Monday, October 18, 2010

Deja Vu

We went to Linda O'Brien's memorial service on Saturday. It was everything a memorial service should be. Friends and family reflecting on happy memories, laughter, tears, poems; all heartfelt. There were wonderful picture boards showing Linda's life as full and happy.  It was a reminder of the awesome importance of family. Family that extends to those you love and who love you, even those that are not related through your bloodline.  It was a time that began healing the broken hearts that most acutely felt her loss.  She was a person of deep faith.  For a quiet person, she was prone to humor, laughter, and smiles that lit her up from the inside.  She loved deeply and unselfishly. She was a person to remember and emulate.  Thankfully, her gentle, loving spirit can be seen every time you are around her children, Kathy and Tim.

A most special time during the service was a reading by her brother, Jim Harrer.  Both grandfathers were Lutheran ministers and Jim read from a book of prayers that had been passed down through the family.  The prayer was printed and read both in German and in English.  It is so beautiful and I would like to remember it and the moment always.

Abendlied                                                                              An Evening Prayer
Muede bin ich, geh zur Ruh                                           I am tired, go to sleep,
Schliesse beide Aueglein zu;                                        Close both my little eyes;
Vater lass die Augen dein                                             Father let Your eyes
ueber meinem Bette sein.                                              Be over my bed.

Hab ich Unrecht heut gethan,                                    If I have done wrong today,
seih es lieber Gott, nicht an.                                        See it not, beloved God.
Deine Gnab und Jesu Blut                                            Your grace and Christ's blood
macht ja allen Schaden gut.                                       Truly makes all bad things good.

Alle die mir sind verwandt ,                                        All that I care about,
Gott, lass ruhn in deiner Hand,                                  God, let rest in Your hand.
alle Menschen gross und klein                                    All people big and small
sollen dir befohlen sein.                                                 Should be following You.

Kranken Herzen sende Ruh,                                          Broken hearts send rest,
nasse Augen schliesse zu;                                              Teary eyes be closed;
lass den Mond am Himmel stehn                                Let the moon stand in heaven
und die stille Welt besehn.                                             And view a peaceful world.

Is that not beautiful?

At the end of the day, we stopped at the King's home to see the kids and Ben.  Only Shelby had come to the service.  What a treat - all of their children plus all of the cousins were out playing and running around.  They had been building a fort; or more specifically a series of forts. They were soooo smudgy with dirt, paint, and I don't know what all... They were beautiful!  After such an emotional day of reflecting on life and family, I was transported back in time to a place where life was simple and good.  A time where there were still troubles and problems, but their sharpness and ability to wound was less.  

At my age, funerals have a deju vu effect to them.  Older, younger, my peers - I have been touched in some way by each life whose funeral I attended.  But it is Life, not death, that I am reminded of.  The deja vu is the whisper of happiness, thankfulness, and faith.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

" Fog this morning...adjust your schedule accordingly."

The weather - Even though in Florida we have LOTS of weather that is the same for long stretches, I faithfully watch the weather forecast on Channel 8 or Channel 13 in the morning. Habit? Probably. But, you know, I've learned that things can change pretty fast in life. So just maybe the weather bears watching. Right?

For instance. Today - first cup of coffee; Dave Osterberg with the weather; tropical depression now Hurricane Paula in the Caribbean; additional moisture resulting in some early morning fog. "Well", I thought to myself, "I'll go outside and take an awesome photo of the fog sifting through the trees." So I did. Not the awesome part, just the pic. But it is what happened after, that illustrates that good changes can come sometimes even when you think you are drifting along in sameness.

Because I got out of bed and out of the house, I was totally awake and refreshed when I came in. I read today's devotional from Charles Stanley which was on Advancing through Adversity. Quite appropriate considering Drew and his loss of job and place. The fog of change has descended big time. So I sent it to him, because it was uplifting and reaffirmed his efforts to keep on keeping on. Also, that he needs to trust in God's faithfulness to work for good in his life.

