particular nature? What kind of trajectory could be predicted from the occurrences and inhabitants of my circle of existence? Which habits would be marked as positively affective, and which as deterrents to forward motion?

If this Master’s study project involved defending my life as best efforts given, what kinds of examples would be used in my defense? Which circumstances would be listed as explanations for various behaviors and missteps? What information could be used to give a positive overall outlook for my future?

I believe the Savior, Jesus Christ, is the Ultimate Advocate in my behalf. If I were to look at my life through His eyes, I think I could be more merciful to myself. Perhaps I would be more inclined to allow for practice time of various character traits, and not be so quick to condemn imperfections. Examining my life through the Savior’s eyes would also be a study in forgiveness. I believe I would more readily repent and strive for improvement if I maintained a conscious awareness of Infinite Mercy and Grace.

My children, (and John,) say I think too much. I know that I have a tendency to paralysis through analysis, but I also believe that some thoughtful introspection and self-examination could be a means for propelling myself forward and upward. I believe introspection, along with mercy and compassion, will help me see what was previously hidden and make course corrections accordingly. I also believe that Satan is real in his efforts to distract in multitudinous ways to keep me from sessions of meditation, prayer, and stillness where revelation can flow and enlighten. Perhaps a little soul-searching—my own case study—is exactly what I need to effectively evaluate, recalculate, and move forward with a positive outlook and attitude. I believe that same soul-searching will also remind me of my eternal nature and worth, and help me keep the necessary eternal perspective.

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Truth In My Heart

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My inability to explain to you how I know what I know, or to convince you that what I know to be true really is true, does not diminish my knowledge. I know what I know. That has to be enough for me. The precious truths that reside in my heart are independent of words.

Over the years of my life I have found that when strongly confronted about certain beliefs and behaviors I hold dear, I have a tendency to back up a little. I question myself because I do not have a ready, scientifically sound explanation for what I know and do. Whenever I have that feeling of backing up, I find myself feeling defensive, and I go to work privately to figure out why I know what I know, and the exact reasons for my behaviors. So far, the truth has always been on my side, and the end result was stronger faith and increased knowledge and capability.

I believe these experiences have taught me that, throughout my life, I have received inspiration and knowledge from the Holy Ghost that comforted me in times of duress, as well as unrecognized truths to fill my heart and mind with a strength that was so much a part of the fabric of my life that I did not stop to question, research, prove, or test what I knew. Repeated confrontations produced the need to search out reasons for my heart-felt knowledge, and I have been reassured, every time, that the belief I defended, supposedly ignorantly, was indeed God’s truth embedded in my soul to fortify me in times of need.

Now I can withstand pressure with greater grace as I discard doubt and worry. I can acknowledge a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ received through the gift of the Holy Ghost, and by the power of God. A testimony built line upon line, seemingly without my conscious awareness. I’ve been breathing testimony for my entire life, and only upon attempts to take away my breath of life through confrontation, ridicule, and/or  accusatory questions was I able to discover the substance of my radiant existence. Those hardships then became blessed occurrences that allowed me to truly see who I am and know what I know.

Here are a few of the truths that are near and dear to me—that allow me to proceed through life with faith and gratitude, as well as hope and love:

I know that I lived with a loving family before I ever was born on this earth.

I know that I have Heavenly parents, and that my eternal Father is God Almighty.

I know that I will live with family and parents again after I die.

I know that this life is a time of learning and growth—a time to experience a mortal body and all the accompanying feelings and sensations.

I know that obedience to God’s laws, given to man through holy prophets, will assure my earthly and eternal happiness.

I know that all who have ever lived on this earth are my heavenly brothers and sisters.

I know that by loving God and serving His children, I will become my best and happiest self.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, that His life is a perfect example for me to follow.  I know that He atoned for my sins so I can become clean and live with God again if I follow Christ’s example.

I know that the complete gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its fullness through the formation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that all people, everywhere, have equal access to the blessings of eternity through obedience to God’s laws.

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Orbits

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I believe in an All-knowing, All-powerful God of miracles.

I believe in sunshine and smiles!

I have a quote pasted on my fridge from Neal A. Maxwell that says, “The same God that placed that star in a precise orbit, millenia before it appeared over Bethlehem in celebration of the birth of the Babe, has given at least equal attention to the placement of each of us in precise human orbits so that we may, if we will, illuminate the landscape of our individual lives, so that our light may not only lead others, but warm them as well.”

