Random Acts of "Kindness"

Posts tagged ‘Spiritual’

DECIDED

It was a beautiful morning at the camper — warm, gentle breeze — before a cold front dropped the temperature 20 degrees. During our morning walk, I would have continued further down the trail except I told my husband where we were going and DID NOT bring my cell phone. So Robin and I took the shorter trail and returned home. It was warm enough with a light jacket that I did Tai Chi on the deck. I planned to make a smoothie and sit out enjoying the sunshine. I planned to do Jane Fonda’s Strength DVD but opted to enjoy the sunshine instead.

I had just finished making my smoothie when my husband came back inside, with the chairs. Dark clouds covered the sun, the wind increased and the temperature dropped. I decided NOT to sit outside. I DECIDED to exercise like I had originally planned. OH REALLY! I laughed at the way I HAD DECIDED. Since I have spent many years reacting to “help from my friends”, I recognized an intervention.

I was glad that I picked the DVD, it might be more helpful than Aging Backwards. I am NOT at all pleased with my lose of strength. Getting up from the toilet, chair, floor — even the car has become more of a challenge. I picked the second workshop, and was able to do it. I decreased the weights, paying attention to my sore shoulder. My husband said it might benefit him, he would do it with me tomorrow. I have 5 lb weights he can use.

Last weekend was Fall Festival. I was reminded of all the many experiences I have had during the Festival over the years. In fact I told the story to someone I knew who had lost not only her mother but other family members this year. It was one of the first times when I realized that I am NEVER ALONE. The full story of how I was instrumental in saving my neighbor’s life is written in my book JOURNEY WITH ME. It is titled TRACKING TIME. I didn’t save any one’s life this year but I might have shared stories that was of help to others. We had a flea market but I didn’t spend any money — instead I conversed with many of my friends. I laughed that Sunday morning when I had turned on the television in time for the blessing from the Mass, prayer to St. Michael and song “Here I am Lord.” It is one of my favorites and I sang along. “I will go Lord, If you need me. I have heard You calling in the night.”

We will soon pack up the camper for the season — not planning to return to either the Spring or Summer. It is easier to go home when it is cold, and rainy — harder when it is warm and sunny. For years we left the furnace on and came out in the winter. Sadly age has made me more careful of ice and snow. Winter snowy hikes no longer have the appeal that they once had.

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I GET STORIES

I NEED STORIES. I’m often pestered to write a thought ramble to share with you. If my life is routine, nothing exciting happening, I have nothing to write about — so I’m given ideas. For a long time I have felt that I’m usually in the right place, at the right time to either be helped myself or to help someone else. I just have to be aware, paying attention — not distracted.

There is another purpose to the stories I’m given, not only to write but to physically “tell.” Many years ago I attended an audition looking for performers. I was active in the storytelling guild world at the time and decided to try out. Many people carried equipment with them. I realized that I carried my stories in my pocket — there is always room for more.

Okay — I’m rambling — is there a point to this? YES! Recently “I found a dime” and wrote about it. Recently I had the opportunity to “tell” the story. One of my neighbors is “challenged.” I don’t know much about her — age, name, medical problem. I first noticed her a few years ago — she keeps to herself when out. I first thought she was a child, and possibly lost. Although I often saw her, I never spoke to her. The opportunity didn’t present itself. Since I was concerned, when I saw her landlady I asked a few questions. I learned that she wasn’t a child instead a woman in her forties and capable of living alone. If I learned what her challenge was I have since forgot. Her path has crossed mine a few times, enough where we now exchange a few words. Mostly it is about the weather — staying warm, being careful.

I was out walking Robin when we met last week. For a change the sun was out, light wind, the temperature comfortable for winter. She shared a secret with me, the passing of her mother in the Fall. She asked that I pray for her mother in heaven. I shared a few short stories with her, demonstrating that those who have passed are often with us when needed. I ended my short stories with my recent experience of finding a dime. Since it was recent, it made an impression. Did it help her with her loss? I don’t know. But I find it comforting, when I’m not being hit on the head, to know that those who have passed are still with me, even if they are on the other side, even if I don’t see or hear them.

