artist Roger Hutchinson
A bowl of cereal, a new caregiver and a stack of notebooks filled with bills and correspondence – what did these things have in common? They were all in the right place at the wrong time. . Too early in the day to have gathered my defenses, I sat wide-eyed and speechless as a bowl filled with milk and cereal, slipped out of my new assistant’s hand only to land upside down on an ordered stack of paperwork and notebooks. It was a moment when my patience and desire to be in control were challenged beyond words.
I spend a lot of energy creating ‘systems’ that keep the details of my daily life, both items and routines, accessible to me and the people who assist me. When someone has worked with me for a while these systems become familiar, reducing the amount of time necessary to give directions or search for things. It all appears logical and routine until a new person is added to the team.
Certainly the one most challenged is the new assistant. Already on the spot, it is easy to see the anxiety rise as new tasks are introduced.
At least that what I must say to myself. So many details in life are not in my control. If I focused on this fact for too long a wave named ‘overwhelmed’ could quickly wash over me. So I sit in my beautiful home taking deeper breathes to settle my nerves as I help to reassure my assistant and clean up the breakfast spill – one simple direction at a time.
‘I learn whatever state I’m in, therein to be content.’ What an amazing woman, Helen Keller. Her wisdom is my encouragement and for this I give thanks.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here. -
So much of this world is in turmoil. Both far away and very near. Take care not to let it consume you. Along with turmoil there can be a far-reaching sense of scarcity. There are those who have more than they could ever need and others who have nothing. The images we see of people displaced and hungry are heart-breaking and can stir fear.
We have little ‘control’ over the BIG picture. Where can we make a difference?
In our own towns, on our own streets. Here we can help transform the fear of scarcity and danger to the peace of abundance and safety. We share what we have so people can see that “what we need is here”. By showing there is enough, we can plant seeds of hope and the promise of abundance.
Hold a true friend with both hands. (Nigerian Proverb)
True friends are small in number. For good reason — to nurture these relationships we have to build on life-stories shared and experienced together. Small in number, maybe, but these friends shine with the brightest light. By their side, we celebrate joyful moments of our lives. Times filled with promise, hope and celebration. With the strength of their support, we move through difficult of times of our lives. Times blanketed with the darkness of trust broken and the sadness of letting go of the most precious dreams. Whether the times are filled with joy or sadness, we are shield and comforted with a true friend by our side. No need for words just presence – when moments are shared and saved like notes in a diary.
Interesting – this Nigerian proverb does not say how to hold these friends. No description of a tight grip or straightened elbows – just to hold with both hands. Yet certainly, true friends are to be held with intent. Fully aware of the treasure before you, cradling it with the strength of gratitude.
control – who has it? why do we spend so much of our time trying to keep it? Living with the idea that we are somehow in control of our time, our surroundings, our relationships and our own lives can bring frustration and disappointment. we plan and life happens.
I think it may be much easier (and certainly healthier) to move through life with open hands and the ability to let the rushing river flow around you.