Monday, June 27, 2011

A time to help and be helped ...

... How much sweeter life is when we become a family, by blood as well as by choice.

On Sunday, I learned that a Woman in our church whom I know, was having an emotional breakdown. I went over there with a neighbor and we just let Her talk and cry. She is a single Mother, dealing with the typical challenges of that situation, as well as physical and emotional issues. How my heart ached for Her loneliness and sorrow, so unnecessary! How for the 100th time I wanted to hunt down the man who left Her and rearrange his face. How I wondered why a good, solid, strong man has not yet found his way into Her life.

We agreed that my Beloved and I will come back and spend some time with Her this week, just being friends and helping Her get a few things organized. It is very important that I involve my Beloved, that I help "Jane" to have some Female friends to lean on. A man's natural desire to comfort, can go the wrong way in even the best-intentioned of souls and I would be a fool to think that I am immune.

When I came home, I discovered that some of our family had dropped by and filled our refrigerator up with food. In these hard times, how we needed that!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Who in the world is C.S. Forester?

Beginning his epic "Passage to Juneau," Jonathan Raban dryly speaks of young land-lubbers, wannabee sailors, knowing nothing of the sea but having read their C.S. Forester.

Those wannabees have an advantage over me. I had no idea until tonight who indeed C.S. Forester was.

The man was a twentieth-century literary colossus, author of The African Queen -- which movie buffs remember became a film starring Bogart and (Katherine) Hepburn; and also of the Horatio Hornblower naval hero series.

According to Wikipedia, Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying, "I recommend Forester to everyone literate I know," and Winston Churchill stated, "I find Hornblower admirable."

Guess I need to make some room on my bookshelf.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Wonders of the Day

Two weeks left til the job wraps up. Still no confirmation of employment anywhere else.

But life goes on. The Jack-in-the-Pulpit is blooming deep in the woods. I have met a friend, an incredible guy who has taken beautiful pictures all over the world -- from Sudan to Japan. He is excited for me to take him on a hike in the woodlands behind my home, because his favorite photographic subject is trees. Just have to figure out when.

Spent most of yesterday evening, my Beloved and I, keeping another friend company at the hospital. An amazing Woman whom some piece of garbage abandoned long ago, leaving Her with two children to raise alone. Now She is dealing with some horrific health problems. It felt good to be able to be there for Her when She needed it, so that She didn't have to sit in that hospital alone.

Life is beautiful and ugly, cruel and tender, all at once. It is terribly wrong to be a cynic, denying all beauty; it is wrong, too, to hide from the ugly and cruel. It is a waste of time to wait around for a perfect day in order to experience joy; to expect that the one can ever be permanently entangled from the other. Find joy and peace and beauty now, in this very moment.

And what is beauty? The eyes of a child. The gentle curves of a Woman's body. The deep lines upon an old face, telling the story of life like the rings of a tree. The pounding of the ocean. The limpet clinging to the rock at the shoreline. Bread upon the table. A doctor easing pain. The choice to be kind instead of cruel, generous instead of selfish. Acceptance of the will of the universe.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Night fear

We whose families include little dogs face unique perils.

Last night, walking her alone in the hazy, humid darkness, I heard the sound of a fierce dog barking. I know by now all the homes in the neighborhood where dogs live. Behind their fences, they can bark without concerning me. And my feisty little friend can bark back without bringing a death sentence upon herself.

But this sound did not come from any familiar yard. It came from the ominous gloom near a factory at the edge of the neighborhood. In the haze, I saw a large, dark shape.

I went into defensive mode -- scooping up our little pet, whom just about any other dog could bite in half like a McNugget -- a concern of which she is blissfully unaware. She squirmed in my arms to get down and barked at the shadow in the dark.

With my free hand, I scrabbled in the dirt for a good-sized rock, my heart pounding. My fingers found only hard-baked dirt and crabgrass clumps -- then, finally, closed around a weighty chunk of asphalt sheared from the edge of the road by some long-ago passing truck. I gripped it in my hand ready to fight.

Our little dog squirmed free. I grabbed her up again and stood still, squinting into the blackness.

Relief. The strange dog was behind the factory fence, unable to do harm. I put down my aggrieved little dog and we continued our walk, the strange dog still barking behind us in the night.

Still waiting ...

... I know my employment situation makes for a boring blog. My apologies. But it is consuming me like a match flame upon paper.

I am still waiting, in most miserable suspense, for that call back from the One Great Place. Still attempting to be something of a productive employee in the Nasty Old Hole. Haven't heard a word from my boss in days. It lurks deep within its lair, shutting the door at the sound of approaching footsteps, ignoring the steadily higher-rising stack of papers I continue to dutifully submit for approval.

It causes me to ponder, in a classic way, the nature of true evil. Is evil about seeking the good in the wrong way, as Plato and Aristotle opined? Or is it a life built upon lying to others and oneself, as the somewhat more modern Dr. Peck theorized? Is this being who torments me genuinely evil, lashing out like a wounded dragon in its cave, heedless or blinded to the damage that it is causing in this place?