Friday, February 24, 2017

The Aftermath

I had a car accident on Saturday afternoon at 1:17 after I had a glorious, serene walk in the woods at Sharon Woods.  I was driving on Maple Canyon road across Dublin Granville Rd with a green light and a car came across the service road and was right in front of me.  I braked hard and fast but I still hit the car and damaged both cars.

There were a lot of "at leasts" in this event.  At least the police were right and saw everything. At least no one was hurt. At least my car was driveable.  At least I have good insurance.  The other driver who - still believes he had the right of way! - did not have insurance and neither did his girl friend whose car he was driving.  But it has all been manageable.

So on Monday morning I called my insurance and got the names of suggested body shops and Chuck has gotten us three quotes and soon my car will be repaired.

I have learned some new information since then.  Monday the accident report was filed and I was immediately inundated by phone calls from body shops offering to give me quotes and work it so I either got cash back or did not have to pay my deductible.  Also chiropractors have been calling as well.  And every day in the mail there are more advertisements from attorneys.  (yesterday there were 5!) This has all been a revelation to me that there is such a strong industry in guiding people in how to get the most from their insurance. Or to sue other people.  The whole thing makes me very uncomfortable.  It seems  like the dark underbelly of what can be tragic circumstances in a person's life.

Yesterday I was in the car stopped at a light at the corner of Karl Road and 161 and heard in the distance the faint sound of an ambulance.  I felt my whole body tighten as I opened the windows.  I could not at first determine where the ambulance was coming from - behind me? beside me?  Where was it?  Finally it came into view and I waited while it sped by.  when I saw there were no more emergency vehicles coming I went on my way.

I think part of the aftermath is that I feel kind of jumpy and unsure.  The reality is that we cannot control everything that is happening to us when we are driving.  There are a lot of reasons why accidents happen and often we cannot prevent them.  We just have to experience them.  Deal with them and keep going.

And, of course, I am thinking about more than just car accidents.  I am face to face with the basic instability that is part of every person's life.  The reality is that there is so much that we cannot control and what I keep learning is that all I can do is TRY to live in the present and experience it fully. Seeing what is beautiful as well as what is not.  And choose to trust that God is present in all of it - loving, healing and guiding.  That is what gives me peace.

Before the accident when I was walking in the woods I was listening to a book by Pema Chodren.  She was writing about the process and the gift of equanimity which - ironically - I really felt I experienced in that moment.  But what I know is that these peaceful feelings are wonderful as long as they last - until the next hard occasion.  But they will return again as I return to life giving practices.

Here is a wonderful quote by Pema Chodren
“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. 
We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. 
They come together and they fall apart.
 Then they come together again and fall apart again.
 It’s just like that.
 The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen:
                                             room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Creation is the first Bible

This is the title of one of the readings from last week as I continue to work my way through the daily devotions of "A Spring Within us" by Richard Rohr.

He quotes Romans where Paul writes:

"What can be known about God is perfectly plain, since God has made it plain.  Ever since God created the world, God's everlasting power and divinity, however invisible have been there for the mind to see in the things God has made."  Romans 1: 19-20

And Richard Rohr mades the point that everyday we are given a natural way to connect with God  that is not dependent on the Bible, or education or even belief in a specific religion.  It is the gift of this world that is always there for us to see, to contemplate, to respect (re-spect - see a second time)

Saturday I made a point of going to one of my favorite places to walk in nature - the wooded 1 mile path at Sharon Woods.  I usually walk it twice - sometimes stopping to sit on a bench to just contemplate what I see.  Afterwards, I usually spend time by the lake and am often mesmerized by the water, the sky, and the ducks and geese.  Earlier in the week Rohr had quoted Paul again who wrote "From the beginning until now, the entire creation has been groaning in ne great act of giving birth."  Or in other words - when we look at creation we see a mirror of our own condition.  God creates things that continue to create and recreat themselves from the "inner dynamism" God has planted within them.

So, Saturday I had a beautiful time by myself on a warm day in which I spent time with the february bare trees, and the brown of the woods and the signs of autumn that was gone and spring that was coming.  Always, I find myself thinking that we are always in a state of "becoming."  We are, of course becoming older which is a distinctly mixed blessing - but we are also becoming - hopefully - wiser, more aware, and creative .  At least I pray that is the case.

