Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I Am a Wanderer

I don't know a better title.

A wanderer seems to fit. I sure don't seem to fit. A lot of times I wonder where I do fit as I don't feel comfortable anywhere, really. Such a conundrum.

I want to feel comfortable in my own darkness, but I don't feel comfortable in my own skin. Weird, huh?

When I was little I used to think I should have been a pioneer. I fantasized about how glamorous that life would have been. Being self-sufficient. The adventure of it all. The older I get, though, I realize I could never have been a pioneer. I can't walk up three stairs without stepping on my maxi skirt and tripping. How would I ever had crossed the plains?

Growing up in the 60's and 70's I coveted the real, true Hippies and their communes. Living together in perfect love. Being harmonious with life and nature and having no animosity at all. I know I would have taken to the bra-burning with a power and energy that could not be matched. The sandals and love beads and peasant dresses...I would have loved it. I think I would have thrived. I was too introverted for all that free love stuff, though. I would have been embarrassed, shunned by the commune for not being more forthcoming and open.

Gypsies have always been a passion of mine as well. Watching them on old westerns. Their big earrings and flowing skirts. No roots. House on wheels. Go when things got uncomfortable. Big earrings and a camp trailer are the closest I've come to that aspiration. I have acclimated well to both of them, though. The dancing, though...I never could have danced good enough to get a scrap of bread, let alone money. Scratch that idea.

I get kind of hokey ideas sometimes. I see the world as parables - tangible things representing intangible things which make my understanding easier. I like to try potions and remedies that are unorthodox sometimes. Oils and just plain old time. Positive affirmations.

Yeah.

I probably wouldn't have made it as a pilgrim or one of the earlier settlers in America, either. I'd have been burned at the stake or drowned in the pond as a witch. Am I in some time warp? Wandering around without a place to call my own?

As I See It

My mother had macular degeneration. She found out she had it right after my Nathan was born. She was crushed and devastated and bitter and angry and sad - all the stages of accepting a loss in your life.

After my dad died, she took a year and went back to school to recertify her teaching degree. She had taught in Idaho but never Utah. She had a major in Home Economics with a minor in English. When she went job hunting, the only opening was for an English teacher at Springville Junior High School. She took it in hopes of eventually transferring into the home economics department - her true love. It wasn't long until she realized the home ec teachers were as young as she was and fully intended on staying in their capacity.

So for some 16 years she taught English. She was the best English teacher you could hope to have. Only problem was, you didn't realize that until you were well into life, with those junior high years only a tiny memory in the rear view mirror.

Finally she got a break and the sewing teacher at the junior high retired. She had her dream job. For about a year. Then she found out about the macular degeneration. It was difficult to see straight on. Images were wavy and out of proportion. Peripherally she could see adequately but straight on sight continued spiraling downward. She could no longer evaluate sewing projects as no seam lines looked straight. She was trying to decide what her future was going to be now. Certainly not what her carefully drafted blueprints had looked like not that long ago. She needed to plan and prepare. Because, after all, there was no one to take care of her....but her.

Enter Nathan. Born with bilateral lower limb deficiency. His birth defects hit her hard. Again she was crushed and devastated and bitter and angry and sad. Her faith waivered. Her understanding was lacking. I think she cried harder and more than I did.

However, without batting an eye or taking a second breath, she said to me, "I would give my eyes this very minute if it meant Nathan would have his legs."

I knew she meant it, too. If it were possible, it would have been done before her lips closed over the last word.

Needless to say, I throw a little celebration when I leave the ophthalmologist's office with a clean bill of "EYE" health. But I wonder, are my eyes really that good? Does his diagnosis really mean anything?

I feel like each day of my life is an "eye test". I'm surrounded by people in various situations and struggles and life experiences. Some of their own choosing. Some perhaps more circumstantial. A few of them ideal and some, well, some are just downright unfair. And I wonder {sometimes more verbally than I should} about their situation and why they don't do something about it or make different choices. It would be so easy, right?

At least in my eyes.

Am I seeing that bottom line on the chart? That fine print? Or do I focus on the fact that I can read that top line perfectly without skipping a beat or stumbling over whether it's a "C" or a "G"? Goodness knows the type font is large enough. And I think I see it all.

But that bottom line.

Grateful to be able to go home and kneel down before my Heavenly Father and get a real eye test. He will remind me that "I" do not see the whole picture and it is not my place to judge. He will guide me through the letters on that bottom, small-font line:

lovegraceforgivecompassion