This morning, while I was out walking, I met a friend who greeted me with great joy and said, “I don’t get to see your smiling face often enough!” What a treat that was for me!

What if each of us was aware of the light we spread just by living our regular daily lives? What if we acknowledged that All-powerful God and His placement of us right here and right now? Would we smile more? Would we serve more readily and more happily? Would we pay attention to those around us—those intersecting with our orbit, and placed precisely so that they would?

What a marvelous world this is! Today I am filled with abundant gratitude for my own orbit and for all those I come into contact with. What can I offer? What can I receive? The possibilities are wide open.

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Parent/Child Observations

parenting“Teach your children that they can do hard things.”
That was the parenting advice given by the woman who had spent three years alongside her husband shepherding young men and women in their late teens and early twenties as they worked to share the message that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world.
“Teach your children that they can do hard things.”
Yes! Yes! I agreed. I cheered inwardly. I took notes. I couldn’t wait to share with my own children—who are now raising my grandchildren. The effort is worth it. Teach them that they can do hard things!
This morning I suddenly had a different perspective, and I had to laugh at myself. Heavenly Father teaches us about parenting by allowing us the privilege of raising children. He is the ultimate parent. I am the ultimate child!! When He tries to teach me that I can do hard things, what is my response? Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, I whine, I cry, I dodge, I pout. I try to talk Him out of it. I bargain. I stomp. I whine and cry more.
What a paradox! I’m so happy to be a champion of parenting skills and instilling confidence in my children and grandchildren—cheering them on in their successes of conquering difficult tasks. I’m not so happy when I’m the object of those lessons.
Today I’m in a good place where I’m capable of laughing at myself and this currently humorous insight. I can even acknowledge that I can do hard things. I’m reminded of all the times my mother repeated that the things I was learning would help me later. I can hear my own children lamenting, “You’re always talking about eternity. What about now?!” I am currently the child lamenting, “What about now?!” I’m happy that I can see the humor in my situation.
What do I know? I am the child, and God is my Father. He is teaching me that I can do hard things. However, I get to choose what I learn, just as my children get to choose what they learn from all the things I tried to teach them. Today, I choose to learn/see/internalize that God is the Ultimate Parent, and I am His much-loved daughter. I choose to accept my challenges as part of my mortal existence in the broad, yet immediate expanse of eternity. I am grateful that my Father is a perfect parent. I know that I can do hard things.

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Shoveling Love

The sound of people shoveling snow off their driveways brings a smile to my heart. When I hear the sound of snow shovels, I hear comfort and love. I hear the farmboy upbringing of my late husband getting him out of bed way too early for me. I hear family ties being strengthened as my kids helped their dad—multiple shovels! I hear service as the scraping sound disappears from my house, only to reappear farther down the street as someone else’s driveway is cleared. I hear my history. I hear echoes of, “Sure is cold where you live!” I see love manifested in a potty area clearing in the backyard for my little dog. I hear healthy bodies. I loved that cold sweaty face that came through the door at the end of the shoveling session.
John didn’t like for me to help shovel. He said I made a mess. I’d shovel a little here, a little there, then go back and clean up the traces I left behind. He finally let me sweep off the porch and stairs. I was good at that; and I was contained. These days, I wield the shovel, and I have learned to appreciate my good man even more. I now know why he shoveled from the top down on our slanted driveway. I understand the method of a strip down the middle to enable shoveling to each side. I remember his care in shoveling the street entrance to our driveway so no one would track snow onto his freshly cleared cement. I listen to my own shovel now and have a silly, happy grin on my face as I shovel our driveway. By the time I get to the road, I am deeply grateful for the aid of those whose mercy is evident in their four-wheeling finish work. I am also especially happy to shovel when it’s not snowing, because then I don’t ruin my hairdo! I don’t sweat like John did.
I find that I’m grateful for aging because of the memories it brings with it. I’m thankful for years lived in snowy country because my memory bank contains the sounds of snow shovels at work, and every accompanying story behind those sounds. I’m very thankful that, even though the passage of years is evident in my body, I am still healthy and strong enough to shovel my own driveway. I am also very thankful for those who step in to help. In my life, the sound of a snow shovel at work has love wrapped all around it.

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