DATES

In the Catholic church, Sunday was the feast of All Souls day. Members of family and friends are remembered in a special way. The first song listed was Come Ye Thankful People Come — not one of my favorites. Then Mass started and the cantor announced the first song — Amazing Grace. Since we have been in the country, I hadn’t been to our church in a month and although surprised at the change, I hadn’t looked at the date of the sheet. I thought I had an old sheet and that the parish had decided to stop providing the sheets for Mass in a conservation attempt. Then the cantor said that the next song was printed on the order sheet. ?? I didn’t have the right order sheet. I like that song, don’t know the words and was not too happy that I had the wrong information. I decided to hum along with the melody. Then I looked at the order sheet that I picked up — then I laughed. HI DAD, HELLO EVERBODY! The date on the order sheet was October 5 — the weekend of my birthday.

As a parting gift, our cantor sang Lloyd Webber’s Requiem. Beautiful!

My life continues to be interesting — today the computer is having fits. It is taking a very long time to load any information. I mentioned the problem to our son — same computer — he didn’t have a problem at all. I could have walked out to the garbage and back in the time it took some things to load — his inquiry’s were immediate. Although I get a warm feeling when I know “my friends in higher places” are around, when they mess with something I’m trying to accomplish it can be frustrating.

This morning I opened the bible to Isaiah 61: The Mission To the Afflicted. “To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit.” Evidently my job, if you want to call it that — is to share the good news. Those that have passed over are alive and well on the other side. I’ll admit that I miss the physical but since they are so active in my life — I don’t grieve.

Why did I have trouble with the computer? The answer might be: “Why are you playing instead of writing? We gave you a new story to share.” Although the brain is not clicking along, struggling through molasses as a matter of fact — I haven’t had any problems with the writing. Evidently the words are agreeable.

WEIRD

When I told my husband what I noticed that morning, he responded: “that’s weird.” And I guess it was. But to me it seemed a normal part of my life. I have to admit that one plus one didn’t make two right away. I opened the bible in the morning to a verse in Ezekiel which detailed the interior of the temple. Then I did a morning meditation which focused on how the parts of my body felt. I didn’t connect the dots until I was writing the bible reading in my daily calendar book. That is when I recognized I was being alerted to the subject of the meditation. One plus one equaled two.

This connection doesn’t happen all the time but it is not unusual for me either. I’ll open the bible in the morning and the verse will be the same verse at Mass that day or the next. For me this is normal — not unusual. I don’t know how long this has been a part of my life. I suppose it is like learning to walk. When you begin you struggle to find your balance, place one foot in front of the other but in time, not only are you walking, but you might be running as well.

I used to run rather fast. That was in days past — when I was younger and weighed less. My knees didn’t hurt nor did my hips. I remember racing the buses on the main street where lived — bus on the street, me on the sidewalk. Sadly those days are long gone. When I’m stuck in the negative — focusing on all the abilities I no longer have — I see someone who is more challenged than myself — in a walker, using a cane or in a wheel chair.

I used to be unaware of the “help” I receive on a regular basis. We just celebrated Fall Festival at our campground. This year was chilly — I remembered the year that was warm. That was the year I was instrumental in helping to save my neighbors life — more than 20 years ago. One and one made two and my life has never been the same since. My father was still alive so it must have been help from my mother, but I was unaware. For years after that experience, whenever I told the story, goose bumps covered my arms.

If you are just discovering that there is “help” from the other side. WELCOME — enjoy the journey. If one plus one is only totaling one — give yourself a break. It took me a long time before I reached this point in my life but then I have a job — to help you become more aware. And I have to have something new to write about.

