Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Conquering Heart

Before them equaled
two parents and
three children,

or them equaled
a man and a wife,

them equaled
a woman and 
her dog.

They locked eyes
at an adoption event
and instantly bonded.

Not really that unusual,
except for one thing.

This sweet one year-old
mixed breed had been
badly abused in her short
life and was extremely
wary of strangers.

Not so with her new 
mistress, my {now} 
sister-in-law, Laura.

She trusted her then and
nine years, one husband
and three babies later, she
loves her devotedly, still.

She began life as Missy,
but a new life called for a
new name, and she's been
Wrigley, ever since.

Wrigley has taught me much
over the years  about love, 
acceptance and living with ~ 
if not conquering ~ fear.

I took Wrigley for a walk
when Bill and Laura were
first dating.  As we strolled
the Georgetown throngs, her
discomfort was tangible,
as she scanned faces, vigilant 
for the bully she couldn't

She still hates crowds.

But she adores walking with
her Laura, the heroine of this
dog's tale, and she will even
put up with mobs of people
if it means pleasing her.

Although Laura rarely
asks her to do it.

When Laura and Bill got
married, Wrigs accepted
him as part of them.

And when the babies came
along, she welcomed each
one as part of them, too.

But Laura will always be
number one in her
furry heart.

While visiting on a short trip
last week, I ran upstairs
for a book while Bill and
Laura were at work.

There on the floor, in front
of the master bedroom, was
Wrigley, missing Laura.

That stopped me in my 

As I bent to stroke the neck
of this gentle soul, I reflected
on how easily Wrigley could
have let fears from her early
life turn her into a mean dog,
or at the very least, a very
unfriendly one.

Instead, she opened her big
canine heart and, except for
crowds, embraced life in a most
positive way.

It saddens me to see Wrigley's
now-white muzzle and the slight
slowing of her gait.  But as my
nieces and nephew hug and kiss
her, I think of the journey
her life has taken and how the
stars aligned on that day she
first locked eyes with Laura.

Lovely, lucky, old soul,

Let me not pray to be sheltered
from dangers, but to be fearless
in facing them.  Let me not beg
for the stilling of my pain, but for
the heart to conquer it.

~ Rabindranath Tagore


Monday, June 10, 2013

45 Days

Good-bye, good-bye, world.
Good-bye, Grover's Corners....
Mama and Papa.  Good-bye to
clocks ticking.....and Mama's
sunflowers.  And food and coffee.
And new-ironed dresses and hot
baths.....and sleeping and waking
up.  Oh earth, you're too wonderful
for anybody to realize you.

~ Thorton Wilder, Our Town

I'm not certain when I first saw
Our Town or heard the character
of Emily, as a ghost, speaking
these words about the ordinary
things we mortals take for granted.

But I do remember
the catch in my breath,
tears welling in my eyes
as this character on stage
brought life into focus for
me in a way I'd never quite
understood it, before.

And I've never forgotten the
longing in Emily's voice as 
she spoke so lovingly of things
that, most of the time, slip 
under our radar.

It's been 45 not-so-ordinary
days since my last post.

My firstborn danced through prom,
plowed through senior finals, 
bloomed at her first art show/
graduation open house, whirled 
past graduation and attendant 
festivities, and is still smiling
her way through more grad 
parties on the weekends.

While we were caught up in
a flurry of celebrations, exams,
family comings and goings, gift
giving, hugs and kisses, life, as
it does, marched on.

45 days.

At my son's 8th grade banquet,
I had the privilege of hugging
the wife of one of my son's past
coaches; this kind man is now
battling cancer.  While we
spoke with tears in our eyes, all
I could see was her grace and
determination to hold things 
together for their son.

45 days.

I received an email from my
bestie in New Zealand:

Dear Suzanne, my darling 
dad died on May 19.....

My heart plummeted.

45 days.

A text from another 
bestie, Kathleen:

I wanted to give you an update 
from my oncologist.

It is good news and bad.....

We are focused on the good.

45 days.

Searching for my favorite
high school teacher on-line,
Google found her.

She died two summers ago.

73 miles away.

And while technically that didn't
happen during the last 45 days,
when I saw her lovely face smiling
at me from the page of Benson's
Funeral home, it might as well of
been, I felt it so keenly.

45 days.

Days that have me yearning, as
Emily in Our Town so eloquently
professes, for the ordinary ones.

For daisies in a jam jar,

laundry flapping on the line,

smoke wafting from the grill,

Gracie dog warm in my lap,

wine in the driveway at sunset,

cheering at baseball games,

eating warm berries,

bare feet in the grass.

These summer days, I want
to realize the wonder of this
earth ~

this life,

the blessedness

of ordinary,

tucked in among the ups
and downs that are bound 
to be there, too.

45 days.

What have yours been like?

I'd love to know.


all photos my own