Memorials

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?”
― Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

I’ve written about rituals before because they intrigue me and I think we need to create them.

My friend, Glynis, reminded me of my questions about ritual when she sent me this picture of her morning cup of tea. This beautiful cup was one of the last gifts she’d received from her friend, Sherrie. Glynis had been saving this fragile little cup because it’d become so special after Sherrie’s death. Now, after re-discovering it, Glynis realized  life is to short to save special things for only special times.

Now, every morning, as Glynis savors her tea and alone time, Sherrie joins her–every single morning–so simple and so very special.

Even though my arthritis often grabs my attention, I do know aging is a privilege not given to all. It comes with a very difficult downside–the loss of family members and friends.

I’ve learned a way to lessen my sorrow by creating a visual memorial to each loss.

For me, it was an easy choice.

After my cousin, Donna, died I started my first flower garden. It was my Donna garden for years until it evolved into the Donna-Bethie garden. When we moved, I couldn’t take the garden with me but I could take some of the special rocks surrounding it.

When we moved into our new home on the hill, the garden was reconstructed and replanted. As the years have passed, I’ve created more gardens and named them in honor of others lost. Each special person memorialized in a personal and powerful way.

I’d always felt a ritual had to be something huge. I now understand a ritual can be as simple as a rock, a rose, or as grand as grand as a tree.

I’m pretty sure size does not matter to the soul.

“This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don’t have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping. And I do believe that if your culture or tradition doesn’t have the specific ritual you are craving, then you are absolutely permitted to make up a ceremony of your own devising, fixing your own broken-down emotional systems with all the do-it-yourself resourcefulness of a generous plumber/poet.” 

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Special thanks to my friend, Glynis Walker Morse, for sharing her ritual and her photo. Love you, my friend. 

 

Morning Chats

“You cannot fully understand a person’s need until you have endured the same need. As hard as you may try to predict and comprehend their situation and suffering, I guarantee you’ll fall short until you’ve been there.” 

Richelle E. Goodrich, Making Wishes

A little over a year ago I began what I call my morning chats.

These chats started because a dear friend of mine lost her husband. I was far way and knew a trip up to see her was not possible. Calling her didn’t feel right. What do I do?

I sent her a text.

That text started a morning routine that continues today.

Over time, I’ve added others to my morning chats. Some are daily chatters, some once a week, and others I know only have time for quick chats every now and then.

It’s all worked out very very well.

What’s interesting is these how these chats have evolved into so much more–for all of us. Because of this little forum, we have an outlet to share our daily lives–either in a nutshell or we can type away and unload all our recent frustrations.

I never know what I’ll learn–every morning it is surprise just waiting to happen.

My friend Mary’s grand daughter was so surprised her grandma texted daily. Charlotte was even more impressed to learn her grandma had been friends with that person for almost fifty years.

Okay–truth be told–I’m pretty impressed with that fact, too.

The moral of the story–if there is one–is simple.

There is usually a way to reach out to someone. Whether I like it or not, I am beginning to understand being there in person may not always be possible. Even though it often drives me insane, our modern technology allows me to stay in touch with people who are hundreds, if not thousands of miles away form me.

One of the few benefits of getting older is gaining life experiences. Sooner or later we will all need the help of friends. God knows I’ve leaned on many shoulders over the years. It’s all part of the deal–we’re handed a challenge, we learn, and we survive in order to reach out and help one another.

Heavenly Father,

Today I pray for my family and friends. May these special people find comfort in the knowledge they are unconditionally loved. May they see and understand their own strengths and unique inner power. As their awareness grows help them find the peace they seek.

I thank you for the gift of all who have been a part of my journey. May my awareness grow so I can continue to learn and share my life lessons with old and new friends.  

Father, I am humbled by your many blessings.

I am grateful.

Amen.

~Barbara Jo Burton Hibdon, June 24, 2019~

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

Thank you, Glynis Walker Morse, for sharing your wonderful picture today. I thank you and I love you. 

Winters

“Wisdom comes with winters” 

Oscar Wilde

Aging is an interesting thing. I’m beginning to see this getting older stuff provides me with challenges and opportunities which may or may not help me gain some wisdom along the way. Some of my lessons are definitely easier to accept than others.

