I’m Depressed

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I’m depressed. There. I said it. I’m depressed.

Frankly, it worries me as I have never allowed myself to go there. With so many people depending on me and a sister who spent time in a mental hospital; I have never before let myself plumb the depths of the despair I am feeling. However, now I am trying to give myself permission. Permission to explore what is on the other side of two years of marriage chaos and confusion. Permission to grieve for dreams that have been pushed aside by reality and for children who struggle due to the challenges of autism. Permission to just feel what I need to feel, even if it hurts. And permission to feel those deep rooted emotions and to not intellectualize my feelings as all the intellectualizing I do just makes me hurt worse.

I will confess this intense feeling of sadness scares me to my core. Not because I am afraid to feel those lows but because when you have had a family member who has experienced hospitalization due to her mental health issues and you have spent years dealing with hers…well, I just don’t want to put my family into that vat of pain and helplessness you can’t help but feel when surrounded with all of that. Yet, my therapist said to me that I have the skill set to survive if not thrive while looking at those things that make me uncomfortable and sad. And after reading Thomas Moore’s The Dark Night Of The Soul I know that there is plenty to be gained by going there for a brief respite. But still, I hesitate, my feet in cement for fear of going in too far or deep. For fear of becoming like my sister. Of letting people down.  Of not “performing” the requirements that are expected in this one act play that I am living.

I know I need to take a look at what is coming up from the depths of my soul. I know that I need to allow myself to feel these intense feelings. I suspect that it is similar to drilling for oil while trying to contain the amount that surfaces at one time. And its also acknowledging  that what comes up will have to be refined in different ways depending on how it will be used. And I acknowledge that any spills that occur will give me new skills to better contain the overflow the next time.

If I had my way I would stay in bed for a week and pull the covers over my head. I would play every sad song I have ever heard and have a Bailey’s on the rocks sitting on my bed stand sipping it over several hours. Oh hell, maybe I would guzzle it instead. That is what I wanted to do today. BUT…I had to make breakfast and lunch for everyone, take them to school, take a kid to the doctor and another to get her allergy shots. I had to wait for the dryer repairman, do the dishes, and mop the floor. I had to pay bills, get the oil changed and attend a meeting. Tomorrow it is more of the same.

So, here I sit, one toe half in and half out of this deep sadness. This depression. Perhaps if I am brave enough I will step on in and let it take me where I need to go.  To places I have never visited but probably should. Only afterwards will I understand that there are things to be gained from examining things below the surface. And who knows…I may just strike the motherlode while I am exploring with the sheets making the perfect tent in which to hide away from the world.

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Dance

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Tonight I chaperoned a high school dance. The girls were glitzed and glammed, each out doing one another in the hair, makeup, and dress department.  The boys….well they were typical  teenage boys…nerdy, sweet, and 100 years behind the girls in just about every way imaginable. Most of them sat together and played video games while the girls stood around whispering to each other, laughing, and talking the talk. Meanwhile the boys who weren’t gaming, looked somewhat green around the gills, as if they were in intense pain trying to outdo one another to impress the girls with puffy-chest macho displays. Frankly, it’s a wonder that the two sexes ever come together at all.

After spending the first half of the evening checking the kids in (what do you mean you forgot your parental permission slip) I decided to head over to the dance floor in hopes picking up some new steps. Unfortunately, watching teenage boys move to the grove is like watching an elephant attempt to play the kazoo while dancing the lead in Swan Lake…there is NOTHING that can make it look pretty. Hips go one way while butts go another and I swear I saw a couple of heads do a 360 while sitting squarely on their shoulders. But the worst thing was the fact that not one of them could keep tempo to the music. It was like watching a little old man crossing the street using a walker…one speed only… with head bent and body stooped their bellies almost dragging on the ground. The ones still moving upright were sweating like Trump’s Communication Director when the President is in front of a microphone… never sure what ungodly thing might happen to destroy all their carefully laid plans.

Yet, with all the hormones on high alert things stayed sweaty but calm and everyone was having a good time, chaperones included. Something about the unchanging ways of nervous teens brings you back to your own school dance and you realize just how far you have come!

