Memorable Bananas | Day in the Life #10

Ever notice how memories slip into the activities of our everyday lives? Things we don’t think of until something or someone triggers that long ago memory and it rushes to the forefront of our minds.

Several years ago while caring for my mother, near the end of her life, I wanted to help get her to eat. She’d suffered another of several congestive heart failure episodes, and the nurses encouraged some fruit. I brought bananas, something I knew she enjoyed.

bananas

Recently staff had begun mashing her food, so I mashed the bananas. Their aroma overwhelmed my senses. You know…that smell only a fresh banana has.

As I continued mashing, I remembered doing the same for my son when he was an infant. No doubt Mama had mashed bananas for him, and other grandchildren, and for her children.

My next thoughts moved to contemplate how the cycle of life catches up with us in the mundane. As my mind wandered back through generations, I imagined my grandmother engaged in the same activity, and her mother, and on and on.

Among my thoughts was the process of aging. As we age our bodies and our abilities revert to how we were as children. Unable to care for ourselves. Unable to read or write. Even in our eating things change.

Life — its beginning and ending so similar.

Image by Markus Naujoks from Pixabay

What’s Happened to Writing?

 

The word “writing” above could refer to many forms of writing. Handwriting, cursive writing, writing checks, writing the grocery list, writing a book, and I could go on.

But the writing I’m talking about isn’t listed above. I wonder what happened to handwritten letters and notes. You know–the kind you place in an envelope and mail with a stamp?

I remember as a young woman in college in the mid-1960s running to the student union where our mailboxes were built into one wall. A peek into the small glass window revealed whether or not to waste your time unlocking the box. 

Most of us longed for letters from anywhere or anyone, even our parents and siblings. Letters from our parents were at the top of the list if a check was also enclosed.

Favored above all were letters from high school friends or friends serving in the military. For me, it was a cousin serving in the Navy who told of exciting days and nights while stationed off the coastline of Greece.

Wayne could tell me of things he saw and visited that I would never travel to see. He wrote of Greek meals that made my mouth water. His description of life on the aircraft carrier was almost as foreign as the culture of the Greek people.

I rarely receive a handwritten letter or note anymore. It’s an element of our social upbringing that I truly miss. Email and the Internet have effectively almost eliminated this custom.

Image attribution: Via Pixabay; no attribution required.

 

Word for 2019

Lots of folks make resolutions each new year. Others set specific goals. I’ve never been successful with either. As I attempt to live in the slow lane, I’m putting aside such organized planning for my life.

 Instead, I’ve chosen the word contemplate” to guide me through my next year.
 
Slowing down has shown me areas in my life lacking attention. Examples include God’s teachings, prayer, reading, music, and more. When we center on a given activity, we hear more, see more, sense more, and learn more.
 
The word “more” in that last sentence excites me. Why? Because in this fast-paced, recognition driven, madcap social media world, I run to keep up. If I slow down and allow myself space to focus on the important things, I receive boundless gifts in the form of “more.”
 
All that translates to slow down, think, contemplate.
 
About the time I reached this conclusion, Mary Oliver left us for a better place. Yet, during Oliver’s life, she gave us many gifts in her poetry and other writings. I began to scour the Internet reading about her life and her poetry. While doing so, I came upon one of my favorites, thanks to a high school English teacher, The Summer Day.
 
For me, the most stunning lines in The Summer Day are the last two:
 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

 
It’s my belief God has slowed me down for a reason. Perhaps so He could shine a light on what I need to be doing more often and with greater intention. And He’s probably asking Himself, “What is taking so long?”
 
Well, there are a few things over which I have no control currently. I firmly believe in God’s understanding and patience much more than I do my own. So, I’ll push forward with this new lifestyle and way of thinking and writing to see where they take me. 

 

 

Time to Act Like a Cat–and Pause

Time to act like a cat–and pause.

Have you ever noticed it doesn’t matter to a cat where it rests or naps? Or when or on what piece of furniture? Or in what position–belly up, draping its legs this way and that? Oh, to be so relaxed that it doesn’t matter.

We humans live under too much stress to act like a cat. Yet, I’m going to try. I managed to do it once before and then lost it.

In 2005, I enjoyed a three-month sabbatical with my last employer. Obviously, it was to my credit that my temperament improved from the law firm and its lawyers. At the end of my time off, my husband announced he had enjoyed my time at home with him. So much so, he had decided it was time for me to retire.

In a few months, I retired.

I haven’t looked back with any regrets. With one exception, retirement has been everything I hoped for. However, I tend to take on too much too often to enjoy any time for me. I’m learning to say the word “no” more often, but not yet well-practiced at saying the word “yes” to myself.

I’ve enjoyed the time to write, but life has gotten in the way of publishing my memoir. And I’m growing tired of blogging and social media. I don’t find joy in any of them at the moment.

That’s why it’s time to pause. Like a cat–right now–today.

November 15th is the beginning of personal time for a while.

I will not be posting to the blog for approximately six weeks. There won’t be a quarterly newsletter until after the first of 2019. I will not be on social media for reasons other than family and keeping up with church and volunteer activities.

I am hoping to get some work done on my manuscript, but I’ll also be preparing myself for a third spine surgery. I want to be in the best physical state possible as I want this surgery to work in easing my pain to some degree and to experience a good recovery.

Thanksgiving and Christmas

To each one of you, I send Thanksgiving and Christmas greetings. I hope the season of gratitude and the season of His birth bring hope, joy, and love in abundance to you and yours.