Thursday, February 26, 2015

Facebook Free, the First 24 Hours


Yawn.  

Really.

The Facebook account bearing my name has been deactivated for the Lenten season.  That's 40 days, count 'em, minus Sundays, until Easter.  

No withdrawals so far.  Those come later.    

Results for the first 24:  Extra time to think thoughts in my own mind rather than randomly consume others' plus myriad videos and tips on how to clean my home.  Add in extra time to actually clean my home as opposed to simply reading about it.    

Today I had contact with exactly two people on a friends list of nearly five hundred.  

Did I enjoy the banter with the other 494?  Absolutely.  

Was it mutual?  It genuinely seemed so.  

Did we enjoy it enough for an in-person get-together?

Crickets.

What about the last six-ish months?    

Let's see...Trinni, she's my niece.  

Lyndal and Keith...they're my cousins.

Jacqueline!  She and her dad surprised me last week with a visit.  I hadn't seen Jacqueline in twelve years.  She was two years old then and that was shortly after the dearest friend I've ever had in this life passed away, Jacqueline's mother.

Instant messaging...regularly with Amanda, and occasionally with Karmen, Linda, Angela and Lesia.  Condolence visits with Stan and Bobbie.  

There was Thanksgiving dinner with Jan and Dennis.  A baby shower for their daughter-in-law Megan, saw their son Brandon that day as well.

And FaceTime with Bill, can't forget Bill, my husband's cousin, what a hoot he is.      

Also with Thom, but he's my son.  Does that count?  

Interestingly enough, my children rarely interacted with me on Facebook, though I do commend them, well one of them, for regular contact with the 'rents.  The other I would classify as sporadic.  I spoke with him on the phone about that, and his recommendation for when I am missing them terribly is to think of the times they were @$$holes.

It doesn't work that way, but that's a blog post for another day.        

A phone call now and then from Diane, another cousin.  Oh yeah, we did have dinner together along with her friend Nina who became my Facebook friend afterwards.  I see Sue and Tracey at church number one I attend on Sunday morning.  At church number two, let's see, there's Judy, Mike, Marlana, David, Cayce.  More than one church is also a blog post for another day.  Suffice to say one cannot get enough of Jesus!    

I've counted twenty-seven people whom I've had contact with outside of Facebook in the last six months, twenty-seven of 496.  If my arithmetic is correct, I have had contact with 5.44% of my Facebook friends outside of Facebook.  

One of my sons is coming to visit this month, and the other is coming next month, but I'll not complicate future calculations with them. They're supposed to come see their mother occasionally when they've moved 1,600+ miles away from her!  These visits will also include a wife and a fiancee, which again would change the math, so I'm not counting them either.  Like their husband/fiancee, can't they be counted on for a visit out of love or obligation?  
    
And my contribution to this contrast of online friends versus the ones I've made the effort to visit in person?  Well, there is George, Sarah, Lesia, Dennis and Jan, Stan and Bobbie. That comes up to 1.41%.   Again, I'm not counting the flight I made to Colorado to see my children.  I'm supposed to do that, too, out of love, obligation, guilt or some mathematically incalculable combination of the three.    

And I just remembered my hairdresser.  I think the world of her.  She's a classmate from high school.  We have much in common, much to talk about, we both have two grown sons, but our friendship is primarily reserved for the time I'm in her chair, a business relationship with perks, I suppose.  

Indictment city?

Or just the non-reality of social media friendships?  Well, not "non" but single digit percentages hover dangerously near that region.  

The people on the other side of the screen liking and chatting online with me are quite real.  I tried to be considerate of their feelings, and the ones whom I'd have the most difficulty doing so with were on the blocked list.  If I'm going to communicate online with people I rarely see in person, I exercise the right to be choosy.   That is one striking similarity to my life on this side of the computer monitor.  

My friendships online were quite warm, loving even, but 95.6% of them didn't involve the warmth of a handshake or a hug.  Meetings of the mind and heart, admiring new grandbabies and giving congratulation where due are all lovely, but the part of me which grew up in the 20th century longs for friendships they way they were then.  