Of course, there is always some sort of drama. At our school dance this is the End Of The Night Song. It is the one and only slow dance that the deejay plays the entire night. Stomachs tense and butterflies alight and the girls begin to giggle as the time draws near. If the truth be told no one wants to dance the last dance and everyone is crushed if they don’t. As the first notes of Fade Into You began, I was surprised to feel a tap on my shoulder. When I turned around Paul was standing there.

“Would you like to dance, Mom?” he asked strong and sure in his choice.

“Me?” I asked.

“Sure. You’re the prettiest girl here.”

And as I stepped into his arms I knew without a doubt that all those years of hard work raising two children with autism had paid off.  I was obviously doing something right in this life and was finally reeping the rewards.

 

 

Candy Porn

I’ve seen a lot in my life and I have been regarded as very liberal and progressive for most of it. But today, my conservative side began to twitch just a tad before it went into a full ride spasm. Let me take you there.

We were in Boca Raton at a large outdoor mall when we took our tween daughters into a candy shop. Now I have to admit I was oblivious to everything around me as I began to froth at the mouth like a rapid dog contemplating on just what type of sugar fix I would be indulging in. Would it be Zotz, Jelly Bellies, or maybe a variety pack of Gummy Bears? Cherry, strawberry or watermelon became the next most important question of the night. Just as quickly I began to contemplate some chocolate to go with the Port I have stashed in my luggage so if things became a little intense with the diving moms I could take a little nip now and then to say sane and not say something I would later regret.

My head was spinning as I became high just thinking about the many ways of quieting my sugar addiction. That’s  when the grandmother of one of our 12 yo daughters began to have a conversation about something with the clerk. I will say in my own defence that I was too busy shoveling just the right amount of Juicy Pear Bellies into my bag to pay much attention to what was being said.

“Hmmm…..should I get more pear or maybe a little buttered popcorn flavored bellies?” I was muttering to myself when I realized that the conversation had just gotten a little louder and more intense. All of a sudden my senses were on high alert. For goodness sakes just what was going on?

Turns out this company was selling more than your average bear kinds of candy. They were selling this candy:

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And this candy:

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And this too

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And these were the more missionary position tame ones. Suddenly, I noticed there were sexy, outlandish, x-rated candies everywhere I turned.

I have to admit at first that I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But then I began to see this lady’s point. This was a candy store for God’s sake full of M&M’s, Sweet Tarts and Nerds. This is supposed to be a sanctuary for children where they can start out on sugar before moving onto the more adult addictions of booze and porn. But here I was standing in this store with my 12-yo-daughter looking at chocolate covered pussy cats and big candy dicks and it began to piss me off.

First of all, and straight to Grandma’s point, the x-rated candy was not just to be found in a x-rated candy aisle. No, it was mixed in on every shelf in the store. No matter where you looked (except the big binds that my head had previously been buried in) naughty treats were in plain view for any 5-year-old to see.  Frankly, having to explain to a five-year-old boy why it would not be proper to ask Grandma for a chocolate vagina for Christmas made my bowels tie up in knots. Even worse, I envisioned the child authorities arriving at my door for some comment my kid had made about all the dicks in a box he had under his bed alongside a Hustler magazine made of fudge and a box of gummy bear condoms. I began to seriously sweat with the kind of fear that makes you carry around a baseball bat when you are home alone.

“You know, she’s right!” I thought. What the hell!

A candy store is a place where children of all faiths, ethnicities, and races should be able to innocently prowl the store with nothing on their minds except how they can hide their stash before their mother starts innocently “picking” through it.  They shouldn’t have to endure a peep show on every aisle. They are toddlers, Girl Scouts and choir cherbs for goodness sake. Let them be kids and drool over the sugar, the additives and the red dyes but for goodness sake they should not tempted to drool over sinfully sugary porn candy!!!

