heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 2 of 7: Just the two of us

(Image via Wikimedia Commons)
“Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends.”
– Harville Hendrix

I have one best friend. He’s the person who has journeyed with me – through heaven, purgatory and hell (figuratively speaking, of course) for almost 4 decades. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our ups and downs. Neither one of us is easy to live with… but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just the two of us – and our cats. And we’re happy that way. We enjoy each other’s company – the most.  When we sit down for dinner – whether at home or at a restaurant – we have long conversations. There’s always something to discuss, dreams to share, plans to be made.

But over the years, we’ve noticed that other people – with children and extended family – seem to feel sorry that it’s “just the two of us.”  Some well-meaning friends and family members (all of whom live miles and oceans away) can’t seem to grasp that we spend holidays (like Christmas and Thanksgiving) with “just the two of us” and that it’s actually our choice to do so. Others perceive it to be a lonely existence. But that is their perception – which is entirely subjective. It’s not the reality. Well, it may be theirs, but not ours.

We choose to live the way we do. It works for us. We are a family of two. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful poem by Spiritwind Wood.

Let’s Grow Old Together – a Poem by Spiritwind Wood

Let’s sit underneath the open sky
and watch the night just pass us by
let’s me and you dream of the now
and don’t worry about tomorrow
you know we will make it somehow

Let us talk about our plan
two lover’s hand in hand
and let’s grow old together

Let’s let go of all the past
all the tears and all the sorrow
let’s dream through a desert so wide and vast
slow down and not take life so fast

Let’s let the sun shine down on you and me
where we will always be forever
and let’s grow old together

Let’s stop and feel the wind blow
through the canyon’s of it’s echo
ride with me through life and it’s beauty
two soul’s bound to be free

Let’s forget about days of yesterday
start anew another day
never to look back into the never
and let’s grow old together

(Spiritwind ©2014)

(Image via Pixabay.com)

 

A perspective on life and loss

Recent political developments in the United States have caused quite a stir across the globe.  Social media is flooded with comments and rantings from both sides of the political spectrum. I myself have contributed to this “animated” discussion. But when someone (be it a friend or a family member) passes away in the middle of all the histrionics, everything screeches to a halt. It’s amazing how quickly we re-align our priorities…. because, at the end of the day, it’s family and friends that really count the most.

There will be other elections. Other presidents. What is done in one term can be undone in another. So, let’s chill out and focus on what really matters.

This post is dedicated to all of our loved ones who have gone too soon. And to the families and friends who are left behind to grieve their loss.

I love the poetry and writings of Kahlil Gibran and I always take the wisdom of his words to heart.

I hope you do, too.

On Death
by Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

heatherfromthegrove’s New Year’s Revelation No 1 of 7: It all begins and ends with Family

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“The family is the nucleus of civilization.”

Will Durant

swirly2

Happy New Year everyone!

This year, the inspiration for my New Year’s “Revelations” stem from some of the experiences, life events and lessons learned in the past year.

For me, it was – as Charles Dickens wrote (in A Tale of Two Cities) – “the best of times, it was the worst of times…. it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

And with each year comes more wisdom.

I hope that some or all of these revelations resonate with you.

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It all begins and ends with Family. It forms the core of our belief system and is the springboard from which we go on to conduct the rest of our lives.  Family supersedes nationalistic ideals, political aspirations and even religious dogma.  Family. Is. Everything. Well, at least it should be.

In a Utopian world, the family should be a “safe harbor” where we are loved, cherished, encouraged, and understood. It is an entity that should be devoid of judgment, jealousy, gossip, or hatred and replete with loyalty, familiarity – a strong sense of shared history and kinship. It is a clanship which fosters collaboration over divisiveness. In a Utopian world.

There are some who are blessed with an idyllic family.

There are others whose families do not withstand the passage of time and who crack or even fall apart when tested by hardship or tragedy.

