Readers of this blog and A Good Home have encouraged my family and me through some crazy times this year.
You’ve consoled and encouraged me in the domestic arts, including the two times I tried making outdoor Christmas arrangements! Several readers offered compliments, tips, commiseration, inspiration.
And Arna sent me this photo.
“I told you I have a planter like yours!” she said.
Yes, Arna, but yours is far more assured.
From last fall to this spring, I had to abandon virtually all my book-related activities and take tomy bed.
Some of you decided to help. You bought my book, and wrote wonderful reviews.
Phil reviewed A Good Home for an American book website last year, then created computer-assisted images promoting the book.
John G. took my book with himon his annual canoe trip, then wrote a review too.
In Avery, Texas, 90 year old Lou Mathis and his wife Aggie were themselves struggling this September. Their farm business was suffering because of its name, “Isis”. (Isis was the ancient Egyptian goddess, but in today’s climate, not a popular name.)
Lou asked on their blog: “WHAT DO YOU THINK? For some reason I refuse to give up the… ISIS FARMS. But would painting the sign OVER IN GREEN……”
I’d been nervous about it. But people like John V. wrote to my blog afterwards:
“I heard you speak on the radio about healing and it gave me perspective and hope for my own circumstances. Sincerethanks for sharing.”
Such validation for a book completed in dire times!
On crazily painful days, I often forced myself to write poems, making fun of myself and my home life. Some (like Stiletto Heels) became blog posts, which made you laugh, uplifting me in return.
Andra wrote:“I absolutely howled with laughter reading this. Thanks, Cynthia! Have had similar thoughts watching the young ladies strutting about in high heels and skimpy dresses in inclement weather. And like you, I recall being just as foolish back in the day. Great poem.”
Then, without warning this fall, life changed perilously. My husband nearly died.
Titled No Words, my poem expressed the raw agony our family experienced.
In reply, you warmly supported us with prayers, consolation and good wishes.
Incredible kindness, especially because I’ve never met most of you in person.
“Thank you” hardly seems enough. But thank you, anyway.
Before the car accident, I was busy leading the big projects, travelling here and there. Running around trying to change the world can make a person miss the beauty of “ordinary” things.
Injuries and pain are indescribably worse. You finally have time to see, but barely have the energy to look.
But – oh – it’s worth the effort!
To see one’s surroundings with new and grateful eyes.
To take joy in the small moments.
To be open to small patches of everyday glory.
Snow on evergreens. The first snow makes the garden beautiful, day and night.
The late sun. Late afternoon sunlight shining on wood floors is magical. And when the late sun hits the wavy glass sidelights in the front door of our old farmhouse, it’s wondrous.
My husband’s truant socks. He has tons of single socks and we spend time searching for their matches.I used to get irritated by this. Or by newspapers strewn across the breakfast table. (Or his overlooking my small attempts to ‘cheer up’ our house.)
Now, I call them “signs of life”. And I give thanks for having someone kind, funny and loving to share my everyday life with. (And I try to assemble the newspapers without muttering.)
Freshly washed sheets. There’s luxury in the smell and feel of freshly washed cotton sheets although they’ve been used and washed many times.
The old wool blanket. “Canadiana”, for sure, itwould be worth something, unstained. Do I care about the stain? No. I love this blanket for its brilliant stripes – and for having survived decades of use.
Blooming Amaryllis. Bought for 6 bucks, it re-blooms (big red blooms) on long stalks each winter. ‘Nuff said.
Our family’s big mixing bowl. Many apple pies have been mixed up in that beautiful old bowl.
My daughter’s dogs. Sometimes, just the sight of them gladdens my heart. One brownish-black, one white, they’re both tiny dogs with personalities of their own. As I write, they’re stretched out beside me, fast asleep.
Slowing down by choice is great. Being forced to do so is awful.
But in the spirit of lighting a candle and finding my way out of darkness,I’ve been focusing on positives.
And keeping both eyes open for the everyday kind of glory.
This post is dedicated to the caring staff at the pain management centre of Toronto Rehabilitation Hospital. One of the techniques they teach their patients is mindfulness.