This week we are blessed with warmer than usual weather and I am grateful for the opportunity to admire the variety of God's handiwork.  There was a song that came to me as I walked - "everything is beautiful - in its own way."  After a vacation in the Caribbean and time spent in the southwest, one doesn't usually think of a bare forest in Ohio as beautiful. What I keep learning is that if I shut the noise out and truly open myself up to the air, to the trees, the wonder of the sky and the animals I encounter the holiness of creation.  Evertthing belongs and everything is beautiful.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

A New Project for 30 days

Writing and receiving letters from my husband.

I just returned this week from a week in Phoenix spending time with my friend Susan and her husband, Ken.  She shared with me a practice that she and Ken engaged in last month.  She had the idea that it might be nice to write letters to each other for 30 days.  And that is what they did.

Susan and Ken were married in 1971 and I can still remember being her bridesmaid.  Their marriage - like all of ours - has its joys and struggles and I really think she was inspired by this idea.  They shared with me what a gift it was for them as it offered opportunities for thinking about each other on a daily basis and taking the time to write what was on their mind.  She assured me that one of the ground rules was that it was not meant to be a time to air grievances or give "corrections" but just to share their thoughts.

I am very intrigued by this.  After 21 years of marriage, Chuck and I have times when we may spend time together but not really talk with each other in more than a cursory or informational way.  So, when I came home I suggested it to him and he assented.  In a Chuck way - wondering if we could do postcards or post it notes.  I insisted this was about doing something a little "deeper" and "more intentional" so he was game to try.

Yesterday we want to office max to buy our supplies for the month - cards, envelopes, pens and tablets (in case we write more than a card worth.)  Today was the first day and by noon there was a card for me and a card for him on the dining room table.  His message was short and sweet and mine was longer and more serious - but that is us.  My guess is that this is going to be an interesting project.

I write this to encourage other couples to try it out.  Susan and I are both going to suggest to our friends and family members to try and to see where it leads us.  Like I always say about "Reiki" - it can't hurt and it might even help.

So, we began today and who knows what missives are coming in the next 29 days.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Back in Ohio Again

      There is too much to write after more than two weeks away from this blog.  I have been on both a Caribbean Cruise and a trip to Phoenix where I went to an Enneagram Conference.  So, there is much that has happened - rest and relaxation, trips to exotic places, the blessing of friends and family and intellectual inspiration.  Plus through it all I remain fascinated, perplexed, and disturbed by what is happening with the Trump administration.

But for now I will just reflect on the blessing of the cruise.  We traveled on Holland American and spent the extra $$$ to have a balcony and it was ALL GOOD.  There is something so freeing about getting up in the morning and sitting with a cup of coffee and looking out on the endless sky and the mysterious sea beneath.  I wrote every day and felt blessed by the opportunities that the whole cruise provided.

One of the most different offerings on this cruise was "Lincoln Center" which was a string quartet that played almost every day with piano accompaniment.  I could not get over how much I loved and was transported by these wonderful musicians.  There is something that touches my soul in classical music and with the strings that is beyond words.  So, their concerts were among the highlights of the trip for me.

We did the things we love to do - reading,  playing cards and games, playing trivia and of course, eating delicious meals.  And of course, with no schedule and often  in a most beautiful setting at the top deck of the ship.

My favorite port in the eastern Caribbean is San Juan Puerto Rico and Marsha and I walked and walked in the city.  I loved that we frequently just stopped and sat on a bench and looked out at the beauty of this island.  I have a favorite store that is the "Poet's Passage" and found it again this year. I believe it is owned by Lady Lee Andrews whose books of poetry and sayings and poems are throughout the store.   I bought two tiles which are wonderful souvenirs reminding me of the gift of writing. In the past I bought tiles that said this:

"You have to love a lot to write a little.

" True love is A friend That walks with you
   When you need to see the rain.

I have had them in my office at church and now in my prayer room at home.  I have added two more:

" "Faith is brightest in the dark.
And, Light has Called my Name

"Patience makes Love rich."

The second one really speaks to me as I continue in my marriage to Chuck after 21 years.  If there is anything I keep learning - it is that patience is really what makes everything work.  And it is in the slowing down, waiting and reflecting that I realize how blessed I am - not only with him but with this life I have been given.  But patience continues to be my "growing edge."

Anyway, more later about more.  But for now I celebrate a wonderful week away.