Refocus. Family crap is crap. Not gonna ruin my night. Refocus: The backyard pond. The Edison lights stretching across the fire pit, wired to the 50′ Christmas pines we planted in 1994, the year we moved in. An unexpected rain shower expected in exactly six minutes. The icy glass of fresh orange juice with a splash of Tito’s. The pea/lentil soup I made in between grading and cleaning the house. The Awesome New Friend I made, Mohamed, the auto detailer, who came to my home and turned my Luna Bella Blu into my new 2001 Eurovan Camper Joy! He shared his wisdom and insight about some of the crazy stuff going on in the world.
Flash present: Redirection. Ownership of self.
Of late, Mary Oliver’s poem keeps replaying in my mind: “Then the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice, ‘Mend my life’ and you were determined to do the only thing you could do.” And this is where I paraphrase: Save the only life you could save. Your own.
I am gifted (think verb) challenges, just like everyone else. They make me mad, but I realize there is a treasure embedded in frustration. It’s called choice. So today, instead of getting upset, hurt that my daughter told me I wasn’t welcome to her 39th birthday party (mind you, I paid for and attended her two other 39th B-Day parties), I placed my thoughts and attention on my world. As I said, I completed the tasks I needed to complete, and had joy taking ownership of my space.
And now as the weekend of service, reflection and growth ends, being a loving grandmother, friend, partner, citizen and imperfect mother, I return to the Written Page–myself–a stabilizing force during a perpetually destabilizing time. I am grateful for the sky and calm breeze, jacket-wearing weather, my new/old kissable clean car, a vocation that gives me focus and purpose, and Tuesday–Jury Duty, a paid day away from the classroom, hours to read, organize, figure out Instagram and Dream about Retirement.
And, if I’m really lucky, I’ll do my civic duty and serve on a jury for a solid week. Can’t wait to experience the entire process.
Which reminds me, strangely enough, of the WWII service men and women who assembled and piloted the WWII vintage planes I had the privilege of visiting this weekend at a local air show. Touring them, watching the beautiful old beasts take off and land, made my eyes well up with gratitude: These veterans loved us that much that they sacrificed their lives.
Reminding me, once again, that there are more important things than family squabbles. Refocus. It’s a new week.