Sadly, there are still more who are born into dysfunctional, damaged, and abusive families.

And then there are those who are left adrift – with no family at all.

“There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.”

– C. JoyBell C.

My husband and I have built, for over three decades, that safe harbor we call our intimate family. It’s just the two of us… and all the beloved four-legged creatures who inhabit our house. This “safe harbor” has withstood the passage of time, despite many storms and even some typhoons. We are weather-beaten but happy sailors in this journey that is our life. Unfortunately, we have witnessed a few wreckages along the way.

“There is no greater blessing than a family hand that lifts you from a fall; but there is not lower curse than a family hand that strikes you when you’re down.”    

– Wes Fessler

And, as we all know, blood does not necessarily form a family bond. Families can be born from the heart… by choice. However the connection is formed, the important thing is to understand and maintain the true notion of Family.

We may not live in a Utopian world… but we can (and should) certainly strive to get there.

“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”

Alex Haley

Some Book Recommendations:

Family Values: The Ethics of Parent-Child Relationshipsby Harry Brighouse & Adam Swift

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Why Can’t We Get Along: Healing Adult Sibling Relationshipsby Peter Goldenthal

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Photo via pdpics.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving Prayer: Remember the hungry, the jobless, the homeless and the suffering

A Thanksgiving Prayer

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.
Amen.

Samuel F. Pugh

Images of praying hands and Thanksgiving dinner via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Life Is Precious

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“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.”    ― Author Unknown

Life is precious.

Our journey in life is finite, which is why it’s so important to appreciate each day, to savor what we have and whom we surround ourselves with.  A sunny day, a fresh rainfall, the sound of trees swaying in a summer breeze… these are the things we sometimes take for granted.

Here today, gone tomorrow.

I have a handful of friends and family members who wake up each morning, prepared to fight the battle of their lives, just so they can live another day… be with the people they love, do the things they most enjoy.  Their enemy? Cancer.  These people have become warriors and their  spirits shine through their resolve.  They are acutely aware of  how truly precious life is.

Recently, a colleague was diagnosed with Stage II Parkinson’s Disease.  This diagnosis has rocked his world…  and not in a good way.  Suddenly, the time he thought he had ― to do the things he needed and wanted to do ― has been ripped away from him.  A man who is always in control now finds himself out of control.  He is scrambling to reprioritize and to figure out how to prolong the inevitable.  And he makes sure to tell his children, each day, how much he loves them.

Yesterday, we (my husband and I) received shocking news that a former colleague had died this past December ― of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).  He was a good, vibrant, intelligent man.  His wife and two children, family and loads of friends mourn his loss.

Yes, life is precious.

Don’t waste one singular moment.

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”     ― Jack London, American Author

 

for Auld Lang Syne

♦ ♦ ♦ By John Masey Wright (1777–1866, artist) John Rogers (c. 1808-c. 1888, engraver) Adam Cuerden (1979–, restorationist) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons ♦ ♦ ♦

In previous years, I posted my “for Auld Lang Syne” blogs to commemorate those who have passed away.  This year, however, I decided to make it a celebration of the living —  those dear family, friends and acquaintances who have shared part of our history and who have created memories with us.

These are the people who have laughed and cried with us, played and fought, shared food, drink and stories…  all in good times, and in bad.  Some have come into our lives for only a chapter or two, but – wow – we had a blast!  Others have stayed the course.  And, a select few have been there from the beginning and will likely remain until the very end. 

We must bow our heads in fervent, heartfelt appreciation for each and every one of them.

This beloved Scottish poem,  written by Robert Burns in 1788 and now a traditional folk song that many of us play (and sing along to) when ushering in a New Year at the stroke of midnight, is really about these “auld acquaintances” whom we shall never forget.  We celebrate them (and us)… for old time’s sake.  Robert Burns (imagine the delightful Scottish burr) articulates the sentiment far better than I:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
and surely I’ll be mine! And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS