Balancing Act Take Two

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED BALANCING stones? There’s a trick to it. Stacking is one thing—I love to find stacks of rocks. There’s one gentleman in Carmel Highlands area that is always making delightful stacks here and there … and when I walk the rocky coves in Point Lobos, I am sure to find one or two. Stacks seem to stick around for others to see. Once, my daughter and I spent the morning walking there and were intrigued by them … we both pulled out our cameras and started taking photos of them at different angles. I’ve yet to see any balanced rocks in person yet.

Yeah … balancing rocks … that is something entirely different. More fragile, I’d think, so winds might upset their balance if left alone. Or, even curious critters that might want to check them out. I’d love to give it a try some day. Some day … when I have nothing else better to do—or perhaps on a day where I need to be still (in my self-made busy life, that would be always …). That would be a good time.

Balancing rocks. Takes concentration, knowing … feeling where the points of contact should be. A little math (shudder) might help, but I’ll go with my gut. I’m just a seat-of-the-pants (sop) kinda gal, after all. I will try it. And I will post my success (or failure—though, I like to think positive … insert huge grin).

I really wasn’t sure which direction I’d be going (that’s the sop gal talkin’) with this post. I could get all philosophical—I certainly could … or I could try to find some photos or links about this balancing act. The link I posted above (from Facebook) is what triggered the idea for this post. Facebook is a goldmine for blog ideas. Oh, yes indeed. I just need to figure out how to wrangle the posts I see into a blog. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I’ve got lots of “starts” in my pile of drafts here on WordPress … some of them worthy of expounding upon, others not so much.

This one is definitely worthy, since balancing rocks is not unlike the precariousness of balancing everything in each of our lives. School, work, play, family, church … the list goes on (seemingly forever in my case). Knowing which is most important—that would be your foundation stone, so to speak—and then balancing all the other stones above it to keep the harmony. Definitely a challenge. But I do know what my foundation stone is. Church—well, God to be more specific. I try to revolve my life around Him (oh, I’m not so successful at times, but I do keep trying). When I do, things balance nicely—no matter how many things I’m juggling. If things begin to topple, somehow it manages to right itself—if I’m keeping Him in the center. When I don’t (and it’s only natural to stray now and then—we’re not perfect, after all) … well, let’s just say I certainly know it. I always get back on the path, leaning on Him for guidance, wisdom … and so much more, which keeps me centered, calm … and joyful. There may be storms, but I know I’ll make it through to the other side … one way or another.

So, let me ask you—what is your foundation stone in this crazy world of ours? Are you trying to “get through it all” by yourself, do you have a village of friends to help you, or do you lean on a higher power to guide you through your day? I would love to hear from you.

May you be blessed abundantly with joy, strength and wisdom.

 

 

 

Memories …

MEMORIES CAN BE GOOD … OR THEY CAN BE ones we don’t particularly want to remember because they are so terribly wrong and/or bad. But, no matter what memories there are in our lives, they are what makes us who we are, whether we like it or not.

Last Friday, I was trying to get my head into the “blog space” of getting my current one finished when my mind flooded — literally flooded with memories. What brought it on? The simple act of slicing up an orange. Oh, so many memories. It was like the domino-effect of one memory on top of another, cascading in my mind. Good memories, mostly, but some sad memories came too. Because, that’s life. The memories centered around my dad. As he climbed the business ladder as a chemical engineer into management, he managed to keep our lives rich in family things, like simple meals: sliced oranges (yup, remember, this was the trigger) with powered sugar, usually followed by eggs and bacon, or cornmeal mush, and fresh squeezed orange juice with our breakfast. Or there were the family vacations he was able to squeeze into his busy schedule: camping trips to the Sierras, to Trinity, Twin and June Lakes areas, to Tuolomne Meadows (my personal favorite destination); a trip up into Oregon and another time through Four Corners and the desert and mountain states … the list goes on. I caught my first fish (later — much later — I was told they’d just stocked the lake … sigh) on one of those trips; watched my dad as he floated a the highly saline June Lake, spouting water like a whale … all fond memories.

But, I also remember taking care of him as he slowly and painfully lost his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. The agony he (repeatedly) went through when he found out mom died (how does one deal with this while you yourself are trying to deal with it??). I finally stopped telling him when he’d ask. I couldn’t stand seeing the fresh pain that stabbed him in the heart each and every time he heard of her death; discovering he felt abandoned — he thought his mother had deserted him (she died from an illness when he was very young and he said no one ever told him — not sure this is true, but not important … he did feel abandoned) and trying to help him understand that. Falling then being stuck in a wheel chair as his fractured hip healed, he could not understanding why he couldn’t get up and walk around like he used to … and calling me his wife — I learned to constantly give him verbal clues (“Daddy”) to help keep it straight in him mind what my role in his life should be. Other things like his wandering off — scaring me half to death when I found out he’d somehow managed to get across the freeway with his dog to buy a leash; his time in the hospital with “good-intentioned” doctors and staff that didn’t know how to handle him (wanting to restrain him!) — or properly medicate him when medications he’d been taking ulcerated his stomach. These are part of the sad memories of my dad, but each experience (and how I handled them) has helped shape who I am.

I am a better person for having encountered each experience:  each has helped to shape how I respond to new experiences; how I handle encounters with people — of all sorts; how I live my life. Through them all, having a good foundation (thanks to my parents) — something to fall back onto when things get sketchy — is paramount. First and foremost, my dad was a stickler for attending church. We all grumbled (to varying degrees) about it, but we learned about God and what an awesome pillar of strength He could be if we allowed it. For that, I am forever thankful.

That one thing — having God to lean on — and each experience building upon the next helped me through the deaths of my parents and my husband … and through all the ups and downs in life.

I was too young when my first grandmother died — I don’t even remember being allowed to attend the funeral. When my grandfather (her husband) grew ill, I was not allowed to see him in the hospital, but when he died, It was felt I was apparently old enough to attend the grave-side burial services. All I remember is sitting in the back with my cousin, goofing around and giggling (and being shushed by my mom) — obviously not old enough for the proper decorum. With the death of my dad’s father, then mother, I was much older and the gravity of their deaths was felt deeply. As my aunts and uncles passed away (both before and after my parents and husband’s deaths, each one was a blow, but God helped ground me, helped get me through. And before his death, with each of my husband’s catastrophic illnesses, again, I remained calm (people kept commenting on it and I was beginning to wonder if I was not engaged with the gravity of the situation, but finally realized it was simply because I leaned on God for my strength — and that was a good thing). I was able to come through to the other side in one piece, at peace … and refreshed.

Repetition, life experiences and leaning on God. Yup. That pretty much sums up how we build our lives. Well, it’s how I formed mine, at least. And, it seems to be a good formula for me.

…And in light of the news from today: the loss of an icon, Leonard Nimoy … a all-time favorite of mine, that’s what I’ll be doing — definitely shedding tears, but mostly, praying for his family and friends and leaning on God

May your life be peppered with ups and downs, triumphs and defeats, creating the strong, vital character that is you. Hopefully you too have someone to lean on to make it through to the other side, in one piece and at peace.