Saturday, October 24, 2009

Judge Not The Gift

With hesitation I drove to the funeral this afternoon. Not because of the deceased who I had only met once and not because she had made my friend's life miserable. The throbbing in my right eyeball was the reason I wanted to stay home. The church was fair sized with a hand full of people. I sat in the back, alone, not wanting to be noticed. A bad mood is a bad mood no matter where a person is and I was still aching with yesterday's unfulfilled birthday wishes.

Who were these people anyway? The woman ahead of me had an eighties hairdo, and where were the rest of my friends? At home doing their own thing on a Saturday afternoon? I judged every little detail. There was no singing, shame! Served her right, the dead lady. She should have been nicer in life. Should have treated her girls better. Why did Bill give me such a tacky birthday present?

The minister cleared his throat and began to tell the story behind the woman named Jackie, mother to my friend. His words painted a different picture than the one I had heard. She loved her girls, was an extrovert who made friends wherever she went. Due to an unfortunate accident at birth, she had received a brain injury. Later in life, the injury had caused two strokes which possibly changed her thought processes. The minister spoke of her as a "gift". A gift who drove too fast, gossiped, giggled and spoke well of her daughters while maintaining her faith. I could see the back of their heads, felt their pain and wondered if they were regretting having judged God's gift.

After getting home, I looked at the oval mirror with the black velvet backing and read the hot pink lettering about a wonderful wife. It plays music to the song, "you light up my life". I don't know if I will keep it in the living room but whenever I look into the mirror and see my own reflection, it is going to remind me to be a gift, not the judgement of a gift.

Thankyou Jackie, may you rest in peace.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Back

"When you work, you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music...and what is it to work with love? It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.." ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
"I wanna sing country songs and travel," she sighed. "But you don't even have a guitar!" I said, "isn't that the same as me wanting to be a cowboy 'cept I ain't got a horse?" We laughed, my sister and I at the art fair where imaginations run wild in the month of September and the beginning of Fall. It's the time of year when black creeps in on the bark of trees, making memory come alive. I notice it every year as the leaves change color. We become poets and our hearts begin to sing. It's like a wake up call to remind us all about our desires and correct path. Some people cry more and conjure feelings of regret.
We walked further and came across the dancing wire sculptures perfectly formed like a human body. Breathtaking! Photographers crowded the space trying to capture the sense of freedom.
"Do you remember little Wayne?" I asked. "Mrs. McClanahan's grandson? Eew, he was scary weird, why?"my sister asked. I heard he's working as a weather expert. I said. "Remember how he could make sounds like a tornado and tell us to take cover. We thought he was the weirdest kid on the block and all along he was becoming a weather man!" 
The best thing for us to remember our path could be as simple as being a kid again. Think about what you played, how you played and when did you feel like a weightless dancing sculpture? The place where time wasn't important either.
People paint with oil, people carve leaves into gourds, they use glass and some drink too much. The street music is always from the heart. My sister wants to sing, and I let her. Beers are $8 each, what the heck, do you remember, a time in September...
"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie, Which we ascribe to Heaven."
Photograph by Cathy Sherman