I have my work cut out for me in this busy, busy 21st century world, but my plan is to work harder on relationships in real time.  Therein is my on again off again relationship with Facebook.  I want something it seems not willing to give me, yet I return periodically to give it another chance.  What will it take for me to learn?  Is it so unreasonable to want to be in the presence of those I'm willing to share my heart with by the keystroke?  

My conclusion is I've traveled the lazy road.  With clicks on the keyboard, I racked up nearly 500 friends.  I've made the effort to be with 1.41% of them.  

1.41%.  Something to chew on.

Your percentage is probably higher.  I hope it is.  I could issue a challenge for you to do the same, but I question how many of us are truly ready for the answer.         
     

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

To Believe or Not to Believe


For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.  Romans 12:3 New American Standard Bible


...with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  New International Version


...according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  King James Version



Operating on the belief in the Word of God, everyone has been granted the gift of faith.  What one does with the gift is entirely up to the free will God also granted to mankind.  

Some have taken this measure of faith and thrown it out as completely irrational.  And in a way it is, at least as far as what man can prove in a laboratory.   As there is much yet which cannot be proven by our limited understanding of Science, a most extraordinary subject authored by the Lord, faith can't be measured in a test tube, but those who don't reject it find that their granted measure only increases with regular use.

Unbelievers taunt believers as blind followers, telling them, "We have Science."  Placing one's own mind above the Mind of the Creator, they deem themselves demi-gods of intellect within a brain subject to deterioration, a mind subject to dementia and delusions.  Thousands of years ago, the prophet Isaiah (40:22) told us the Lord is enthroned above the "circle" of the earth, but because of a few people whose understanding was not yet complete, unbelievers sometimes dismiss the whole lot of believers as "flat earthers."  

As the enemy tried to use the Word of God to tempt Jesus at a time when He was in a greatly weakened physical state, unbelievers twist the Word of God and taunt believers with vapid statements lifted out of context of the entire Truth in scriptures, saying such hogwash as the Bible approves of slavery and demeans women.  Why in the world would the scriptures contain such a dramatic story as the deliverance of God's chosen people from the pharaoh of Egypt if such a state were condoned?  Could someone have convinced the woman caught in adultery, the one whom Jesus saved from being stoned to death, the Word of God incarnate didn't believe in equal rights?

One of the names of the enemy of our souls is "accuser of the brethren."  Unbelievers, of course, wouldn't for a moment believe the accusations they shoot from their mouths, from the anonymity behind a computer screen, are downloaded into their minds from none other than the one more versed in the Word of God than most Christians.  They don't believe what they can't see yet who they cannot see is exploiting their pride in their perceived intellect to badger Christians.  Worse yet, many Christians aren't doing their homework, using their measure of faith to ask the Holy Spirit for further revelation of the truths of God, and they try to fight a battle unarmed using the same weapon as the enemies of truth:  worldly reason, logic, and intellect.

If you are a believer, don't enter the battle unarmed.  Study the Word of God.  Learn the ebb and flow of the obedience and disobedience of man to God.  Follow His loving pursuit of the hearts of His people beginning with the prophets and culminating at the cross of Christ, the ultimate gift of redemption to mankind.  Be confident that the  wisdom of man is foolishness to God.  (I Corinthians 3:19)  The greatest of scientists cannot see gravity nor explain fully the vastness of the universe.   Unbelievers will say we can't either, but the scripture deemed the world round before its occupants fully understood this.  Could it be that the universe and everything in it are held together by the very Word of God, the same Word that spoke it into being?  

The substance beneath our DNA has not been discovered.  It would be difficult indeed to see the spoken Word on a slide under a microscope, yet my faith tells me in time this will be the ultimate revelation to unbelievers.  They are just as free to disbelieve this as I am to believe it.  My measure of faith is aligned with the Word of God.  What little has been proven by Science doesn't contradict but proves His Word.  Humankind desperately yearns to know, to feed the insatiable god of intellect, but God's Word to believers is this:  "Knowledge begins with respect for the Lord, but fools hate wisdom and discipline.

