On Learning To Get Back Up

October 29, 2019
“Instructions for living a life:  Pay attention.  Be astonished.  Tell about it.”   ~ Mary Oliver

(Love Sculpture – Des Moines Sculpture Park)

Java Joes + Saturday morning breakfasting

Some days roll off the moments in a slow-motion of happiness, one simple image at a time.

This past weekend were two of them.  We planned nothing. There was talk of a movie, Scrabble at the laundromat (never made it), Sunday afternoons at the library (not this week).  Mostly, we floated, surrendered to whatever arose, and let it all happen.

We spent the better part of our Saturday morning at the farmers market, the last of the season.  We visited all of our favorite haunts, ate breakfast burritos, bought flowers, and smiled at puppies in their argyle sweaters.

It was such a good day.  By far, my favorite part?

Batman.  I'm not sure who was more excited, the kids or me.  Much to my husband's amazement, I found myself circling back, again and again.

“I had no idea you were such a fan.”

October 2019 – Des Moines Farmers Market

I think sometimes about the seasons of life that have made me who I am

— — —

As a child, a mother who was less than kind.  I'm certain there were challenges, and she was doing the best she could.

But I realize now, that after she passed, I've spent decades continuing to try and win the love of everyone I've ever known.  Undoing this way of being has proven to be one of the hardest things I've ever done

— — —

On the second day of summer vacation between my sophomore and junior years of high school, in the wee hours of the morning, I was in an ambulance headed to the hospital.  I couldn't walk and was in so much pain, that even the smallest of bumps felt like the end of the world.

In my mind, I feel like I fully healed.  Although the scars on my back give most people pause, the surgeon would later remind me how lucky I was.  And speeding on a gravel road trying to beat curfew wasn't the smartest of decisions.

I lay in my hospital bed, reminding myself of the gift I'd been given.  A lifetime of being able to put one foot in front of the other.

Gray's Lake – One of my favorite walking paths – October 2019

The teenage years, when my son struggled with addiction.

Living close to the residential treatment center offered an advantage because I was often privy to impromptu events.  One afternoon they were short-staffed and called to ask if I could help with dinner and a fire pit a few hours later.  I put my rake away, let the puppies run through the leaf pile a few more times, and walked over.

There’s something about a fire, isn't there?  It’s always mesmerizing to sit in front of flames.  We ate smores and drank hot chocolate, but the food wasn’t the point.  What I remember most was the kids chatting on and on about the universe.  Eventually, attempts are made toward the finer points of string theory, of physics, but mostly this

“When you turn left into the cul-de-sac, what if somewhere else you’re turning right?  And that choice leads to a totally different life, one you’re living trillions of miles away in a different time?”

I tell them quantum mechanics isn't really my forte and that it sounded complicated.

“Kinda like life,” another says.

We all nod.

With Harry and Sally – October 2019

It's been over a year now since I lost my job and was re-hired.  Since I nearly lost my marriage.  Since I started over in a new city.  And like all the other seasons, I promised myself the experience would change me for the better

I'm asked, “We know that emotional stress can cause physical damage. What are the intangibles that led you here?”  And I realize that's has been the question for as long as I can remember.  So I began picking up every part, holding it up to the light, and deciding if it brings me joy

My days are far more peaceful and I'm beginning to feel free

Nala – October 2019

On Sunday afternoon, knowing the pot roast had a few more hours in the oven, we took the puppies for a walk through the sculpture park downtown.  We strolled slowly, taking in the beautiful fall day, and sat for a picnic of sorts, with a few snacks we'd picked up along the way.

I tell my husband of a Dr. Laura call I've listened to again and again and again

Of the caller who wanted desperately to do something different with his life, but realized he was highly anxious about making the wrong decision.  He called to ask for her help.  “I know it's unreasonable, but I'd feel better knowing the future”

“Did you see the Batman movie where they explained how Batman got to be Batman?  He fell into a deep hole that was filled with bats, and the bats went crazy.  They hauled him out and his father carried him back to the house.  Do you know what the father said to him?”

“No, I don't remember”

He said, “Son, do you know why we fall?  It's to learn how to get back up. 

I don't remember much about the movie outside of that line.  But it's beautifully said.  We must fall.  There's no other way we learn to get up.  So your fantasy about knowing the future?  You'll never learn how to get back up”     ~ Dr. Laura | December 14, 2018   Hour 2

— — —

He smiles, “I get it now”

Poppy – October 2019

A lovely ending to a perfectly ordinary weekend.  In between, I looked and saw this light.  It felt so good to be home.

__ __ __

Happy Halloween to you, friends.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Heather Shores November 2, 2019 at 8:18 am

    I just found your blog and couldn’t stop reading. I remembered how much I loved blogging. I found your apple cheddar soup recipe. Love all this!

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