So I am calling out the It’s Sugar candy store in Boca Raton. Stop selling candy smut to our youngsters because childhood is supposed to be a safe place where innocence runs amok and camels are free from noticeable genitalia. I would also like to remind you that once you see IT you cannot un-see IT so please put your balls behind the counter where they used to keep Hustler magazines away from us kids and our fathers back in the good ole days when candy shops were candy shops and porn was rated X.

It’s Been A While

So it’s been a while since I have blogged. Life has gotten in the way. One of the reasons I have not been blogging is because I have been so ill and when you feel that sick just putting one foot in front of the other is sometimes the only thing you can manage to do.

The other reason I have been absent is that I just returned from South Korea. It was a blast. That is not to say that autism didn’t rear its head like a dragon…it did but we managed to keep the fire contained within the dragon’s mouth.

I love Korea. Not just because it is where my children were born but because of the numerous surprises that greet you while you are there. Like it raining and someone just hands you their umbrella and continues on their way. Like the fact that my children are now old enough to sit away from these two big white folks so they can blend in and become part of the majority instead of always being part of the minority. I wish I could give them that freedom every day of their lives. And I like the fact that pumpkin is valued and eaten in so many different ways.

I love seeing the small boats out with the huge freighters as they ply the waters for fish along the coast. I love the hidden temples and that sort of foggy mystical reverence that permeates the air.Riding the bullet trains are almost orgasmic with their down the the minute time tables and the snack carts that sell dried squid. I also love the open markets in which you can find the mass-produced and the antique amongst all the noise that radiates off of the stalls. And the smells of noodles of all kinds, ginger, kimchee and steaming hot bean buns bought just as they come out of the molds are to die for.

There is something about Korea…a people who have been taken over by invaders again and again. Who have known war too often the results of which allows them to then hold the holy and the beautiful above all else…even their pain. Same goes for my children whose understanding of their short lives here is bittersweet. Joy and pain sometimes it is one in the same.

And then we came home and I immediately went in for an endoscopy because I have been so sick with severe reflux for so long. And while I await the results I decided to try the anti-reflux diet and stop drinking coffee…and the next day feel so good that I don’t take the prescription medicine that never makes me feel great. And the next day I feel great. Better than great. And so I stop coffee and pills and one week later I feel better than I have for the past two years.

So now I rejoice. For travel. For discovery. For the happiness of my family. And for my health. And for the oh-so painful re-discovery of myself, my husband and my marriage over the past 18 months.dsc04814

I’m thinking that 2017 is going to be a pretty great year! I hope it is for you too!

 

Thrilling Moments Are Not So Rare

Why did my font change? Where are my picture inserts?

Oh well, let’s get on with this with a new font and a new attitude.

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I have been a lucky woman. I have had so many moments that have thrilled me beyond compare. Moments that took my breath away. Moments where time stood still and there was no movement or noise to interfere with that particular time in space.

There was the time I was going through in-vitro and the doctor showed me eight embryos that he was about to put back into my body. One of them literally beamed a bright white light…I believe that one is my daughter, Nichole. Or the time I stepped off the jet-foil onto Belgium soil and had one of those “I’ve been here before” moments, even though I never had. There was that moment that I arrived at a desolate village high in the mountains of Thailand and when I floated underneath a waterfall in a place so serene that it felt as though I was the only person on earth. And of course, that precise moment when the priest said in a language not my own, “You are now man and wife.” These are some of the most special moments of my life.

Yet, I wonder if perhaps these wondrous moments are not so wondrous at all. Perhaps it is all in the way we choose to perceive them. Maybe these thrilling moments are happening everyday all around us and we fail to view them this way. Maybe getting in the car and driving to the store would be a thrill if I was a child from a remote village in Mongolia; their first ride being one of those things they remembered all their life. Something so ordinary in my life extraordinary in the life of another but thrilling nonetheless.

Maybe watching the hummingbird float amongst my roses and coneflowers should be counted as one of those thrilling moments in a day. The beating of his tiny wings, just a flutter to my eyes, as he zips from plant to plant, truly is a wondrous thing if I were just stop and think about it all.