If you truly believe, seek the Source of knowledge, wisdom, and discipline in the operator's manual He gave us all through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  Again, if you go to battle unarmed with this, you'll be soundly beaten and worse yet, in the unarmed vulnerability of ignorance of His Word, you may well be taken into captivity and held prisoner from the very One Who can save you.  Seek the Lord while He may be found.  Call on Him while He is near.  (Isaiah 55:6)  True believers won't be let down.  Weak ones will be strengthened.  Do not cast what is beautiful and precious before the swine of unbelief.  Know that the Lord desires to give good gifts to His children.  The ultimate gift He wants to give you is to know Him.  Go to the Source of all sound judgment, knowledge and understanding.  Why be convinced of anything or anyone less than He?   

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Be Watchful

(written January 2014)

"Be watchful. A clear sign of someone’s character is how they treat people they don’t need."--Bishop T.D Jakes

Be wary of fair weather friends as well, those who lack courage and loyalty, but turn and run with the crowd.  When someone has meddled and undermined relationships with others and lets those actions stand without coming clean about them, forgive, but never lose sight of the fact you are dealing with a manipulator.

People operating in this manner have a way of letting the dust settle, communicating charmingly with you as if nothing happened, thinking it their right and privilege to resume relationship, when in reality those are the characteristics of a grace abuser. 

I've experienced this, held my peace for years, even when it was disclosed the party I reference was gossiping about me, veiling it as prayer requests.  

A dear friend who knows well the pain of "friends" running out when the social tide turned against her likened this type action to a spider's web.  The manipulator plucks strands of connection with friends or family or both with gossip and partial truths until only one is left, the one between you and them, achieving isolation of you, granting power to them.  They'll even try to comfort or counsel you in the predicament they arranged!    

Run from this emissary of the devil!              

Adding insult to injury, a person operating in this manner of deceit and control will try to turn the tables on a Christian, even using the Bible against them, sometimes trying to make one feel guilty saying they are the party in error for being in offense, causing strife, or holding a grudge.  

Make no mistake, reconciliation where there has been no repentance is not Biblical. Forgiveness and praying to God to bless your enemy is always in order, but we are to be wise and shrewd as well.  Until and unless a person acknowledges their role in dividing others, they will do it again.

Anytime my dear Grannie realized someone had done wrong to her, she would calmly quote in King James vernacular, "Vengeance is Mine, thus sayeth the Lord."  She'd follow by pointing out, "The Bible doesn't say you might reap, but you will reap."  My struggle has been in the wait time, but that was the lesson for me--did I trust the Lord to do what He said or not?

David, of Old Testament times, had to consciously make the decision to trust the Lord to deal, in His timing, with his enemy Saul's murderous intentions.  A person may not attempt to murder your body as Saul did David, but character assassination and alienation of affection are outgrowths of hate which the scripture likens to murder.

This was David's prayer of submission, entrusting right judgment to God alone. 

1 Samuel 24:12
"May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you."
         

Holiday Preparations 2014

  (written prior to Thanksgiving, 2014)
              
How it happened, I'm not 100% certain, but before I answered a phone call from the mother of my future daughter-in-love, my husband and I had no plans for Thanksgiving.  By the time I hung up, he and I were committed to having Thanksgiving at her house, low key on the details, cooking a turkey breast I already had in the freezer.  

Jan didn't think a meal at Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving Day was suitable, not when we, she and her husband and I and mine, could get together.  Her house was already deep cleaned and ready for an upcoming baby shower. The four of us, prior to that call, were Thanksgiving orphans.

But please, no pity.  We're dealing with it--sometimes strongly and often inwardly.  Three of us in our 50s and one crossed the threshold already to 60, our "children" are, in fact, no longer children, but young professional men and woman who've finished college and launched careers in nursing, stock brokering, management, and accounting.  That in itself is an immense gift to be thankful for, all gainfully employed in a wobbly-legged economy.  Still, those careers took our children, their spouses, and a fianceĆ© to regions where their feet will not be under their parents' Thanksgiving tables.  

