Sunday, September 22, 2013

Random Thoughts While Simmering

On this official first day of autumn, I stood at the kitchen counter mixing meatballs and forming them in my hands, chopping onions and garlic, snipping herbs, adding crushed tomatoes to the sauteed seasonings, and stirring the rich sauce slowly as it began to simmer gently on the stove -- mindless tasks, which lend themselves to quiet reflection.  I thought I would share some of the random thoughts which passed through my mind as my hands prepared our Sunday supper.

No matter how deeply you love someone, you can’t make them love you if they don’t.

Think before you speak – hurtful words may be forgiven, but they will always be remembered by the person you hurt.

Be quick to forgive, but don’t feel guilty if you can’t forget. 

Children are our future -- more than anything else, they need our love, our attention, and our guidance.  Material things cannot begin to take the place of a parent's consistent presence.

Everyone looks at the world from a different perspective and interprets things differently, based on his own life experiences.   Don't ever presume to know what another is thinking. 

Life isn’t fair – there is a cute little quote that says if we all took our problems and put them in a basket, we would take our own problems back, or something like that.  I don’t believe it.  Everyone has problems, but some people seem to have many more than their share. 

Everyone handles grief and loss in a different way – don’t be judgmental of others as they grieve.  Listen to them and be kind, and remember that we never completely "get over" the loss of loved ones.  The grief just finds its way to a quiet little place in our hearts where it resides forever.

Try to treat everyone with kindness and respect.  Life is sometimes a circle, and the people we thought we would never see again come back into our lives at some point.  Better they remember us for our kindness than our antagonism. 

Sometimes we meet the right person at the wrong time, and there is nothing we can do about it.  We must resign ourselves to holding them in our hearts instead of our arms.

No matter how strong your opinion is on an issue, always be willing to listen to the views of others – this is how we evolve as individuals, and is the basis for compromise in the larger world.

When the stresses and pain of life engulf you, let the rhythms of nature soothe you -- sit by the water, sniff the flowers, listen to the birds, walk along the shoreline, find peace in the gentle rustling of the tall pines --






Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Week of Nostalgia


Finally tonight I have some quiet hours to sit and ponder the busy week that has passed so quickly.  As the Labor Day Weekend brought summer to an end, my calendar seemed suddenly filled.  While our school district does not begin classes until this coming Monday, my daughter-in-law, who is a teacher, worked on Tuesday and Wednesday, so I had all three of my little ones together again for two full days.  So many memories stirred as I watched them together.  I have taken care of them since Alivia was two months old; now she is six and entering first grade, and Luke will begin kindergarten next week.  Emma -- who was just an infant a heartbeat ago -- is now 2-1/2, and a beautiful little dynamo.  How quickly the time has passed, and how thankful I am that I chose to spend my days with them.  It will be with tear-filled eyes that I send Liv and Luke off to school on Monday and bring my little Emma back to my house. 

On Thursday I attended a funeral for a cousin whom I have met only a few times.  She was so friendly and kind, and I always intended to get together with her, so I could know her better.  And now, she is gone -- I bid her good-bye at her lovely funeral mass, and was filled with regret.  Life is busy and crazy much of the time, and so often we neglect the more distant members of our families, only to feel excruciating sadness as we lose them and realize that we never really took the time to know them. 

On a much happier note, I gathered with several former high school classmates for a "mini-reunion;" it has been forty-five years since we graduated together.  Unbelievable!!  What an enjoyable evening it was.  I was talking recently with friends about our desire as we grow older to reconnect with the friends of our youth.  As I sat at this reunion, thoroughly enjoying the people and the conversations, I realized the bond of memories we all shared.  As we age, we lose grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins -- so many of the people who remember us as a child.  There are fewer people who share our early memories of our school, our town, ourselves. 

This reunion gave us a chance, not only to discover the roads where life has taken each of us, but also to remember and share our impressions of our earlier lives. We remember the same teachers, the music, the gossip. We remind each other of who we were then.  It is a beautiful thing to reconnect not only with these people, but with our shared memories.  We look at each others' aging faces and see in our hearts younger, hopeful faces.  And I am reminded of a lyric from a beautiful country song,

"To me, you will always be eighteen, and beautiful, and dancing away with my heart..."