A Morning On TV, An Afternoon at the Vet’s, An Evening of Prayer

I had a great time interviewing with WHEC TV 10 mid day anchor Pat McGonigle today! I was promoting my new book which will be released Sept 21. I hope you read it and let me know how you feel about it. There will be more information to share in the coming weeks.

Then it was back to reality as we took all three dogs and the cat to the veternarian’s office to get their updated shots, heartworm and flea medications. Of course, it started to rain heavily before we got into the car, so it now smells like wet dog, wet humans and soggy medications.

In the middle of simple dinner this warm summer evening, we received a phone we knew would eventually come. My husband’s aunt, finally succumbing to yet another stroke, was ready to say goodbye.

Still tender from the loss of my own mother barely three months ago, we raised our gin & tonics to the woman who was mothered him when he needed it, laughed at his jokes and sat happily at our wedding.

Life is full of wonderful surprises, compromises and sadness. Its not unusual to experience it all in one day.

Don’t be afraid to embrace them all

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Kids and Ficus

I have a Ficus plant which stands about 4 feet tall and sits in my living room.  It was the kind of plant you can buy from a garden store, a bunch of green leaves stuck into potting soil and secured in a green plastic container about three inches around.  When I bought it over twenty years ago, it didn’t look much bigger than a small potted basil plant.   I  watered it with love and put it on the kitchen window sill, bathing it in the sun.

Every time I look at it I am amazed it is still around, thick and lush and growing stronger every day, not succumbing to my ineptitude.  I have never been much of a green thumb, and the only plant I have not killed over the years is this hardy warrior. In fact, my beloved just transplanted it from a large pot to the size of an outdoor trash barrel. It was time.

In 1985 I remembered showing it to a neighbor, so proud of myself that I had nurtured it to be about 5 inches tall. 

“If you give it a bigger pot, it will grow bigger” she advised.  “It just needs more room to grow.”

Cautiously and slowly, I transferred the Ficus plant to a larger container.  It grew twice its size around the small stems in the course of six months.  It seemed like it couldn’t grow fast enough and was making up for lost time.

My children grew up right along side this sturdy plant.  They watched me as I tended to each, year after year, as I watered it with love.  It eventually made its way off of the kitchen windowsill to a place on the coffee table in the living room, to an eventual pot on the floor. They and it survived transplants to different pots and different houses, each of them breaking off some of the leaves as they grew, but surviving the bumps and bruises which was part of their lives, growing into the sturdy trees they would become.

One of my sons is moving this week to New Jersey.  It is a great opportunity for more growth and maturity, not to mention help in securing a better future for himself and his family. As sad as I am for them to all leave, I recognize it is the inevitability of the times we live in, the price of living a good life and just the adventure of starting a new life over in a new town, or exploring the unknown outside their own little patch of dirt. 

I will miss them all, but I know it is time. My son simply needs a bigger pot in which to grow bigger.  I have watered him and his siblings with love and they are ready to find their own pots in which to grow even stronger.  Like my hardy Ficus, I look forward to witnessing when the next transplant will occur.

Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking a lot about forgiveness lately, and what it really means.

It appears to be the ultimate test of character and faith to endure and survive such occurrences that make us question the very foundation of our character.  We are who we are because of the circumstances we are thrown into, and how we survive those situations.  In fact, it is not the situations themselves that form us, but how we react to them.   Others observing these situations may even benefit from the struggle to overcome and understand them.

There have been two separate instances of two different people in my life of late that have filled me with such sorrow and resentment it seemed impossible to ever really let go of what fueled it.   But it has been proven, once again, that sometimes we really don’t have as much control over the outcome as we think we might.

I know in my heart that I have already forgiven those who have asked for it.  To deny such forgiveness gives me power over them, a power I really don’t want.  I don’t want revenge or leverage; I don’t want to be holding all the cards or to have the last word.  I want it to be left in the past and not kept in the corner like a wayward pet.  I don’t want to take it out and shine it up every now and then, to refuel or recharge the anger, or renew the hurt associated with it.   Bitterness is a seductive suitor who is no longer welcome at my house.  Facing the interlopers at eye level and staring them down makes us stronger than we ever thought we could be.

Some acts are truly despicable and can only be forgiven by our creator.  Repeated actions are the symptoms of a larger problem and without remorse are not an act of repentance.

It may be one of the hardest gestures you will have to endure; but it is far better than the ultimate decision to harden our hearts to tolerance and understanding.  To hold on to hatred and regret poisons the soul and depletes our good karma.   It is the straight jacket from which we can never escape.

We have the power to relieve the burden of those seeking the forgiveness to do so with the simplest of gestures.  A genuine smile, a reassuring embrace, are all gifts we can give to those seeking it, as well as giving it to ourselves.

Jesus forgave; how can we not.  It does not demean us or make us look weak.  It strengthens our resolve to be better people, to forge ahead and make a future we can be proud of.

The past is the past because it has.

“He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.