It's not new for me, actually.  Some years ago, my young men pulled a holiday disappearance the same year at Thanksgiving.  We had to know the beautiful young women they were dating would want us to share them.  Baptism by fire, it was though, and outside that evening by a fire is exactly how their father and I spent it.  How is it we think we can't manage without people we didn't even know when we first fell in love?  Back then, some 32 years ago, "we" were enough.

My husband and I are still re-learning "we."  The teacher in Jan made an executive decision we'd all learn together this year.  Her lesson plan was not disclosed to me, and maybe it was a spur of the moment field trip.  However it happened, here we go.  

Prior to the call where I learned more specifically what my Thanksgiving plans were, I was e-mailing back and forth with a niece by marriage who opted not to have children.  I shared with her:  "It occurred to me while I was showering that I never had a phase of sharing holidays with adults only.  I've shared holidays with my adult children, but you know what I mean.  We had (my first child) 10 days after our first wedding anniversary, so it was always about them.  As silly as it sounds, it's a new learning curve still for me."

The conversation sprung from planning Christmas without either of my adult children "home" to celebrate with us.  My heart is lagging a little behind what my mind knows.  Home to my adult children is Denver, Colorado while I'm in the southernmost part of Georgia.  I've been spoiled to have them at my home each Christmas for their entire lives. Now I have to concede their present state of being, adults with lives of their own, to the Christmas holidays.  

I'm not looking forward to them not being here.  I know they'll miss us, too, they've said as much, but they've fallen head over heels in love with Denver and snow and a city and...they have completely, responsibly embraced adulthood.         

My childless by choice niece described an adults only holiday to me.  "There's a peace and solitude that is soothing. No worries about how many presents or who got what...it's about sharing the holiday with that person and making the day special for them.  There's a freedom in spending the day with your loved one and watching them make memories- I can't explain it, but it's nice."

Thanks to the wisdom of someone who has already learned to navigate holidays without children and a teacher's spontaneous invitation, I take another step into this territory called life, a phase of life I wasn't completely prepared for, but what a blessing:  God in His kindness saw to it that my husband and I wouldn't have to go it alone.  

We would have been fine, but we got to go, bearing food gifts, to someone else's house where the Christmas tree is already up, hug necks, share a nice dinner, and resemble a little on Thanksgiving Day those sappy Hallmark Christmas movies we've been watching.  

I already had in mind part of what my niece said, making the holidays nice for my husband, not wanting to give in to the sadness that is and inevitably will be there as we are transitioning, read catching up to reality, to "us" again.  I'm not completely maudlin about it and genuinely have Christmas spirit--I already bought the dog a present and a few items for adult children's stockings I'll be shipping across the country.  

I'm shopping for a smaller Christmas tree.  I'm looking forward to decorating less for Christmas.  And for Thanksgiving, downsizing from an entire turkey to the breast, well, I didn't even have to cook that.  A friend of my husband's had smoked turkeys and gave us one late Wednesday evening.  Thanksgiving Lite was already easy enough and this gift was from the Lord was confirmation of it all, letting me know it's right and good to shed any and all guilt over not going all out for the holidays.    

There's something in this for the parents, after all.  My niece pointed it out to me.  A bit more "freedom."

Before I tapped out my thoughts and feelings, I'd already cooked the cranberry sauce.  I didn't have to thoroughly clean the house for guests.  I could go into a room which once belonged to a child but evolved into a woman cave of sorts and ruminate awhile before I leisurely moved on to the next dish. 

Herein is a reward for faithfulness in years past and I want to receive it gratefully, not overlook it for focusing on what has changed.  Change is ceaseless in life.  While I didn't ask for this specifically in a prayer, God gave me a desire of my heart:  I don't want to be stuck where I am wishing to be where I was.  Change is hard, but it is good.  It shakes things up, keeps us from growing stagnant if we flow with it.  God won't let me rest on the laurels of having finished raising my children.  I still have a lot to learn!   