And maybe just planting my feet on the floor in the early morning thankful of having yet another day on this earth might also be considered amazing; especially if I had a terminal illness and never knew when I went to bed if I would ever feel the sun on my face again.

The point is we can all have those amazing moments if we choose to view them as such. They don’t have to be as rare as astatine for in reality they might just be as plentiful as the stars in the sky. Because maybe it is as simple as looking beyond the obvious and searching for the little meanings that suddenly become epic if we allow them to be.

So today look for something truly amazing in your life. I am sure you can find a moment that grabs hold of your heart and implants itself to be viewed again with pleasure on another day. Because that is why those special moments are put there for in the first place. They serve as reminders of the sense of awe, joy and appreciation that we once felt at a particular moment in time and suggest that these feelings are once again available to us if we just choose to actively look for them.

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What I Want In The Second Half Of My Life

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What I Want In A Relationship In The Second Half Of My Life

Getting older is not for the faint at heart. Our bodies will start to deteriorate and possibility our minds. We might get seriously ill and it might get harder to do the everyday things that we now take for granted. As they age, our children’s problems may become more complicated which will impact us and some may never leave home. One just never knows. Yet, our upcoming years are also a time for reflection, a time to finally relax and enjoy what we have accomplished. I hope it is a time to rejoice, have fun, and learn. I am excited and scared about it at the same time.

As I have contemplated what this second half of my life might look like I have come to understand that there are certain things that I want and need in a relationship, and certain things I don’t, if I am going to find my own personal joy in living. These are:

A. I need total transparency in my life. I no longer what to be guessing about what might be going on with my partner. I don’t want secrecy and secrets nor the lack of peace that accompanies secrets and dishonesty. I want to know that what I am looking at is the real deal and not some form of the truth.