Then I got inspired to start this blog entry, because I also thought about our daughter-in-law, Sandi, and how she is being pulled between the joy of her trip to Germany and the reality of the "sameness" of life at home. Now, there is much that is wonderful and new and happy in her life here. And she has every reason to be optimistic. But the "fog" for her right now is the dynamic duo of relationships and money. That would be complicated and lack thereof respectively. It is hard to see that good things are going to come out of this. (And what is good anyway?)  But I have every reason to believe that they will based on past experience.

So here's to sameness and the fog of change. If life were always fun and easy then it would be the same all the time. How could we possibly appreciate the wonderful times? Fun and easy would seem stale and old.

It is because they don't happen all the time that they are so special.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Happy Life

These are just some observations that are by no means original. But having had a roller coaster six months of highs and lows, after spending one day with our grandson has reminded me of how easy is it to be happy. Surround yourself with those you love and who love you. Eat and drink when you are hungry/thirsty. Enjoy where you are placed and look around to see why you should. Share your happiness because it comes right back to you. Kisses are also very important to share. And remember to be thankful for it all.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Perfect Song

I love music. I don't just enjoy it. I don't just use it as a way to pass the time. I don't care whether there are both words and music. I just love it.

Growing up I learned to play the piano and in this way I learned a great deal about the mechanics of music. The staves, treble and bass. Octaves and other basic terminology I got early on in my life. I loved that I could make wonderful sounds come from the piano.

In high school and in college, I was in the band. (Note: I also loved athletics, being in shape, and competing against my friends. But that is another story.) I had some awesome band directors who were wonderful teachers of music, but who also pushed us to be better than we were. No excuses just because we were a small school. This is the time period when I realized that music was something special in my life.

But the first memories of music in my life were my parents playing records and listening to the radio. They would sing and dance to the music. (Note: My Mom could not carry a tune in a bucket. Didn't matter!) They were so happy. When I was about eight, we got our first television. Most of what was shown during the day were music videos, of all things! I got to see the people sing and play the instruments that I had heard on the radio and records. I learned every word to every song on "Your Hit Parade." I wanted to be one of those people.

Well, quite honestly, I squandered such talents as I possessed by not realizing that even though you are good at something, to be great requires great effort. But, even so, the love of music has never left me.

We got our first stereo when I was thirteen. A real stereo with speakers that sat against opposite walls. I listened to records while lying in the floor of our living room, until I could recognize each instrument and the musical line it was playing; I learned about the ways music was organized. Instrumentals could and would move me to tears. To this day, when I hear Tara's Theme from Gone With the Wind, I anticipate every note and cry like a baby. Percy Faith, Roger Williams, Mantovani, Ferrante and Teicher, I loved them all.

Ahhh, but music and words..... to be perfect, a melody needs a voice. Truly, I could sit and list songs that I love and have great meaning in my life, and it would go on and on. But to pick one, well, not an easy task.

This past year has been full of many, many wonderful events and people. Sadly, some of these will never come again. Thankfully, many of them will. Not surprisingly, music reminds me of these people and events, so in that sense, I'll always have a reminder of them. One of the poet/musicians who has been part of my life for close to forty years is Jimmy Buffett. His experiences and insights are what drive his words. To listen to them all is to understand the world according to Buffett.

He went to Paris is a song that, to me, is a perfect song.
The melody and the instrumentation together generate such a strong emotional response in me. But the story... oh the story, is a tale of us all. We go through life "looking for answers to questions that trouble" us so. When we are young, we are full of idealism and want to change our world for the better. But we get distracted; we fall in love with life... and with others. And time slips away. We move from one place to another, have babies, fight battles, and come away scarred. But we keep searching.... and time slips away. The fortunate ones alight in a place and situation where days are full of purpose and beauty surrounds them. And toward the end they can say, "Some of it's magic and some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way."

I'm listening, Jimmy.

He Went to Paris.. by Jimmy Buffett