Facebook inspiration

(written late 2014)




My first waking thought this morning was of the time when my children were under my roof; every day brought something new.  I didn't have to do anything but show up for my responsibilities and I would have a full and interesting day.    

The afterthought was a mini-epiphany, realizing the harder challenge for people like myself, formerly stay at home parents of now grown children, is to put fresh energy into our own lives.  It's easier to give in to the jet lag of mind and heart, sadness that this part of life is over.  People who've traveled this leg of the journey of life are sympathetic, acknowledging the hard part, assuring that the passage of time will make it all easier to bear.

It will, and it does.  That said, I know it's not a one-time-and-done grief.  

But that is not my point.  Anyone in my shoes could blather on and on about the sweet times of having one's children safely at home, but the truth of the matter is from the moment they were expelled from the womb, they began working toward independence--if all goes well, but that's another story, thank God, that I haven't had to tell.  So far, so good; neither have boomeranged.     

The point is there is not a soul on this earth who will do the work of energizing this phase of life but me.  

Some of the posters on Facebook are ghastly, sappy, poorly worded, but as simple as this one is, it spoke to me where I am now.  I am ordinarily a thankful person; that is not much of a challenge.  I'm still learning anew, though, to intentionally make the best use of a day without the luxury of having it pre-planned by circumstances.  I must plan and set out to use each gifted day in the best way I can.   


Mother-in-Law! And other in-laws, too

(written December 2014)

A blog post which inspired a blog post: 

http://thepioneerwoman.com/blog/2014/12/ship-of-hope/

Let me start by saying my post is not directed at any individual, but thoughts inspired after reading this lighthearted post by Ree Drummond, AKA The Pioneer Woman. 

I'm sharing this because I appreciate her holding her mother-in-law in a positive light.  I had a good one who lived to be 91 years old and I'm trying very hard not to be the type mother-in-law who causes constant grief to her children and their spouses.  No one is perfect and I'm sure I'll err, have erred-- I'm very new at this--but most mothers-in-law aren't completely evil as they are often stereotyped.

I have welcomed my daughter-in-love and future daughter-in-love to tell me if and when I step over the line.  Long before my sons were even old enough to consider marriage, I puzzled over the vitriol automatically assigned mothers-in-law.  That person, in most cases, is the one who had the most influence in shaping the man/woman a person fell in love with and wants to spend the rest of their lives with, and for that she deserves respect.  

I would say to young married men and women to look ahead and plant good seed for the future.  One day, odds are, you will be a parent-in-law and most people realize the truth of reaping and sowing, some call it karma.  Treat your in-laws the way you will want to be treated.  

To mothers-in-law, including myself, honor your children's "grownness" and their boundaries.  Respect is deserved, but it is also earned.  Trust how you raised them and unless they are breaking the law or need a substance abuse intervention, butt out of their personal business.  We figured out how to conduct ourselves in our own relationships; give them the same breathing room.  It is not our role or place to be involved with every detail and decision in their lives.

If you/I slip, accept their "no."  Biblically, our grown children are to respect us, but they are no longer obligated to obey us.  If we are trying to make our grown children obey us or worse yet, trying to meddle in or run their lives, then face it, we're being manipulative and the Bible regards manipulation in the same realm as witchcraft.  Don't act like a witch!  It won't get you stoned to death as in Old Testament times, but it carries a potentially strong and unbearable penalty, emotional distance from your grown children and their families.    

Their primary relationship is with their spouse and must be respected as such.  Remember, especially with the holidays upon us, we must now share them with their other families, and it's still humanly impossible to be in two places at the same time.          


  

28 Years and counting

(written September 2014)


By the ripe old age of 19, I'd given up dating.  Six months had gone by in my plans to figure out a career in which I could support my solitary life.   A mutual friend practically shoved me and this sweet man together.  He knew we belonged with one another.  Poor fella, our bow-legged friend, Grannie said he couldn't hedge a hog in a ditch, has had four divorces.  I wish he would have had the success in his own matchmaking he had in ours.  Grannie told me how she'd prayed for a good husband for me.  I don't remember apprising Grannie of my plans to remain alone.  She and God as co-conspirators trumped what I had in mind, and a what a funny delivery person He arranged for the news.


