Love Is….

1Corinthians13

The bookmark still stands in its place at these verses I poured everything I had into sharing that day.  It will never leave these pages. 

I saw a few quotes about love this morning pop up in my Facebook feed, and I noticed that while many of them hit home about finding love again, or allowing oneself to love, or even what love isn’t, none of them were as simple and elegant as my favorite passage about love in the entire world, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.  However, it was in responding to a post of dear friend from high school, that something clicked for me.

“What is seen was not made up of what is visible!”

I guessed “faith”.  Then this morning, I came back and added hope and love.  He let me know this was from Hebrews 11:3b just now while I was writing this. (Thanks friend!!)

While I may not consider myself a Christian in the most typical sense of the term, I have, ever since I was a little girl, been in love with 1Corinthians 13.  My grandmother gave me one of those Precious Moments copies of it when I was little, and I have not been able to find it since Mom’s passing.  I hope to find it again somewhere among all my boxes and boxes of treasured memories. …it is truly one of most precious possessions.

When my mother passed away on December 19, 2000, I knew in an instant what I would read at her service.  Family members asked me repeatedly if I thought this was wise…not because it is controversial, but because of its power.  Not one of them believed they could make it through it, and even our friend (Mormon Bishop but close family friend to us all) offered to read it for me.

But I was firm. I stood that day in front of all our family and friends, and in a strong voice that might have cracked only a couple of times, read these words that so completely summed up my Mother’s heart, her soul, and her relationship with all around her. I read this straight from my copy of the Living Bible, Family Edition given to my by my grandparents a few days before my wedding in December of 1984.  I stood and read the entire Chapter 13:1-13.  I have given presentations in front of hundreds at conventions of my peers, but never has a reading been more difficult, yet so easy in my entire life. Mom had loved me well. Originally, I had only planned to share verses 1-3 on the blog, but as I typed, I knew I had to go back and include it all.  The internet inspirational posters can’t come close to capturing the power and beauty of these words when lifting only portions of 4-8.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

If I had the gift of being able to speak in other languages without learning them, and could speak in every language there is in all of heaven and earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making noise.  If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all about what is going to happen in the future, knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would it do?  Even if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, I would still be worth nothing at all without love.  If I gave everything I have to poor people, and I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn’t love others, it would be of no value whatever.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude.  Love does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable or touchy.  It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices when truth wins out. If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

1 Corinthians 13:8-10

Al the special gifts and powers from God will someday come to an end, but love goes on forever. Someday prophecy, and speaking in unknown languages, and special knowledge–these gifts will disappear. Now we know so little, even with our special gifts, and the preaching of those most gifted is still so poor.  But when we have been made perfect and complete, then the need for these inadequate special gifts will come to an end, and they will disappear.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

It’s like this: when I was a child I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I became a man my thoughts grew far beyond those of my childhood., and now I have put away the childish things.  In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face to face. Now that all I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God see into my heart right now.

1 Corinthians 13:13

There are three things that remain–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

 

 

Reclusive to Sharing

photo

Magnolia blossom, joyfully shared with me by a student in May 2014.  She thought it was the most beautiful thing she had ever found, and rushed to let me see it. For privacy reasons, I will not show her face, but believe me when I tell you, that smile could light any dark corner. 

 

I am naturally shy and keep my feelings close to my heart. I share so little of who I truly am…at least I have been this way in the past.  If something positive occurred in my life, few would know it; it was as if I feared I would cause it to cease by revealing it. When trials came my way, I turned them inward and took on the darkness they brought until I felt as dark and shadowed as the back alleys in the night.  Pain ate at my soul and heart, and keeping it within seemed to be how to show strength to the outside world: that I was surviving.

 

But surviving is not acceptable to me any more. I have a need to thrive and live! Recent history and major changes in my life though have triggered a need to share, to let the rest of the world know in some small way that I am here, and that I matter…more importantly, that things and people and circumstances matter to me.  I would, in years past, have kept my joy to myself, as I found joy more in solitary pursuits than in those with my ex-husband.  My children, though a source of consternation at times, were also my greatest providers of joy and amusement at the minutia of daily life. Of living.

