Friday, March 30, 2007

Whole lotta nothin'

I am writing this from my motel room. Yup, I am lounging around in my nightie eating a popcorn ball and reading all the family blogs ( okay, I have been surfing around a bit too, but it’s been productive surfing. I haven’t just been wasting time looking up how many times the average person yawns in a day, even though that is useful info to know and turns out to be about 4 x a day. Just FYI.)

But now. Now, it’s time to discipline myself and think of something to write about. I have no excuse because I am not busy with my ho hum real life. I am on vacation. Sitting here in my bed, under the covers, gazing at my navel and contemplating the complexities of existence. Check out time is at 11:00 ld reminds me. Ha. All the time in the world.

I could write about how hectic things have been for me the last few weeks. What with our 82 year old RS sister breaking her hip, surviving the surgery, being in and out or ICU a couple of times, and then going AWOL from the rehab center. Should I tell you about my experiences with her bed pan? I will spare you. But let me just say that they need to add a paragraph to the RS Handbook. One that explains in detail the job description like - ‘must wipe poop from little ole’ ladies hiney’s because their husband ran to the drug store and she can’t get up’. Yea, they need to put that paragraph in bold.

I’m not complaining because I love said ‘lil ole lady and I know she and her husband love me. They leave me gifts of old lady shampoo on my doorstep.

Hey, I could write about judging Piano Festival this past month. How 2 of my students won money from Honors Playoffs. And they deserved to. Finally, the Universe has aligned. After hearing that Rachmaninoff piece and the little Bach Musette, oh say, a hundred times in the last 4 months, Glorious Hallelujah and Jimmy Crack Corn someone paid them money. Sweet, sweet satisfaction.

Or I could write about my little lunch bunch. My little Kenz and Brigger who show up after classes and brighten my day. We talk about lots of things - movies, ideas, things they learned in classes. Did you know that Fascinating Womanhood is in the curriculum at UVSC? Yup, it is and oh, did that discussion get me stirred. Jimmy Crack Corn and I do care, dad gum. The woman who wrote that book is a nut.

But maybe I should write about my Meghan and how she is a trainer, or about JLW and his plans for school or about LDW and the great talk he gave in the Young Adult Ward. Nah.

Should I tell you about the trip down and how it snowed all the way and how our room wasn’t ready yet and that put me into a foul mood until I had some shrimp linguine in my tummy and a popcorn ball and a pleasant nights sleep.

Nah. I cain’t think of ‘nothin to say. Because all this blessed ‘nothing I gotta do’ laziness has befuddled my mind. And I gotta get a move on. Check out is at 11:00.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Keep on keepin' on

One of the more endearing phrases our ‘lil missionary uses in many of her emails to us is: Keep on keepin’ on. It’s been sort of a family motto for lots of years or rather it’s been a 'build character' catch phrase that I hoped my children would internalize as it speaks to courage and enduring and pressing on.

All moms try to guide their children along in their view of what would bring their children the best future. I hope I have communicated optimism. But sometimes I see the need to ensure that my children are prepared to face struggles. Like in the Langston Hughes poem I have always loved.


Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Perseverance. When things get rough don’t just stop, don’t give up and “set down on the steps,” keep climbing on. Also, this poem talks of turning corners and going in the dark; in other words, continuing on in a new direction sometimes and moving forward even when the future is unclear. Great advice for any of us.

But here’s something the poem left out. The railing. Langston, did your staircase not have a railing? Because mine does. There’s an iron railing along that rickety old staircase and while it’s true that we must keep climibin’ ( I mean there really is no choice, right?), the railing is there to hold onto, to cling to. All of us run the risk of getting tripped up as we try to climb. Remember the railing, children. You don't have to climb alone or without support. Lean into it, cling to it. It makes all the difference. I know, because life for me ain't been no crystal stair, either. It's not for any of us. But don't make the climbing harder than it needs to be. Grip the rail, hang on tight and move forward in faith.