On my drive home today, I saw an elderly person weeding their front yard.
I was reminded of something that had a profound effect on me almost four years ago.
It was a time when it was imperative I get out of self. That I reach out and be of service to others.
Summer in the desert, and I noticed an old woman on my street tending to her weeds. It was hot. In the mid 120’s.
I parked, set my belongings inside and walked up the street to her house and called out.
She didn’t hear me.
She looked up from her crouched position, and from under her sun hat met my gaze.
I was eager and just knew that she would think I was wonderful.
“May I help you weed your yard?”
I waited a beat – smile on my face.
“No thank you.” She said, with a peaceful smile on her own face.
I wasn’t expecting that.
I gauged her expression a moment to be sure she really didn’t want my help … bid her a good day and went home.
It hadn’t dawned on me for even a second, that perhaps she was content in her task.
That perhaps she enjoyed what she was doing.
Or that she knew how much more satisfied she would be when the sun went down, looking out at her weed-free yard, that she had done the work.
I have never forgotten her or that moment.
It was an epiphany of sorts for me.
I’ve heard people speak of what they would do if they won the lottery:
“I’d give some to my family and friends.”
“I’d buy my children houses.”
“I’d find needy people and help them.”
Such a noble and selfless intention – yet …
Don’t we have to be careful who we help and how?
Am I doing it for them or me?
Am I helping? Hindering? Enabling?
Are they making an effort to help themselves? Still have lessons to learn to strengthen them for hard times yet to come?
This comes to mind:
I personally think life IS always beautiful, (maybe not always what you want it to be, but still beautiful) but I agree with the rest.
Struggles do make you stronger. And grateful.
If you just hand someone a house – are they going to cherish it? Will it mean as much to them as it would to someone who saved for years to buy one?
Hand-ups and hand-outs have such a fine dividing line!
It’s hard to know who to help.
Harder still when you don’t know if they’ve struggled – if they are too fragile to have to struggle – if they’ve been put in your path to bestow a blessing on?
Personally, I can look back and I know without doubt, that I am grateful for my struggles.
I’ve been VERY prideful. And I’m trying to get over that and accept help when it makes sense. When the help doesn’t rob me of my spiritual and emotional growth.
Because, my life has blossomed from the weeds.
And I see weeds as blossoms.
Beauty in every thing, every person and every moment.
I’ve learned to focus on these things.
Stay in those moments – no matter how fleeting – to feel them and move forward with a positive attitude and an open mind and heart.
I look upon life with grateful eyes – a students mind and a peaceful heart.
And I’m so glad I struggled.
And I so love those who helped me along the way – and I love those who did not.
It has been a perfect morning.
I walked into the laundromat today with happy in my heart and relaxed in my step. ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ was playing on the laundromat’s radio. I greeted the lady who works behind the counter – noticing her bright pink top. “Hi” I said, “I like your top!” “Thank you” she smiled.
She walked away with a hint of a smile still on her lips as I grabbed my cash card with the yellow wrist coil. I always pick yellow if it’s available.
I loaded five dollars onto the card and toted my laundry over to my favorite machines.
And here I sit at my favorite spot about to share my morning with you.
I’m reading an amazing book ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls. My friend Betty gave it to me to borrow last week.
I love that I have friends who enjoy a good book. I love the fact that they think of me when they’re finished with that same book.
I woke at 7 this morning. I slept in. After making a pot of coffee and letting the dog outside, I crawled back into bed to read.
A little while later, after retrieving a cup of the freshly brewed coffee, feeding the dog and laying back down on my bed – Nic appeared in my room.
“Hey” I said, as I let my book holding arm flop down onto the bed.
He joined me and rested his head on my chest. I put my free arm around him, patting his back.
We lay there, quietly, as he blinked at the wall.
“What are you thinking about?”
“The words on the painting … looks like it says Edward Woot”
I shifted my gaze to the painting as he continued,, “I think it is Woot”.