GUIDED

It is always interesting when I look back at some of the events in my life. At the moment, they do not seem important. It is only when a few hours, days, or weeks have passed that I see the connection. I don’t know when the title of the movie GOD’S NOT DEAD first appeared in my life. It was a few weeks ago — on TV, with just a brief description of the plot. I didn’t pay too much attention but the title stuck in my mind.

Recently I learned I could rent it, but I don’t like to order movies via the TV. Yesterday the movie was in my face, at Target, then in my hand, at the cash register and out the door. And on our TV in the afternoon. I thought the movie was well done. I could relate to many of the scenes — their car wouldn’t start. I don’t have that particular problem but many times what I plan to do is not what God wants me to do and even though I’m a slow learner, I do get the message eventually.

It is the Fall season of the year — a time when I tend to get depressed. I don’t know if this year the feeling is worse — but I’m heavier and can’t seem to get with the program. Soon I will be older. That is not making me happy or unhappy but my weight and lack of energy is a growing problem. I’m on FACEBOOK but I don’t spend much time on the computer. Yesterday I responded to a message and found a few things that either gave me a smile or made me laugh. My great granddaughter, although far away, is a delight thanks to her mother’s sharing.

Today, I was trying to meditate — BUT — my computer WOULD NOT LET ME! I accessed FACEBOOK instead. A friend has been challenged to find something that makes her happy for 100 days and post it. I know I won’t take the time to post something on line every day but jotting down something in a notebook every day might be worthwhile.

I saw a video — mother duck at the top of a set of stairs — 12 ducklings on the steps below. Ducklings trying and TRYING to get up the stairs with their mother. THEY DID NOT GIVE UP. Both mother and brood paced back and forth. When the last ducking reached the top of the stairs — mother took off with her ducklings following behind her.

Today I was able to go to Mass at our church. I learned that a friend had passed on Wednesday, we should be in town for his memorial service. I learned that one of our priests was moving to a residential facility. I had noticed that he had dementia, I guess it is getting worse.

I just met a woman whose 96 year old mother lives with her. The mother still has her mind but is losing her sight.

I’M NOT GIVING UP — I’LL KEEP LOOKING FOR MY HAPPY — and I’ll try again to get my weight down and find my energy. Just like the ducklings, I’ll keep trying!

JURY DUTY

I know it is our civic duty but I REALLY DID NOT want to attend. My name was on stand-by and the location was in Chicago’s Loop. Not difficult for me to get to BUT I was following a NEW DIET PLAN. The idea of being on a jury, not having access to my refrigerator DID NOT MAKE ME HAPPY. Maybe, I thought, I won’t be needed. WRONG. The list of names not needed started FIVE letters from ours. NUTS!

Two days after receiving my invitation, my husband received one too. His court was located in a distant suburb, not easily reached from our house. He is older than myself, and no longer needs TO DO JURY DUTY. A quick phone call and he was released.

Tuesday, I walked through the electronic detection devices, setting them off. It was my jewelry this time. I took the elevator to the 17th floor and checked in, receiving a panel number. Seating choices were a line of chairs or a table. I chose the table and quickly realized that I didn’t belong there. The other three people sitting at the table were world travelers. The gentleman was studying French in preparation for his trip to France. And then there was me. They were highly educated and involved in their projects, not interested in talking.  Sometimes I’m at the right place, at the right time to help someone or be helped in return. Not this time.

I had learned that I could buy packages of sliced apples from McDonald’s. According to my eating plan, fruit was the snack of the day. I was set until lunch. Thankfully before lunch time arrived, my panel was released. We weren’t needed and I WAS NOT disappointed. On the train downtown I realized two things. First, it was Tuesday. Second, the novena to St. Anthony would be said at St. Peters after mass. Maybe that was why I was downtown. Before checking in, I stopped at the church only to learn that the next Mass would be at lunch time. Leaving the courthouse, I knew if I hurried, I would reach the church in time for Mass. If you are curious as to why I remembered the novena, I wrote about my involvement with St. Anthony in Who Is that Man, published July 7, 2012.

