July 11, 2012
Busy Life Choices
I don't honestly know how things get so busy. I think I spend more time in my days making choices between doing this or that than I would like to do. I was supposed to go to Karen Kennell's wedding this last weekend. Unfortunately, it was not in our church but on Vashon Island. When I responded "yes" to the invitation, I didn't know James would be in residence, I didn't know that our Restructure committee would have a big presentation at the congregational meeting on Sunday, I certainly didn't know that my co-chair (in charge of the Power Point) would have to unexpectedly fly back to North Carolina for her father-in-law's funeral, and I didn't know that the South Seattle bridge would be closed temporarily and that it would take over four hours each way to get to Vashon - not counting waiting for ferries. It became clear that something had to go -- and so I chose not to go to the wedding -- which made all the rest of the responsibilities possible.
I've been tearing apart my guest bathroom which has been in limbo ever since we took down the second chimney to make more space for my kitchen remodel. My little radiator was smack dab in front of all this lovely virgin space which could be used for a linen closet, but it was questionable if it could be moved and refitted without something breaking. Since the heat is off for the summer, we finally attempted the move which worked just fine. I don't have to buy a new radiator -- just moved the old one over a few feet and back towards the wall. Then Keith came over and we took the old surround off the wall around the tub and chipped away the plaster down to the lath -- and after he left, I cleaned up the big mess and hauled stuff to the dump heavy bag by heavy bag. The point to all this is that it is glorious outside, my gardening has come to a halt, and I've been inside working on the bathroom because we began moving ahead once again while the heat was off.
Gardening really has taken its toll this year. Either it was raining for days and weeks every time I had a moment or two, or I had other responsibilities. I do a morning of gardening and just get under way when I put it aside for a week (or two) and leave piles of stuff here and there. I can't seem to just get it all done for the summer -- and summer is well under way. I won't get it done until summer is over and it is too late to plant anything. I did get some pots finished. But, not nearly what I usually do. My idea of writing this summer has also gone by the wayside.
The point of all this is that sometimes I just sway to the moment and let life take over instead of taking charge of life. I put things in my calendar that take my time and then I respond to those with whatever is needed -- a visit to a friend, a luncheon here and there, cooking food to take to a dinner party, meeting some responsibility -- whatever needs to be done to suit the occasion. And, sometimes life gets so busy that I ignore important things like walking, writing, dieting, relaxing, etc. It isn't that I'm not having a good time, it is that I'm not in charge of the time I'm having -- or it doesn't feel like it.
I just figure it all out -- I need a vacation!
July 4, 2012
I've always been independent. I'm lucky that way. It may be an accident of birth or the configuration of my family. I was a middle child but my siblings were 8 years older and 6 years younger. I floated alone in the middle -- on my mother's radar but free from her first child worries and her third child's babyhood. I roamed the neighborhood with a pack of boys, playing baseball and Canasta with the gang from morning to evening during the summers, out after breakfast and in for dinner and perhaps grabbing a sandwich in between if I was hungry. "Hi mom, bye mom" was my summer mantra. In a traditional marriage with a husband who was more gone than home (except for wonderful family vacations), having a profession that I knew I could go back to when my children were grown, having enough income to feel secure, if not wealthy (by American standards, that is), and having no fetters on my right to express my own opinions, I was a pretty happy-go-lucky girl.
I didn't live in poverty. I didn't live in the 18th century in a restrictive religious environment. My parents did not burden me with a whole lot of shoulds or should-nots. I was the first in my family to attend college. I went to work when I was 15 because the local department store owner offered me a job in sportswear. I earned lots of my own spending money which went during the year on clothes and in December on Christmas gifts for my family. I went to the movies every Saturday and some years to church on Sunday. My extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins gathered at my house (or theirs) every Saturday for the men to help each other build or plant or just sit around the table enjoying one another while we cousins played. I married the person I chose and raised the amount of children I wished. I was blessed with musical talent and was gifted with a brain that could think fairly well. I live in, what I imagined, was the most wonderful country on earth which made me hugely patriotic.
I didn't ask for any of this. If I earned it, it was because of the God given gifts I received at birth. I feel that way about our country on this July 4th. We have been given great gifts by our founding parents, who dedicated their lives for our freedom to live in abundance and security. We seem to have lost the ability to be truly grateful and honor these things. Hubris weaves its way through our politics. Leaders use the system for their own ends. News becomes entertainment and propaganda. Self interest and profit win over altruism and cooperation. Differences of opinion lead to the distortion of truth and even slander instead of healthy debate. Prejudice and bigotry continue to undergird our very fabric. Pompous asses, who love the sound of their own bites, flood the airwaves. Citizens swallow hype in great gulps because we prefer drama to truth and appearance to substance. Few politicians have the best interest of the country as their goal. If they did, they would not vote solely in their own self interest and along party lines. Gone are the days when any little child could grow up to become president. Millions are spent to misalign fellow candidates and undermine opponents while, God forbid, 20% of American children live in poverty. In fact, we as citizens no longer appear to honor the office of president of the United State despite our politics. Where are our values? Where are our priorities? What happened to the heart of America?
It's an illusion that we are now living in a great country --it doesn't look so great to me at this moment. I want my grandchildren to have the same opportunities that I had, but I fear it won't be so. Our statistics show us to be aligned with third world countries in our education, our cost of health care, and our addictions. 1% of our citizens own over 1/3 of the wealth -- higher than ever before in our history. We should be ashamed of ourselves on this 4th of July. I pray that those of us that value freedom can, like our ancestors who founded this country, begin to right the ship that is listing and bring it back to the center so that it might sail on for another two hundred and fifty years. That it can truly be a government of the people, by the people, and FOR the people. For ALL the people, not just a very few.
That's my hope and prayer for today.