reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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in half and in half again. [merely-a-thought monday]

anna quindlen writes about it in “a short guide to a happy life“. the dividing line between before and after. we all have them. though mathematically incorrect for this lyric, as “sawed in half” only leaves the other half, many of us have more than one dividing line, more than one qualifier of our lives, more than one change agent.

i remember my first apartment. it was on long island in a basement partially paneled and partially wallpapered with red brick wallpaper. my dog missi and i moved in with my old piano, a convertible couch, beanbag chairs, a bookshelf and a bistro set. i had free bank-account-giveaway plates and cheap silverware my grandmother gave me, forks, spoons, knives still in my drawer to this day. i had a tiny kitchen in this studio and, though i cooked often, missi and i both ate plenty of cornflakes for plenty of meals. it was not fancy but it was mine.

after i was sawed in half i had to move and, ultimately, found myself in florida, seeking safety from a man whose aggressive pedophilia was predatory, for whom vengeance was foremost. everything was different. from those moments on. there was no going back, no return to innocence. the dividing line was stark and, in 1979, there was no real resource for processing it.

since then i’ve had a few more dividing lines. but, i have found in many purposeful meanderings through my lifeline in recollections and in much intentional parsing out of cause and effect relationships, that many of them relate back to the first sawing-in-half.

having children did not ‘saw’ me in half, but it indeed sawed time into before and after, for nothing would ever be the same and all my after has been waking and going to sleep thinking about them and wishing for their good health, good relationships, good work, love. there can scarcely be a parent who has not been profoundly changed by having children. before. after.

the loss of my big brother came as a mortality-blow. i had lost grandparents at that point, but their lives had been full and eight and nine decades long. my brother had merely reached his fourth decade – forty – an age twenty years ago now for me – and it was premature and devastating. he had been a stalwart rock for me in my years-post-first-sawing and to lose his wisdom and strength had me questioning how the world could go on without him feeling it. it divided time – from a more casual look at life to a more intensely emotional connection to those around me than i already had. if i am needy, emotionally, it is grasping on to beloveds. though i know i must not hold too tightly, i have likely not always succeeded at that, but i try to be at least close enough to always at least feel the wind from their wings. it’s not always possible and it’s sometimes impossible, and i yearn to have my family right close to me as many friends have, but i try – that word again – to trust life and its gifts.

the day i realized that there was no one left to ask questions of my birth, my childhood, my teenage years, the intrepid and enduring memories moms and dads have, i stared at lake michigan. i won’t forget that moment. i was wondering about my first time on the lake on a sailboat and i suddenly was aware that, without my sweet momma and poppo still here, there would be no answers that i could not remember myself. it came with intensity and orphan-hood surprised me – even then, at 56.

there are other lines in the sand, other befores and afters. relationships, jobs, places, mistakes and learnings, successes and failures. they all count, like every slice of blueberry pie making up the whole, even every rich ingredient making up the slice. the passage of time is a vast bakery of experiences, some more contingent on others, some more independent.

so when the song “life is long” came on at the end of the grace and frankie episode while i was on the treadmill and david was on the bike i was struck by the lyric “sawed in half by the passage of time”. i spoke into my phone recording the words i had just heard, words that made time pause like the button on the netflix video.

and i stared into the timeline in my mind, thinking about life sliced up like pie – a little less vigorously than a saw – but with just as much impact.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY


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“i forgive you.” [merely-a-thought monday]

i forgive you

frank made sure to bring us the dvd.  our favorite of the hallmark christmas movies, a season for miracles was scheduled for tv viewing at a time we were not available.   and he knows.  frank knows how much we love this movie during this season.  we, i have to admit, spend just a little bit of time watching hallmark christmas movies, despite their obvious indulgence to happy-endings-aficionados.  a season for miracles is such a story, but there are these lovely lines spoken by patty duke toward the end, that inevitable-anticipated-yet-yearned-for end.  she wisely advises one of the stars of the movie, giving him something to consider,  “i forgive you.  there’s a lot of power in those three words.  they can change the world.”

yesterday i sang these lyrics, “all these pieces broken and scattered, in mercy gathered, mended and whole.  empty handed but not forsaken.  i’ve been set free, i’ve been set free.” (broken vessels – j. houston, j. myrin)

in true cliche, i would, indeed, say we are all broken by pieces we need to forgive, things for which we need forgiveness.  we carry these burdens like heavy luggage, dragging them day by day, place to place.  nary a moment goes by without our minds summoning up a reason to be dismayed or disgusted with someone, disappointed in ourselves.  we are not free.

is it pollyanna-ish to believe that the world would be changed if forgiveness were paramount?  is it an irrational, unreachable panacea for all the divisiveness and turmoil?  is there just too much purity – too much hallmark – in those words, in that kind of peace-seeking?

