I was in New York for awhile. One morning I was sitting in the hotel mezzanine upstairs and overheard the following between the man at the front desk and his friend (both from Russia or the Balkans or some place Slavic). HOW you are? boomed the first, big loudness on “how.” I loved the mixed-up syntax. They talked for a time, and then this floated up, capturing my attention again….Well, you know, every day at a time…..which I took to be a sort-0f translation of the 12 step motto….one day at a time. It made me laugh, this version of it, and it made me pause and remember that I can’t control anything, only myself, and sometimes not even that, and that I’m not in charge of the world, and that things happen, things I like and things I don’t, and my job is to keep my eyes on me and keep faith of some kind and get through this day the best I can, this day, not tomorrow, and if I best-I-can enough, most days will meld together to compose a life that has more joy than sorrow, but I don’t get one without the other….that old Kahlil Gibran wisdom….and could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy./And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields./And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.…..
Every day at a time….how you are?
Posted in Before Versailles, Dark Angels, Karleen Koen, life, Now Face to Face, writing
Tagged 12-step wisdom, Houston, in New York, Karleen Koen, remembering 12-step, what I overheard, wisdom I overheard
My plants in outside pots are crushed by Houston’s icy weather, even though they were covered. The succulents look as if they were never fat and tender. Ivies are withered to nothing. I talk with a friend today and find out bids she’d been hoping for have been rejected. The icy economic weather is taking its toll, too. We can withstand so much, and then there’s a breaking point. Our faith cracks, and our hope. Fear or faith. Fear or love, we always choosing one or the other, say the psychologists. I’m going to carefully trim the dead parts off each and every one of my plants. It will be interesting to me to watch them make their comeback. I’ll be excited by the first little tender shows of green. I wish I could trim the hurt from my friend. I know she’ll green again. But does she? Someone said to me over the phone this week, this is a hard planet. Yes, and yes again. What do you do when the wind is not at your back, but pushing against your every step. It makes little blisters in the heart. At the beginning of the week, a group of us looked up an old blessing:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
What do you do when it’s hard, when you’re in the valley, and the high mountains around cover the sunlight? When there is no rain on your fields? Our internal fields are so much more fragile than outside ones. How do you yourself hold the faith?
O, may the road rise to meet you………………..
Posted in Before Versailles, Dark Angels, family, Houston, Karleen Koen, life, love, Now Face to Face, story, story and life, Through A Glass Darkly
Tagged faith, fear, hard times, Houston, how to keep going, Karleen Koen, losing hope, losing your faith, love, what to do when it's hard
Dusting my office shelves, I found a relic of the past crumbling to pieces. It was a tiny clay Halloween pumpkin that my sister made for me when she was 5, and I was 18 and away in my first year of college. She had painted the little clay piece orange and its eyes and mouth green, but it had flattened on the bottom when it dried. She and I both had a hard time that year. She kept running away from her kindergarten class, running all the way home whenever she could. And if I could have run away home, I would have, but I didn’t have her certain, independent, little spirit. How difficult that year was, the first time away from home, few social skills, and certainly no flirting skills. I didn’t know how to fit in, and that’s what I wanted, to fit. What did my sister want? Not to fit? To go her own way? For the teacher not to scare her? Her year was just as hard for her.
The little relic was past repair. It crumbled away when I picked it up. I thought I’d kept it all these years because it was funny looking and dear that it had been given. Only as I write this do I realize the pure love it contained. Sweet, sweet little sister.
Posted in Before Versailles, character, Dark Angels, family, history, Houston, Karleen Koen, love, Now Face to Face, sisters, story and family, theme, Through A Glass Darkly
Tagged college, family, family memories, family memory, going off to college, kindness of sisters, my little sister, siblings, the meaning of things, what family means