  1. I want to be best friends with my partner and have us act in the manner one does with their best friend.
  2. I am trying to be someone who keeps herself open; someone who is open to change in whatever form that will take. I also want that in my partner.
  3. I want honesty not half-truths.
  4. I want someone who loves me with passion, concern and without reservations. I want them to feel desire and that I am their only and that they love me so much that temptation isn’t even in their vocabulary. I am willing to do the same but if I can’t have this satisfying/necessary type of love that I need then I don’t want to be in a relationship with them.
  5. I don’t want to worry about cheating whether it be emotional or physical. Everyone knows what it is and what the path looks like that leads there. I want to be 100% certain that the person I am with will turn away from that path. I will NEVER again accept this in my life. I
  6. I want someone in my life to laugh with loudly and often but knows the proper time to do so. I know I tend towards seriousness so I appreciate anyone who can lighten the mood when appropriate.
  7. I wan to try to live a blameless life in a blameless relationship. I don’t want to blame someone else for my issues and I don’t want someone blaming me for theirs. I have wasted too much time blaming and have spent too much time being blamed. I don’t want it in my life anymore.
  8. I want to live a life taking full responsibility for myself and not putting it on someone else. Seems like the grown up thing to do when you are over 50 years of age.
  9. I want “boring normal” everyday passionate sex. I don’t want sex with other people. I don’t want people watching me have sex. I don’t want to watch my partner have sex with someone else. I have learned what is important in life and this is not it.
  10. I want a relationship in which both parties share and consult with the other especially in the big matters.
  11. I need to be in a relationship in which my partner thinks the best instead of the worst of me. I want them to have faith that I am not slacking and that I am doing as much as I can and the best that I can on any given day. I don’t tell my partner they aren’t doing enough at work and I don’t expect to be experiencing that back.
  12. I want to be in a relationship with someone who isn’t afraid to get involved in important things as long as they aren’t disrupting the peace. Someone who will be proud of my activism knowing that ultimately I am trying to improve things for ourselves and others.
  13. For me a sense of adventure is important. I want to share that with someone who will also help push us into a realm of discovery.
  14. I want to spend time with my kids and my grandkids when I am older. I would like to have BIG family vacations together. I think it is important that the person I am with values family too.
  15. Being with someone who finds me sexually desirable no matter if I have scars, jiggly thighs and a soft round belly. I want to feel that my physical flaws are just as valuable as the parts that are not flawed just because it is part of who I am. Getting old does not do nice things to the body. I may not be perfect but I am still beautiful.
  16. I want to get naked more… wrinkles be damned
  17. I want a more in-depth spiritual life to share with my partner but I am not sure exactly what that looks like right now.
  18. I want to know that the person I am with has my back. I want to know that if I am lying in a hospital bed they will not be afraid to call the grumpy nurse over and say, “You know she hasn’t been given her meds. She needs to be turned.” Whatever it is. I want to know they will not be afraid to get me what is needed and will get out of their comfort zone to protect me when it is difficult for me to protect myself.
  19. I want to share in deep conversations so I know who my partner is… their wants, needs, dreams and desires.
  20. I want a person who loves to travel and explore. These are things I want to do when I am older. I don’t just want to be sitting on a sofa waiting for the Meals For Wheels truck to arrive.
  21. I want to volunteer more and share that experience with the person I love.
  22. A want to become a person who says yes more than they say no and I would like that in my partner.
  23. It is important for me to know that the person I am with appreciates what I bring to our relationship and doesn’t try to force me into a role they want to see me in rather than the role I put myself in of my own choosing.
  24. Compromise is important to a healthy relationship. I want to become better at it and learn from the person I am with.
  25. I want to try to do the things that will help us to stay healthy through exercise, eating, sleeping, etc. and I need a person who will encourage me to do these things especially when I am hurting and getting up and moving is hard.
  26. I think it is important to share our lives together but to also acknowledge that we don’t have to share everything to have something worthwhile and worth keeping.
  27. I want more peace in my life. I am finding out how really important that is to me. That doesn’t mean no strife and confrontation because if you don’t have a little of that you cannot be peaceful because what you have isn’t real. But in general a life that cultivates and values peace in the relationship and within us.
  28. Acceptance…I am who I am and though I can change I shouldn’t have to unless I am seriously hurting those around me (like yelling) That doesn’t mean someone has to accept everything about me like the fact that I hang the toilet paper role “wrong” but in a general sense of “you are pretty okay and everything about you doesn’t have to be re-done”.
  29. Learning keeps the mind young and excites it. I want to be in a relationship with someone who never wants to stop learning.
  30. I want to be with a person who isn’t searching for perfection but is searching for meaning.
  31. Like everyone, I have many flaws. It is important that I am with someone who is aware of my flaws and will try to ignore the ones they can and will kindly try to help me improve on the ones that they cannot.
  32. I tend to be too critical so I don’t think another extremely critical person would be a good thing to promote happiness.
  33. My love language is hearing sincere words of praise, acceptance and love. If I do not hear the words it is difficult for me to fully believe I am loved so this is important to me. I understand that words can be cheap but words said with love “sound” sweeter than words that are missing and should be said.
  34. I have pain on a daily basis from my back, neck and sometimes fibromyalgia. I want the person I am with to understand this and not think I use it as an excuse. It is hard for me to be “less than perfect” it makes me feel old and crabby because I am in pain. I want that pain to be acknowledged and some understanding to help me through it and provide encouragement rather than having to “prove” myself constantly.
  35. This past year in particular I have lived in fear. I no longer am willing to do that and I am not willing to be with anyone who would use it against me.
  36. I want to have a deep spiritual connection with my partner in which those things we find important we willingly share without fear and impatience. I want to feel that natural connection and know they are thinking of me because they call during the day or leave texts. I want connectedness rituals built into our lives from the way we spend the morning TOGETHER to how we say goodnight.
  37. I want to be able to reach my partner on the phone when I call. While I understand there are meetings and such there is NO reason I should not be able to reach my partner other times during the day.
  38. I want to limit my time traveling and try to live in the present. This is hard for me and because of my past I have a tendency to try and plan for the worst or for the future because it makes me feel safe and without anxiety even though doing so makes no sense.
  39. I want to try and live with as little anger as possible.
  40. I am trying to learn to make decisions on feelings with ebb and flow and constantly change and I am hoping my partner will do the same.
  41. I want to help make my partners dreams realized and I want the same back.
  42. As I age I want to focus more on the good and less on the bad.
  43. I want to find ways to show love that is meaningful to the person I am trying to show love to
  44. I would like to believe that as much as you can plan these things that my partner will be there holding my hand when I take my last breath and will help lead me to my final adventure.images-7