if you could, who would share the third seat in a room with you and forgiveness?  with whom would you seek forgiveness from?  who would you forgive?

is it better to be mended and empty-handed than holding-on-tightly-burdened with sharp, broken pieces that pierce your heart?  where is your free?

it is a season for miracles.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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earth interrupted’s brown bags. [d.r. thursday]

EarthInterrupted3 copy

there are moments when everything seems like a big deal.  our own planet earth is up close and personal, every concern a meteor about to threaten our very existence.  the sum of the individual pieces too much to bear.  we wonder, wonder, “what is going on?!”

and then there are moments when perspective reigns.  when we can step back, see the bigger picture and realize that everyone has their brown paper bags full of baggage, of difficulties, of things to sort, to keep, to ruthlessly throw away.  the moments when you stare up at the night sky into the milky way and feel ever-so-small, knowing that you are alive and this very moment will not pass again.

EARTH INTERRUPTED.  pieces of everyone’s brown bags, torn, scattered and intermingled.  no longer baggage-holding.  an earth close-up and glowing.  full of the hope of it all fitting together:  people, issues, problems, loves, wishes, peace.

view/purchase EARTH INTERRUPTED III on david’s gallery site

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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baggage. [merely-a-thought monday]

your past

“your past should not dictate your future.”

we carry it all with us.  baggage.  baggage upon baggage upon baggage.  i once (poorly) drew a graphic of a stick person with an “outbreak of baggage”.   rollie bags and attaches, spinners and hardshells, suitcases and totes; i depicted a person with multiples of these, pulling and dragging and lugging them everywhere. each experience shoved into the depths of some piece of luggage; more and more loaded into expandable bags, the zippers stretched to the breaking point.  we lose sleep, perseverating over all the baggage we have.  the wee hours of the night nag us; we miss the hope of the sunrise.

but the sunrise happens nonetheless.  and the grace of a new day is gifted to us.  just as the tide-wave rushes in to the shoreline and cleanses the beach, washing away the footprints of the previous day, smoothing the rough edges, so does the new day grant us another chance.  we stand – present – right now, feet neither in yesterday nor in tomorrow.  our load is lessened, our baggage drops away.  we are freed to step lightly into next.  for our past does not dictate our future.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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chicken marsala monday

MASTER assumeawe WITH EYES jpeg copy 2so i’ve decided that there is a difference between us and our pets.  you roll your eyes and think, “she is clearly a little slow on this…”  but i’m not just stating the obvious.  i watch dogdog and babycat through their days and find wonder in their absolutely joy-filled acceptance of the moment.  for dogdog and babycat, there is no continuum of how-am-i-going-to-feel-right-now; it is simply always at the apex of ‘happy’.

dogdog runs around the backyard gleeful.  our neighbor and friend john says he can practically hear him thinking, “oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!”  he meets us at the back door when we arrive back home or when we ask him if he wants to “go on errands”, vertical-jumping to challenge the best of basketball players.  at the end of the evening, when he is sure it is time for “sleepynightnight”, he rolls over for a treasured ‘belly-belly’; nothing else matters to him at that moment.  all of his actions are based in the moment.  all of them assume the best.

if babycat can’t be laying curled up next to you, he seeks the sun and follows it around the house.  he sits on the chest in front of the window (just as in this drawing of chicken marsala and babycat) and gazes outside, clearly enchanted by everything ‘out there’.  he gets most excited by mealtime and a ‘treat’ will literally make him come running and put him over the top.  all of his actions are based in the moment.  all of them assume the best.

why is it that we function so differently?  why is it that we cannot assume the best?  we tend to pre-form our view about our day, our challenges, our life, our conversations, our relationships, our, well, most everything.  we drag all the old baggage along with us, all of which contributes to heavy-hearted-difficult-to-circumvent-or-navigate negative assumptions of what is to come.  what would it be like for us – as individuals, as couples, as families, as a community, as a country, as a world – to assume the best?  to assume awe?

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CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY

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leave the outbreak of baggage behind.

TODAY’S FEATURED THOUGHT FOR HUMANS

leave the outbreak of baggage behindwhoa. the outbreak of baggage.
one day it occurred to me that this outbreak of baggage precludes us from moving into Next.
it traps us in our own past, our own history – good and bad, our own unmet expectations and disappointments.
if we can leave all these pieces of baggage behind, instead of carrying -or wheeling- every last one,
then we can focus instead of what is truly ahead of us, the potential, the rise of the sun.

Screen Shot leave baggageFOR TODAY’S FEATURED PRINT FOR HUMANS, PLEASE GO HERE