Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I have been sick since Friday night when I returned from work at 10 PM. It is Tuesday late afternoon now. I feel somewhat better, but still weak and sick to my stomach. I have spent 4 days with primarily the only company being my pets. I drove all the way into work today, only to discover that I was way too ill to be there and had to turn around and drive the forty minutes back to Philly in torrential rains.
Illness, the short kind from which you recover in a matter of days, is a good reminder of how good things really are. I have had the long-term, life threatening,invasive procedure, lose your job, your apartment and your sanity kind of illness. In contrast, I can be grateful, for this one will surely pass, spending a bit longer than I thought, but moving on...
That said, sometimes my mind wants to burrow into that rodent's nest...all of those irrational, hopeless thoughts that scurry across the background of my mind. I am getting skilled at catching them, trapping them, and releasing them elsewhere. Most of the time, I'm good at that. Then, there is that one thought that gnaws on the corner of my psyche, the "what if," "what if," "what if" rodent that wants to shred my newly built foundation, that wants to eat away at my newly dug posts.
Nope. Sorry. Move along. I will feel better tomorrow or the next day. Just Move along.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The woman who sits on the stoop out front of our building is tired. Her body is tired, it doesn't even sit up straight. Her voice is tired; it strains to form sentences. Her soul is tired, she leans away from connections.
My neighbor sounds irritable when I greet her and after a few encounters, I found myself judging her and beginning to dislike her. I changed my perspective, perhaps the only thing we really own, and viewed her fatigue, her anguish, and my compassion took root. I found myself wondering what this woman had lived through, gone through, to be so very tired.
Our buildings are tired, here at this co-op. They are in need of care that not one of us alone seems to be able to give. But when you get past the tiredness and the protectiveness, there is a vitality, a connection to each other. I needed help last night with a problem, a BIG problem, and one of the other cooperators, as we are called, rushed to assist despite the exhausting heat.
There is a community here, underneath the sagging exterior. And I am thankful. More importantly, my perspective has shifted. I am getting skilled at owning my view, my interpretations. It is the only thing I have, really. So I look behind the peeling paint and I see the history of centuries. These buildings we call home are CENTURIES old. Sure, they sag and wrinkle, they lean when they should stand upright. But, I see history here, people living together, different races, religions, ethnicities have lived here long before "desegregation" was even a word.
So, I walk slowly at night, following a long day at work, and I will continue to stop to talk to my tired neighbor. A bond will form, sure it will. It's all in our perspective. And, that is wide open.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
"The truth is that I’ve spent all my life with my binoculars trained on the Maybe Islands, a pristine place of fantasy that is really no better than the razor-rocks of misery.
...maybe if I could have lived more peaceably… maybe if I’d met the right person years ago, maybe if I hadn’t done this, or that or, its cousin, the other. Maybe, baby, the promised land was there and I missed it.
Look at it glittering in the light. But the truth is I am inventing the maybe. I can only make the choices I make, so why torture myself with what I might have done, when all I can handle is what I have done. The Maybe Islands are hostile to human life."
— Jeanette Winterson (The Stone Gods)