2019 has been a bear so far

An interesting insight I’ve obtained from having two family members die within 2 months from one another:

This thing is too big to handle in the usual way.

If you don’t know what I mean, think about what you do when something small, and say, more than an annoyance, but less than catastrophic happens in your life. We usually have a comfort zone of how we handle things. I, for example, will generally take refuge in books (generally something that has a half-clothed duke or baron on the cover holding a wind-swept, but lovely lady) and hunker down, waiting for the storm to pass.

When your brother dies, and then your mom dies, all the Julia Quinn in the world isn’t going to help. This is when we have to think about our resources, and not just put out fires, but watch for a hint of smoke, a hard, dry wind, and try to keep the yard damp.

Instead of my usual MO, I’ve called in my people (and there are so many of you!), and returned those phone calls of love, and responded to those texts, and gone to the acupuncturist. I took a couple of weeks off of teaching, am continuing bereavement leave from my other job, and cancelled volunteer engagements that I was already committing myself to for the new school year. My usual way was not, and is not going to cut it here. I have the grief to deal with, but I am also the executor to my mom’s estate, and I have to say, it’s a horrible and onerous job.

But friends, I’m back to teaching, and available again. And for all of you that I’ve heard from, thank you from the very bottom of my heart. I am loved. Thank goodness.

We are the world

Listening to all the crazy rhetoric going around these days reminded me of an experience that I had nearly a decade ago. As a full time librarian, one of the best projects I ever got to do was a big outreach program to adult learners. These people were amazing. All of them worked hard, and jumped in with both feet. I remember meeting one Mexican immigrant to our country who worked cleaning offices from 10 pm until 4 in the morning, then went to his landscaping job from 5 am until noon. Then he went to school to get his GED and improve his English literacy skills, then got some sleep before returning to work. In this project, I met with people who were getting their GEDs, becoming medical assistants, were just learning adult literacy skills, English, dental assisting, all kinds of stuff. I got to present to about 500 adult learners over the course of this project.

It was the end of the term, and the Director of the organization invited me to the ELL (English Language Learners) and Citizenship end of year party and presentation. For their big finale, about 70 students crowded up on stage together to sing “We are the World” complete with waving arms that were meant to be synchronized, but really weren’t. Some arms waved overhead to the left, some right, some bumped into other arms. What was universal was that everyone on that stage, from Iran to China to Russia had the most glowing faces that were beaming with pride. All of a sudden, it was as if my vision shifted and I saw everyone with the love of perfect Creation, as if I was looking through the eyes of God, or the Maker, or Supreme Consciousness. My heart and my eyes sprang forth, one welling with love, the other with tears for the beauty of it all.

After the ceremony, everyone tromped off the stage, beaming with their shared experience, receiving their American flags. And they were proud. And I was overcome. That day, I felt like I saw into their hearts, and saw with God’s heart.