 

But a change has occurred to cause me to open up…to believe in the need to share. Perhaps it is more of an ego fault, but I now find myself wanting to share openly my joy and the source of that newfound pleasure in my life. I awake in the morning hopeful of what the day may bring. There are still many of the same money issues that have tried to haunt me since the separation, but they no longer terrify me.  I know that through grace and prayer, family and friends, resourcefulness and care, I will survive to thrive.  I have looked back at where I was even a short 12 months ago, and my heart swells to know that I am making my life over into a journey worth living…worth sharing.  It has been painful at times, but I feel drawn now to share this joy that has been borne from pain with others who may be feeling a similar sense of desperation and dread that once kept me shrouded like a storm-soaked wool blanket.  Uncomfortable…unbearable…painful to the touch.

 

I carefully check my outlook and perspective now before I speak. Am I sharing from a place of pride in myself, or because I desire to help someone see him or herself in my story and perhaps understand that there may exist a way out that has yet to reveal itself? Can I soften my view of someone’s opinion and recognize that while I might not share it or can even stomach it, I will never be privy to all the history and condition that makes them who they are and see the world with their same eyes? I hope I am capable in each case, but still, I will continue to share my imperfect journey through life as this act of sharing myself continues to give me strength and confidence, and even hope and compassion.

 

Please feel free to share your challenges and obstacles here; it is through sharing that we take a single mind, heart, and trouble, and lay it at the feet and hearts of many for their wisdom, faith, and love to envelope and release with you.

I Have Seen “Content”

I’ve Seen Content…

 

Today is Saturday, the first day that we haven’t had 90 plus degree heat with 150% humidity here in RVA in a week or so.  The sun keeps hiding behind the clouds, casting a shadow over the freshly cut yard and our deck.  Coffee is that much sweeter and richer first thing in the morning when the temperature is conducive to sipping hot drinks.  I require that hit of caffeine first thing in the morning, much like my meditation, but it sure is easier to get down when the ambient temperature doesn’t exceed that in the cup.

 

It’s been a very rare sort of day; the most strenuous activity I’ve managed so far has been a lovely breakfast of pancakes and farmer’s market sage sausage with mixed fruit (that stuff is to die for by the way…highly urge you to seek them out at http://www.salt-pork.com/ .  You won’t regret it).  Oh, and a shower.  I did manage that.  So I was leaning on the kitchen window, watching “Bruce” chilling in the beach chair in the backyard.  I just paused to watch for a moment…bit of peaceful voyeurism for a Saturday morning. I must have heard him say a half a dozen times this morning just how much he was enjoying this…this complete and absolute lack of something that needed to be done.  The most pressing need at hand was to move the chairs from sun to shade as the sun steadily arced across the sky from morn to noon.  We both work hard, and a day of complete rest with no demands on our minds or our time or our bodies is rare.

 

I just watched from my window, and saw him check his phone…laughing.  Hand to the side of his face and smile.  That beautiful smile. Texts from friends wishing him well on this beautiful weekend and his vacation.  A text from one of his children telling him how much he is loved, and anxious to see him for dinner tonight.  Laughing again…most likely at a blooper reel or video of one of his favorite comedians.  I’ve rarely seen someone stop to relax so completely, let life carry on around him while he stopped his race to join its frenzy.  He put his head back for a moment, closed his eyes, and just smiled.

 

Content.  I have felt contentment myself, but I do believe it was the first time I’ve witnessed content outside a sleeping child’s bed.  It was truly beautiful.

 

I pray for more days of content.

What is in a Name?

I just responded to a private message from someone on Facebook about changing my name after the divorce is final, and I got to thinking really hard about this.  Seems folks have some strong opinions both sides of the fence.  Some believe quite strongly that I should keep my married name, or change it to be hyphenated with my maiden name.  Various reasons given included:

  • I’m published under the married name
  • The married name is a part of my identity/history
  • It’s shorter than my maiden name…

Others chose taking my maiden name back approach:

  • It’s my original identity
  • Purging old wounds….

Let’s stop right there on “purging old wounds”.  I have rather strong feelings about the married last name at the moment.  It is, and always will be, a part of my identity, as I was married many more years than I was not.  My children are Dells; it seems to me, that if I were to remove that piece of my name entirely, it may send a signal to them that I am trying to also distance myself from who they are.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  So for now, the name stays “Dell”.  

Q: But your Facebook has you hyphenated maiden-married name?  Explain? 

A: Yep, did that donkey’s years ago so high school friends and family could find me easier.  Next question?