One of the most fascinating things I’ve observed over the past few years is how I’ve become invisible. I’m not sure exactly when that happened. I began to notice it took much longer for people to notice me–whether I’m at the store waiting for someone to ring up my items or walking down the street–the steady stream of people around me seemed to simply glide right by me.  A less pleasant awareness occurred last week when my femininity took a reality check square on the nose. As I sat in a lecture I began to notice the person presenting the talk scanned the room very nicely and had great audience connection EXCEPT he never once made eye contact with me. I have to tell you this took some time to accept and I had to mentally brush off my pride. As I thought about the last few lectures I’d attended, I realized this was not the first time I’d been “looked over” both literally and figuratively. I was not at all impressed with this latest bit of aging insights.

I may be less visible but my new awareness has helped me see others who are in need. At the store this past weekend I noticed a little man with a cane trying to push his grocery cart, a woman with a walking cast struggling to open a heavy door, and a man in an electric cart struggling to make it around all the aisle displays. These proud souls are the true invisible ones.

It only took a minute of my time to help them. It’s something we can all do and it certainly made me feel better afterwards. After all, believe it or not, in the not so distant future, that may be one of us in need of a helping hand. What a nice way to continue to observe Lent–helping our fellow invisible people.

Oh, yes, I’ve reached those golden days

You hear so much about;

I don’t feel any older yet, 

But will one day, no doubt.

The sky is still a lovely blue, 

The rose is just as sweet. 

Each day is like another chance

To make my life complete.

Sure, there is hardship, sorrow, and pain,

Who thought there wouldn’t be? 

But now I know it’s just a test

To find the worth in me. 

~Betty Irean Loeb

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Dear Friend

“My Dear Friend, 

Don’t ever allow yourself to forget how incredibly special you are, even for a single second. Without you, the world would not be as magnificent. Let yourself remember to love again, starting with you loving you.” 

Miya Yamanouchi, Embrace Your Sexual Self: A Practical Guide for Women

Oh, there are many people in my little circle of friends going through some difficult times.

I understand this is part of getting older. That does not mean I have to like it.

Take a minute, my friends, to reach out to those important to you–you will both feel better for it.

“I have noticed that most times, the least that you give out is the best that someone really needs. So, don’t always wait till you have something big to give before you do so! Someone’s “big” is your “little”!” 

Israelmore Ayivor, Daily Drive 365

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Being Invisible

“The curse of mortality. You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, through no fault of your own, your body begins to fail. You regress. Strong limbs become feeble, keen senses grow dull, hardy constitutions deteriorate. Beauty withers. Organs quit. You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went. As your wisdom and experience are peaking, your traitorous body becomes a prison.” 

Brandon Mull, Fablehaven

Turning 65 has put me in a thinking mood.

I’m very grateful to be sitting here talking about getting older. Far too many people never had this opportunity. Today I’m sharing some observations of myself and my behavior.

I love to work in the yard and I love learning how to use my new John Deere tractor. What I’ve yet to fully realized is my body is not as strong as it once was nor is it very forgiving these days. A full day of yard work may make itself known for several days afterwards. My very stubborn mind refuses to recognize this fact. This internal conflict puts additional stress on my rather tenuous sense of humor. Being able to laugh at myself is something I’ve always had to work on. Even with all that awareness on board, I often fail and become that crabby old woman I complained about as a kid. Now–another lesson learned by this life experience–maybe many crabby older people are that way because they are in pain.

“Having buck teeth in junior high,” she rounded up unsteadily, “must

be ideal preparation for getting old. For pretty people, aging is a dumb

shock. It’s like, what’s going on? Why doesn’t anyone smile at me at

checkout anymore? But it won’t be a shock for me. It’ll be, oh that. That

again. Teeth.” 

Lionel Shriver, The Post-Birthday World 

As a kid I did not have buck teeth but I was not one of the pretty or cute girls everyone noticed immediately. The only way I eventually got noticed was to speak up–with shy persistence it worked. I’m not sure how long ago it was I noticed I’d become invisible–even with my usual vocalization. It didn’t matter where I was–a grocery store, a retail store, waiting in line at the airport–some kind of magic clock had fallen over me. This meant I had to put my introvert tendencies aside and increase my volume–I had to really speak up. This was a very tough assignment. I don’t know–maybe this is all part of some extra-credit course I’ve been given in that course on self-worth I’ve continued to see on my life studies schedule?