We both knew it wasn’t. But we considered the painting until we were joined by the dog.
“Aw! Now the whole family is here!” I said.
We focused our quiet gazes on Butters. Then back to nothing. Just enjoying the moment.
Not a thing was lost on me. I held carefully and quietly in my heart the following thoughts, not wanting them to disappear.
I held the gratitude that my son still looks for me in the morning. That he likes me and wants to have a moment with me. I held the joy that we were both looking at a painting together – one he gave me for Christmas – that we both appreciate art. I savored the fact that I was holding a book – that I get such immense pleasure from reading. I was grateful for my ‘boy’ in my arms and my dog at our feet.
I digested everything about that moment – while managing to stay in it.
Our silence gave way to laughter when Butters started nibbling on her leg and I announced it was obviously bath day.
By the look of the sky, I needed to take care of that quickly. The clouds outside were grey and looked heavy with rain. I suggested to Nic that we could just pour her shampoo over her and put her out when the rain began.
I got up instead and carried my 70 pound, hairy, leg nibbling manatee into the tub.
What began as a bath for Butters gave way to cleaning – I threw myself into the task, taking the large rug from the kitchen outside so I could wash the floor. Of course, Nic took that opportunity to make himself something to eat. His timing is impeccable. I worked around him – so very grateful to have a kitchen to clean. And too grateful for the food and my son to be annoyed by his timing.
Satisfied with the clean dog, the clean house and my fed and occupied son I took my turn in the tub. So grateful for the soothing stream of water on my back.
I’ll be making a small pork roast today – and enjoying my son in between his games and the book in between time with my son.
And speaking of that book – the friend that loaned it to me finished a particularly difficult book this morning (due to the content.) She commented to me:
“By the way, I finished the horrible one I was reading this a.m. I had to see how it ended and be done with it. I learned a grocery cart in Great Britain is a trolley. I was trying to find some lil gems in it to get through it :)”
I love that she said that. That’s what we do isn’t it? Look for the gems when things are tough? Well it’s what we should do.
I replied to her:
“There’s always a silver trolley if you look hard enough.”
Christmas Eve is my favorite day. The day before. The day when my son can barely stand the anticipation anymore. I can barely stand it either to be fair – I choose his gifts with a lot of thought and can’t wait to see him open them.
But I can wait. That day before – is when all the magic is still hanging in the air. The ‘unknown’ is still unknown. The wrapping is still holding in its secrets.
I absolutely adore having something to be excited about.
The meaning of Christmas aside – after the gifts have been opened and the boxes revealed – feels (to me anyway) like it’s all over.
I love the build up. The spirit of the approaching holiday.
Today was special too. No matter what the gifts under the tree that my son went out to buy are (one is labeled ‘to the lady who lives with me’, the other, ‘A.K.A. my mom’) I feel like I already had my big gift today.
It was a busy day – after my Sunday morning job, we came home and collected laundry to do at my moms, then took Nic’s friend home. Lots of driving – lots of ‘busy’.
Came home and lay on the couch enjoying a burger we salvated over every time we saw it on a mouth-watering commercial.
Ice Age 2 was on … it was just Nic and I.
After he ate, he indicated he wanted a spot next to me on the couch.
We curled up together and watched the animated flick. Wasn’t long before he was asleep – my arms around him.
You know that sound pets make when they’re falling asleep and totally comfortable? That content exhale?
He made that little noise. A sigh. And my heart filled.
I daren’t move – even when my arm fell asleep.
For that moment – I had my ‘little boy’ back. If only for a snippet of time.
That is all I needed for Christmas.
Because really it’s about telling people we love them, spending time with family and a rare Season when strangers are nicer to each other.
I had my moment. And tomorrow – I’ll be baking and looking forward to Santa filling Nic’s stocking and arranging the base of the tree. 😉
So very blessed. So very grateful. And as my son continues to sleep on the couch, I glance over at my boy who is becoming a man and so thankful for that contented sigh while he was in my arms.