Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Friday, December 2, 2016

City Slide Walks and My Guardian Angel

When you live with the fear that one icy morning while crossing the bridge on your walk to work, you’ll get nailed by a sliding car and go flying over the railing and down to the tracks below—but you walk to work anyway—is that courage or stupidity?

It’s been that kind of week. And it prompted me to rewrite Silver Bells. Go ahead, sing along. You know you wanna.

City sidewalks, slippery slide walks
Iced in holiday style
On the streets there’s a feeling of danger.
Children sliding, people gliding
Meeting pavement and stone
And on every street corner you fear…

Slippery falls, slippery falls
It’s winter time in the city
Ouchy ouch
I’m a grouch
Soon I’ll be needing a cane.

Horns a-honking, cars a-skidding
Through lights bright red and green
As the shoppers slide home with their treasures
Feel the sleet punch, hear your bones crunch
For these hazards you’ll pay      
And above all these death-traps you fear…

(Repeat chorus if you dare)

I never did fall, thanks in part to my husband’s Yaktrax which may be ruining my boots. But at this stage of life, I figure a pair of boots is cheaper than a broken limb. I was surprised by how many people noticed my grippy fashion accessory and commented. What was far less noticeable, but I’m certain as effective, was my guardian angel. When I returned home on Tuesday, the slipperiest day of all, I received an email from Connie Inglis who serves as the spiritual advisor for Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship to which I belong. I’ve never met Connie, but she wrote to tell me she prayed Psalm 91 for me that day.

Of course I looked it up. Among several other promises about how God will keep his children safe from harm, are these words in verses 11 and 12:
“He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.” (The Message)

Good work, guys!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fifty-seven going on Seventy-five

So tonight is opening night of the Prairie Players’ production of The Sound of Music on the stage of the William Glesby Centre. When I auditioned for one of the nuns way back last winter, I questioned my sanity. The argument in my head went something like this:

Killjoy Me: Are you nuts? You KNOW how tired you are.
Dreamer Me: Yeah, but it’s The Sound of Music! At 57, when will I ever get another chance to do this?
Killjoy Me: You KNOW if you’re not in bed by 10 pm you turn into a zombie! How are you going to stay at the theatre until 10:30 or later every night?
Dreamer Me: I’ll take vacation time from work so I can sleep in the next morning.
Killjoy Me:  You KNOW you need to sleep every afternoon or you can’t get through an evening.
Dreamer Me: But it’s just a little part!
Killjoy Me: There are no small parts, dummy, only small—
Dreamer Me: —Shut up! I’m going for it.

And so I did. And I won a nonspeaking role as one of the nuns. Perfect. 

I soon realized I was the weak link in the alto section and would not be missed if I got hit by a truck on opening night. But that only served to emphasize the privilege of participating in this classic production.

So I’ve done everything I can think of to conserve energy. Took a week's vacation from work and from writing—except for this post. Skipped church. Been sleeping late every morning and napping every afternoon. And I’m still exhausted. I console myself by the fact that I am the oldest of the nuns and nearly the oldest in the cast.

Then I find out some of my co-actors—with much bigger roles to play—are putting in full days at work or school plus evening rehearsals. Seriously? How is that humanly possible? And suddenly I feel like I must be a hundred and three. In the five years I’ve been fighting with lung issues and their associated energy drain, I forget this much fatigue is not necessarily normal. I’ve grown used to managing my schedule around the need to sleep, much like a parent of a toddler must do. How humiliating. Ridiculous. Discouraging. Frustrating. I decide this will have to be my last production.

And then I see this meme that says “Old is when you give up. Until then, you are spectacular.”

And then I hear this line from Psalm 121 that the Reverend Mother quotes in one of the play’s scenes. A modern translation puts it this way:

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.

Feeling old and exhausted today? Look to your true Source of strength. Sleep if you must. And then go out and be spectacular.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Gitcher Own Gitch!

So I was all snuggled down in bed with my late night mug of tea, reading Deborah Raney’s Another Way Home (Book 3 in her Chicory Inn series), when I quite literally laughed out loud. The scenario between the middle-aged characters, Audrey and Grant, could have been a page out of my life and I had a funny suspicion something close to it may have played out in the Raney household as well.

Grant has just returned home with bags of household supplies from Walmart, requested by Audrey.

He returned a minute later with another load of department store bags. “I saved you the trouble of buying me new skivvies.”
“That was thoughtful of you.”

The scene gets funnier, but I won’t spoil it for you. The part that triggered my memory was Grant’s doing his wife a favor by purchasing his own underwear, and her response, which—although not stated—could only be interpreted by my wifely mind as dripping with delicious sarcasm. 

Having married at the ripe age of 18 and 19, Hubby and I never lived on our own. So when we took up housekeeping and life together, we each automatically assumed the role our same gender parent had played and depended on the other to do the same. I guess his mom had always bought his gitch and it took me only thirty years to start questioning why I was doing this for him as well.

One day when he announced his underwear was full of holes and needed replacing, I declared my freedom.

“You’re a big boy. You can buy your own underwear from now on,” I said. Or something to that effect. I may have included a rant about how I worked full time like he did and wasn’t it enough that I washed, dried, and put his gitch away?

Well, technically, we have a machine to wash and dry them. But still.

He didn’t argue.

But as the weeks went by, I kept noticing the same old ratty gitch showing up in the wash and no new ones making their appearance. I didn’t mention it, but I refused to give in. I don’t know how many weeks went by. Maybe it was months. Neither of us mentioned the underwear situation.

Then one day I was in Walmart for some other things. I must have been in a particularly benevolent mood that day, because as I passed by the men’s section, it occurred to me that it would take ten seconds to grab a package of the underwear Hubby liked and toss it into my cart. Was this really a hill worth dying on? Surely I could be the bigger man and swallow my pride this once.

I did it, proud of myself for conquering my own stubborn spirit.

When I got home late that day and walked into our bedroom, Walmart bag in hand, I thought I was losing my mind. On top of Hubby’s dresser sat a brand new package of underwear—the exact duplicate of the package I’d bought. 

Without a word, we had both surrendered on the same day.

Hubby was good for underwear for a long time after that. And I can’t help thinking God had a good chuckle.

Author Richelle E. Goodrich said, “If you think the most courageous and difficult thing you can do is stubbornly stand your ground, try graciously giving in.”

 For a hilarious three minutes of comedy that only a Canadian can truly appreciate, listen to this Gitch/Gotch sketch from CBC Radio.