Love Is A Choice

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If there is something else of importance that I came away with from this weekend’s Marriage Encounter it is that LOVE IS A CHOICE.  It is a choice that you make again and again and again over the lifetime of your relationship. The choice to love begins when you wake up in the morning and think pleasant thoughts of your spouse while he lays there sleeping. It is present when you decide to take the time to really listen to what your partner is saying. And it renews itself when you chose to give your sweetie the benefit of the doubt and believing in the best instead of the worst.

I am not sure when B and I forgot this or if we ever viewed love in exactly this way. Letting resentments build up is not choosing to love. Foregoing intimacy is not choosing love. Escaping from each other by putting other things first is not choosing love and I know these things were happening in our relationship. No wonder our relationship became unsatisfying to both of us. Other things intruded and we did not recognize it nor stop it when we did. Making sure that our love for each other a priority just never got very high on the list.

I thought it might be difficult to make sure that B knew I was choosing love. But staying connected throughout the day via texting and dialoguing at night is helping us to see that putting our relationship first makes us feel good about the other. It makes us appreciate and celebrate what we have.

Sure, it has only been a few days and we have yet to be put to the test with schedules, poor behavior and a disagreement. But I have hope that as long as we both remember that LOVE IS A CHOICE and choose to honor the choice we have been blessed by; then loving each other as the unique individuals we each are will become as natural as a rose opening itself for all the world to appreciate and see.

 

Turtles

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Today I was walking by the irrigation ditch trying to get my 10,000 steps in for the day. Last week it was full of cool rushing water but this week there was nothing; the water diverted for some other farmers fields probably to nourish the long rows of walnut or peach trees that rise out of this fertile ground like rockets waiting for a signal to launch. As I looked over the railing I saw two turtles sunning themselves on a rock. How did they get there? I mean its not as if they were in a wet lands area with abundant water. They were parked in the middle of a small but rapidly evaporating oasis.

As I pondered this it got me to thinking about my own life. How did I land here in this particular place at this particular time? B’s job.Further, is this a good place for my soul? No. Does it bring me joy to live here? No. Can I stretch my mind to places that it has never been before? I am limited here. Am I able to sun on a rock and be content? Not without the neighbors watching. As you can see I would probably be happier somewhere else. And like Dorothy I would like to click my heals together and be back where my heart’s desire is. But where is that? What do I need for my soul to heal from my own transgressions and from a broken 30 year marriage?

I have been pondering this question for quite a while, ever since B stated he wanted a divorce. Of course, he mistakenly assumed that should we divorce I would take the kids and I would be stuck here, in a place I do not want to be and could not afford if I was single. But that may not play out the way he originally envisioned it. Because I have been re-engineering my life should things change and I have decided that one of the things I will do is move to a place that gives my soul nourishment and meaning. To a place I want to be with small shops, big pines and the ocean nearby. Someplace where the air is fresh and clean. Someplace that I can call home.Forever. Without the worry of someone else’s wants and whims influencing where and how I live. For I want to be like the turtle, sunning myself on my own rock, without a care in the world.

Simple

I am too busy to put something up today so I thought I would leave you with a story I wrote in 1999.

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Two years ago when my family moved to the Midwest, we did so in search of a “simpler” life. After burning the candles at both ends, we felt it was time to slow down. We wanted to have the time to stop and smell the roses, and to enjoy the “simple” things in life. I thought I knew what those “simple” things were until we met Boone during a mountain trek while in Thailand.