Q: But what if you remarry?

A: Goodness some of you spend a lot of time thinking about me…starting to make my head swell.  Stop that (love ya)!  I suspect, though I don’t know as I’m not in that position of having a man on one knee in front of me at the moment, that out of love and respect for whomever that might be, should that day actually ever come, that I would take his last name alone.  It would be the start of a new journey and path, and would deserve all of my heart and attention that would mean.

Q: But…

A: Enough…go back to watching cat videos on YouTube.   

Sundresses, Smiles and Spins

Feeling chatty this morning…deal with it 

I received a text Thursday a week ago from a friend that absolutely made me feel incredible. I was spending a leisurely afternoon amongst the racks at Goodwill, as that is the clothes closet of choice for anyone like myself steadily losing weight and not wanting to go broke while trying to stay clothed…so anyway, I’m looking at dresses since I have this odd sudden desire to feel girly again (still not telling you “Bruce Wayne’s true identity…might be sooner than later though…), when I run across a retro looking black and white sundress. It’s gorgeous. I also know that 3 of the women in my school would knock me over to get it.

So while I’m trying it on, and for once, complimenting myself on looking darned good in it, the phone dings. Not my honey’s tone, but the more “generic” tone. Normally, I’d leave it, but I thought I’d have a quick peek, being in a good mood while still in a dressing room can only mean good things, right? So it is one of the 3 co-workers, who would kill to have the dress. It is a photo of her art, with the message that I’ve inspired her to start painting again. I absolutely melted. In that moment, I knew that I was doing what I was meant to do, and I thank her for letting me see that.

(and yes, I bought the dress, which just needs a new button to keep me from flashing everyone unexpectedly…it just screams “Let’s walk around Carytown, holding hands and looking in windows”).

So fast forward to last night…I’ve since purchased two more “Marilyn Monroe” sundresses.  The choice for last night was highly daring for me.  Since losing such much weight, well, I’ve apparently misplaced the cleavage too.  Go figure.  Totally not fair.  Anyway…this black halter sundress with white flowers is gorgeous, and quite, um, plunging shall we say.  I’m looking down at the girls, wondering if athletic tape could somehow improve the situation: at least make it LOOK as if there are a pair still down there and give them a lift north.  Oh sod it…just go with it.

“Bruce” and I set off for Carytown, the really hip side of town where everything is in walking distance: shops, $1.99 theater, a ton of places to eat, and 99% of it all locally owned.  Love supporting this place, and even would consider this a good spot to eventually move (Bruce, quit trying to whack the keyboard…).  First stop, movie theater.  This is the historic landmark in RVA, the Byrd Theater (http://byrdtheatrefoundation.org/).  Incredibly beautiful theater, but make sure you take cash; they don’t do plastic.  So, the two options were “The Other Woman” (ummmm…no.  Not a good choice) or “The Muppet Movie”  YES!!  Love Muppets!  How appropriate that two folks who are a pair of big kids at heart, and who spend so much of their lives with kids, would have a first movie of muppets.

After the show, it was strolling around Carytown, which is the ONLY thing to do after an evening at the movies, peeping in windows, laughing at displays, trying to figure out how anyone can pay some of the prices they pay for some of those items (cool though they may be)…and holding hands, and laughing.  Or should I say, smiling.  Smiling/laughing. Smaughing.  There, new word.  When he smiles, he makes this little sound like a chuckle.  I don’t even have to see his face to know when he’s smiling.  How cool is that?  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, should we part paths in the future, I’ll have so many incredible memories to carry me through.  Lovely, lovely man…

So the night wrapped up at a pizza by the slice place, Mary Angela’s (http://maryangelaspizza.com/) for a slice and a cheese steak (which Bruce claims is about the best he’s had outside of Philly).  We must confess, we were both charmed by a little girl, probably no more than 3 or 4 at the front.  She was spinning in circles, pausing, and blowing kisses at Bruce…then everyone else. We both had to just watch her, such pure joy and love in her little face as she spun, paused, blew two-handed kisses, sun, paused, kissed.  Precious.

Spin….pause….kiss….

Sounds like a great motto for how to live life.