After mass and before heading home, I joined my son for lunch. Then I wandered to Macy’s — just to look around. I figured I was safe, I left my credit cards at home and only had a small amount of money with me. I stopped on the seventh floor and totally enjoyed a fashion display. Fashion designers had used paintings from the Art Institute for inspiration. If I said they were incredible, I would not be exaggerating. I wished I had my camera.

As I rode the escalators, admiring the displays, I remembered that I wanted a microplane zester. I decided to try the lower level and see if  one was in stock. Looking at the displays of kitchen gadgets, I didn’t see one. I waited for one of the sales clerks to finish with a customer before asking a question. She looked at the same display that I had previously checked out. Then she offered to check the stockroom. I was concerned that even if one was found, I wouldn’t have enough money to buy it. But you see, I have “friends in high places” — the clerk found THE LAST ONE and I had enough money to buy it, with a dollar left over.

/Every once in a while, I have picked up an artists paint brush and applied paint to canvas — oil, watercolor or acrylic. I have a feeling that I’m being nudged to do so again. I went to the Botanic Garden yesterday where an artist faire was in the process of setting up.

In case you are wondering — I’M EXTREMELY PLEASED with my weight loss. Not finished with the 28 days, haven’t lost 20 pounds, but I’m planning on taking a break, eating potatoes and cheese, with a glass of wine — then starting again. I don’t know what my goal weight will be but at least I won’t look more pregnant than my granddaughter who is expecting her daughter in September.

CAPTURE THE MOMENT

We wandered down to Central Illinois to celebrate our youngest grand-daughter’s fourth birthday. The day we drove, freezing rain, sleet and snow were predicted. Thankfully we arrived before the storm. And the weatherman was correct — freezing rain, sleet and five inches of snow fell before dark and into the night. Our grandson was unhappy — school WAS NOT cancelled. But there was still snow on the ground when he came home from school, enough to go sledding at the park. One of his classmates was already on the hill when we arrived. Our daughter joined her daughter on the sled and the fun began. I DID NOT sled down the hill. My HUSBAND did. I don’t know if I would have taken a turn if my leg was healed, if my health was better. As it was, I enjoyed taking their pictures, I enjoyed watching their fun. I ENJOYED THE MOMENT!

Central Illinois was snow starved — this was the first measurable snow that they have had this year. AND WE WERE THERE.

I have been aware of life on the other side for more than eighteen years now.  Said like that, it is a long time. I am no longer in kindergarten — I have learned MANY lessons and having learned, they are seldom repeated. Day’s and weeks can go by without anything unusual happening in my life. But what is normal for me, might be unusual for someone else.

Saturday was the anniversary of my father’s birthday. Anniversary’s are important. Unusual things sometimes happen. I try to be more aware.

Saturday was a normal day. Our grandson played basketball and we cheered him on. We went to a restaurant for lunch. Nothing unusual.

I went to evening Mass at St. Patrick’s. (Getting to early Sunday Mass is difficult.) The music was led by the teen ministry complete with flute, violin and piano. The program listed it as the Mass of St. Ann. The gospel was the Transformation of Jesus on the mountain. Father’s homily focused on the times when we get a gift — a glimpse of the other side —  how — if and when it happens, we need to enjoy and reflect on the moment. Being that I have had a few such experiences, I can definitely agree. And I can also agree that there never seems to be enough.

After my father passed, I attended a Christ Renews His parish weekend at our church. Our group sponsored the next weekend. One important part of the weekend is to give “help” letters to the participants. I decided that I wanted to make a card for each — I NEEDED a verse to go on each card. I brought many books with me to the camper for research. On my morning walk, I was GIVEN the verse: “Lord, as long as You are with me, I am never alone.” I didn’t need the books after all. (The full story is in JOURNEY WITH ME.)

After the priest’s homily on Saturday night, The congregation sang this song. FLY LIKE A BIRD! “Fly like a bird to the Lord, my soul. I want to soar like an eagle. Though I may journey far from home, I know I’ll never be alone.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD! Thank You!

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