Boone was 33 years old then. Gracious and quiet, he used to be a sustenance farmer. In his village he eked out a meager living cultivating rice and growing vegetables. His was a simple life, yet Boone wanted more. He wanted more than to just sustain himself, he wanted to have some money set aside for a rainy day. So Boone gave up farming and he dedicated his life to learning how to speak English in an effort to improve his life. Now he leads jungle treks for foreign tourists who pay a lot of money to forget their busy lives and experience the “simple life” of the hill tribe people in Northern Thailand.

I got to know Boone very well on our two day trek and I think he got to know me better than he wanted to as he carried my pack for most of the trek. I would like to say that I lead the group due to Boone’s pack carrying generosity. I can’t. He carried my pack in hopes that I would arrive at the remote village sometime within the same week as the others in the group. Going straight up mountains and then straight down did terrible things to my knees and by the end of the day I was beginning to think that knee replacement surgery sounded like fun; if it involved being evaced out by helicopter.

That night while sitting around the campfire in the thatched roof village, Boone and I discussed his former “simple” way of life. I asked him about the concerns that idealistic academics have expressed about the hill people losing their culture and their “simple” ways of life due to the lure of money from Westerners.

“They think we have a “simple” life,” said Boone. “Those people should try to live such a life. What is “simple” about trying to keep your children fed on a daily basis? What is “simple” about having no money for clothes or to send your child to school? What is simple about watching a loved one die because you cannot afford proper medical care?” Boone told me that everyone wants a better life, a color TV and a satellite dish so they can learn about and discover the world in an effort to improve theirs.

Early the next morning when the rooster sounded the alarm, as I lay on the grass floor, every muscle in spasm, I contemplated my “simpler” life. Money could not buy me a cool breeze when I desperately needed it on the top of that mountain. It could not stop my heart from racing nor quell an aching thirst. Yet, money was able to buy me something else. Understanding. An understanding of why people risk life and limb to come to the United States or other nations in search of a “simpler” life. Never again will I just listen to the put-downs of those who criticize our new citizens who haven’t yet learned their new language. Because for them getting here was the battle. The language is just a minor skirmish.

Isn’t it ironic that wile the people of the so-called “third world” are attempting to “simplify” their lives many of us in the states are attempting to do so, only from the opposite end of the spectrum. In truth, maybe simplifying is really just letting go of old beliefs, allowing new possibilities to enter our lives and stopping to smell the roses. Or maybe, it’s as Boone said. Maybe it’s as “simple” as a new color TV, satellite dish and a little money saved for a rainy day.

Fences- A Positive Post

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Yesterday Paul needed to get some service hours in for Scouts. He elected to paint the fence at our church. It was hot and the fence sat square in the path of the intense rays of the scorching sun. Six hours spent working in the sun is difficult for anyone but even more so for a young autistic teenage boy with no previous painting experience. Fortunately, one of the older members of our congregation (R) was there to provide guidance and cheer him on.

I love it when old and young connect. There is something almost magical that happens when wisdom meets youth. Learning occurs in an unstructured setting and life’s lessons are conveyed easily. More importantly, both parties share those things that are important to them and greater understanding of the world and each other is obtained by both.

When he arrived home Paul was stoked and could hardly wait to tell me about his afternoon. But it wasn’t the fence he talked about. It was the connection that he made that mattered the most to him.

“Did you know that R served in the Korean War?” my sweet Korean boy asked.

“I had no idea,” I replied.

And so Paul sat with me and excitedly told me all that R had shared with him. Things about the war, what the country of Paul’s birth looked like back then, and how his life had changed because of his service. They also talked about what boys did growing up in the 40’s, how times have become more complicated and R’s ideas about the important things in life. But most of all Paul gained a friend. A man who could teach and discuss without being parental. A person with whom Paul could relate his troubles regarding peers in school and his concerns for the world as he navigates becoming a young adult.

It’s funny how sometimes in doing things for others you gain something special and totally unexpected for yourself.  This weekend Paul learned from R the value of a friendship with someone older and wiser than himself. He learned to share problems and issues and listen to good advice in return. And more than just learning about how to paint fences he was also taught how to mend a few too.