 

Love No Matter….

love no matter who

Welcome to this beautiful Monday morning!  The air is crisp: not exactly chilly, but a nice reprieve from all the rain and scorching heat we’ve had recently.  I had an amazing weekend that still is carrying over into today and tomorrow.  Any chance to spend this much time getting to know the new man in my life makes me quite grateful that I have this opportunity for a long summer break.  There.  I said it.  I’m a teacher, and I love my summer break!  So sue me.

Morning meditation was a bust…I couldn’t focus. The cats kept creeping under me and into my lap.  The dog kept laying on the mat and putting her head on my knee and nudging my hand.  My thoughts kept creeping back to the trials my daughter is experiencing in her life. I’d then get annoyed because I wanted to reflect on the church service I had attended with my sister and her family yesterday as they prepare for a two week missions trip to Lima (yes, I went to church…remember, I don’t NOT believe, I just believe differently).  I wanted to reflect on where my relationship is currently with “Bruce”  (it’s just occurred to me that I have a topic for another post…what do you call someone you’re dating when you both pushing 50?). Nothing I wanted to accomplish, was happening on the mat this morning.  Even when I gave up on the meditation and just went to trying sun salutations, the dog crept in between my legs while trying to move into Warrior….the cats immediately moved onto my pillow and behind my feet.  Unless I wanted to end up on my rear end, I figured I had just give it a rest this morning and move on.  See proof of my troubles this morning….

cat vs yoga

Grumped my way back into the house to fix coffee and grab the laptop to have a good whine about it on Facebook.  But while I was waiting for the morning dopamine delivery to be ready, I scrolled through my timeline, and ran across the poster above. I’ve seen it many times before and appreciated the message, but for some reason, something clicked this time.

“Some people won’t love you no matter what you do…”

I reflected on someone close to me.  It seems that as fortunate as I have been in relationships (yes, even the ups and downs of 29 years of marriage to one man), my beautiful friend has had the opposite experience.  She is in a relationship now that is so toxic emotionally I’m afraid, that I find it painful to witness.  I have really tried to support her, counsel her, guide her, listen  to her, but it becomes more and more difficult as time grows on.  I know I cannot force her to listen to reason, but as a friend, it is heartbreaking to watch her trudge through life, one depressing event after another.  She claims over and over that she loves her partner, that she couldn’t live without him.  Then in the next breath, is hysterically screaming that he is constantly putting her down and telling her she is no good…telling her that no one but him will ever love her.  As her friend, trust me, it is painful to hear those words and not physically respond to them.  But I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t do well in jail, so….

I can reflect as well on my own marriage breakdown, and how different it has been to my friend’s experience.  I was unable to “make” my ex love me, and it took a very long time for me to understand that.  It took even longer for me to understand fully that it wasn’t his fault, nor was it mine. We created a beautiful family together, and that was what we were destined to do.  No amount of changing or therapy or pretending was going to change the fact that over the course of our marriage, we both grew into more confident adults who knew better what they needed in life and were smart enough (and compassionate enough) to admit we couldn’t provide that for the other. So now we stay friends, and that is the best way it should be.

“…and some people won’t stop loving you no matter what you do.”

Which brings me here.  I really don’t think there is much to say about this.  Reflect on all those in your life, past/present, family/friends who are always there for you (sometimes with bail money), who will tell you off in a heartbeat, then offer to kick the crap out of whoever has upset you.  These are the people we all need in our lives; people who will build you up, hold you up, and love you, even when you are busy being the biggest dumb ass you can possibly be.

“Go where the love is!”

…and when you get a text that you need to come snuggle, that’s exactly where you go….

Namaste om shanti

K

Raising Teen Daughters: Tips for Fathers

This one really struck home. I’ve reblogged this one for your reflection today, as I think about my own daughter…

Otrazhenie

Father

From No Longer Superhero

At a time when girls are under unprecedented assault from our increasingly sexualised culture, there’s at least one very welcome change – we’re finally waking up to the vital importance of dads.

According to Steve Biddulph, today’s fathers spend three times as long with their children each day – talking, playing and teaching them – as the fathers of just one generation ago. Girls with an involved dad have been found in many studies to do better at school and have higher self-esteem. They’re also less likely to become pregnant too young or have problems with alcohol or drugs. For a girl, Dad is her personal ambassador from the Planet Male. If she has a good relationship with him, she’s unlikely to settle for less from the other males in her life, or allow herself to be manipulated.

Too many fathers however still fail their daughters…

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