“[she felt] sorry for herself, for getting older, for being mortal, for all the music she still wanted to hear, the books she intended to read, the places she had meant to visit, the things she had promised herself she’d learn one day […] and probably never would because time was beginning to feel like a fast express train that no longer stopped at all the stations.” 

Francesca Marciano, The Other Language

What’s most impressive to me is the fact that time seems to go faster every single day. I think I’ve talked about this before–when you are 20 years old, time goes 20 miles per hour, when your 40, times goes 40 miles per hour, when you 65, time goes 65 miles per hour…this thing called time definitely has my attention and there is no way I’m aware of to slow it down.

“Wisdom is the reward for surviving our own stupidity.” 

Brian Rathbone, Regent

One of the last things I’m sharing today is my tendency to judge other people and their behavior. I certainly have no room to pass any type of judgement. I’ve shared the prayer, An Anonymous Abbess, several times and want to include it today. It has become one of my favorite prayers.

More than ever, I pray for kindness. We are so quick to dislike people who disagree with us–whether it’s what we wear, what we say, what we eat, or where we live–we use our differences as grounds for hatred. I pray we remain open, learning from those we don’t understand, agreeing or respectfully disagreeing and move on in peace.

“Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:

Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.

Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.

Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.

I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.

Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.

Amen” 

Margot Benary-Isbert

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Thank you, Kimberlee Salimeno for letting me use your picture in today’s blog. It is beautiful as are you. I thank and love you.

 

 

 

 

Information Overload

“Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life – it has given me me . It has provided time and experience and failures and triumphs and time-tested friends who have helped me step into the shape that was waiting for me. I fit into me now. I have an organic life, finally, not necessarily the one people imagined for me, or tried to get me to have. I have the life I longed for. I have become the woman I hardly dared imagine I would be.”

Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

I talked with my insurance broker today about Medicare and supplimental insurance.

My-oh-my!

She was excellent, sharing stories while giving me so much information filled with sound advice. To say my mind is on overload is an understatement.

One this cloudy Friday afternoon, I want to share a prayer by Rabbi Levy. I love reading her words. Whatever is going on in my life, she finds a way to speak to my soul. I hope you find solace as well.

God, I need to know that You are with me; that You hear my cry. I long to feel Your presence not just this day but every day. When I am week and in pain, I need to know You are beside me. That in itself is often comfort enough. I do not pretend to know Your ways, to know why this world You have created can be so beautiful, so magnificent, and yet so harsh, ugly, and so full of hate. The lot you have bestowed on my is a heavy one. I am angry. I want to know why; why the innocent must suffer, why life is do full of grief. There are times when I want to have nothing to do with You. When to think of You brings nothing but confusion and ambivalence. And there are times, like this time, when I seek to return to You, when I feel the emptiness that comes when I am far from You. Watch over me and my loved ones. Forgive me for all that I have not been. Help me to appreciate all that I have, and to realize all that I have to offer. Help me to find a way back to You, so that I may never be alone.   Amen 

Rabbi Naomi Levy, To Begin Again

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless.

~Peace~

Aging

“I want to grow old without facelifts… I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you’d never complete your life, would you? You’d never wholly know you.”
― Marilyn Monroe  

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve found so many posts on social media about age followed by many negative comments.

One woman said she hated getting older–she hated her white hair, her wrinkles, and how no one paid any attention to her anymore. She hated her body and her life.

Her words surprised me and made me think about my own feelings about getting older.

To quiet my mind, I took my usual course of action–I began to read and write.

I found several things–quotes attributed to people that surprised me. The quote by Marilyn Monroe was not only surprising but so sadly ironic and made me wonder, not for the first time, if she really did commit suicide.

There have been too many people in my life who have not had the blessing of time and old age.

Why them and not me?

For some reason, I have been given the gift of time. I’ve been given the blessing of getting to know myself–to grow into the person I know I am without the fear of failure or the disapproval of others. I am now free to be me.

These words capture my feelings so well:

I am not old… she said
I am rare.
I am the standing ovation
At the end of the play.
I am the retrospective
Of my life as art
I am the hours
Connected like dots
Into good sense
I am the fullness
Of existing.
You think I am waiting to die…
But I am waiting to be found
I am a treasure.
I am a map.
And these wrinkles are
Imprints of my journey
Ask me
anything.
Samantha Reynolds

I am…

B…simply being…

God bless you all.

~Peace~