   

















Here we are at a family reunion, 1983.  I thought my mother would blow a gasket when she found out Mr. A was nearly ten years old than I.  No, she told me she'd once dated a man seven years her senior.  I think know she liked him. Grannie's brother, my great-uncle, Dan DeLoach, teased me that day, or maybe he was ribbing Mr. A, about being one in a series.


  
The series ended.  

Three months after our wedding we started a baby.  Three years later, another.  He was there the moment they exited my womb, he helped each move away from our home when the appointed day came, and he was there for them every day between.  In those days we buried Grannie, all our parents, my best friend, breast cancer be damned, and one of my brothers.  There were a couple of minor surgeries for me, one medical crisis with our older son, and both boys kept us busy with stitches, glue, casts, eyeglasses, a playground scuffle, a call from the principal about a dress code revolt.  I can think of more but recall Mom's wise words, it doesn't pay to tell everything you know.


  
And we made it this far.  This is my favorite picture of me and Mr. A.  I'm one who prefers to aim and shoot at others and more often than not I'll successfully evade being in the crosshairs of anyone looking down a scope at me.  This day, though, I asked our older son to shoot us.  Mr. A might not appreciate me telling this, but the reason we are laughing is he had just playfully pinched my bottom.  He's fairly reserved in public, on the shy side when we were first dating.  He seemed to overcome this in the ensuing years. 


    
 Goodness, it seemed like aging greatly accelerated the next decade.  Here we are at our older son's wedding, and next year, God willing, we'll have a similar picture at our baby boy's wedding.

There is an intensity in young love and an intense beauty in more seasoned love.  Two become one both instantly and over time. When tears are shed after lovemaking because both know this sweetness will one day come to an end...  

If I were to have a tombstone, "I was loved" would be sufficient.  I don't want one, though, for our ashes which will be mingled.  I want them released in the Matanzas River in St. Augustine.  My older son mentioned having somewhere to go in memorial.  I don't want my descendants standing in one place thinking we are "there."  I rather like the idea of resurrecting together from the ocean, miraculously being called back together, holding the hand of my best friend en route to eternity.  

Mr. A has played this song for me several times recently.  Its message covers the meantime.  

Hold On Love  


It's What's In Your Heart

(written in 2014)

"It's what's in your heart."  

My favorite Aunt Gladys quote.  

Great-aunt, to be technical, and a sincere Christian.  

Too few of those.  

While many chose to defame my late brother who lost a war with alcoholism nearly six years ago, she chose to speak to him as Jesus would.  

Another woman, who was morbidly obese, commented, "I wouldn't live with Robert either."  

She was referencing his former wife, glomming on with other vapid gossips who felt superior to him because their sin wasn't as bad as his sin.

She professed to be a Christian, but I prefer Aunt Gladys' way of living out her beliefs.  

My brother had given a car to the large woman's husband, and he had put food in their freezer when funds were short for them.  

Aunt Gladys overlooked the failure of my brother's fleshly nature to ensure he was prepared to meet the Lord.  

The other Christian woman overlooked her failure of the flesh to judge his.  No mention of the contents of his heart.

His flesh failed; his physical heart failed, but his spiritual heart did not.     

He did a very kind thing for someone who would later revile him.

Like Jesus.

Matthew 7:16 says, "You will know them by their fruit."

Aunt Gladys said, "It's what's in your heart."

My brother was reassured and comforted by her words.  He knew what was in his heart.   

There are those who refuse to see what is in theirs and don't think their fruit is rotten.

On this first birthday of Aunt Gladys' in heaven, I think of her, I love her for loving the unlovely like Jesus would.  

She lived clearly and consistently and without hypocrisy according to what was in her heart--a love like Jesus'.

And my brother--he was originally scheduled to have heart surgery on July 31st, our late mother's birthday.  He requested a change in date in case he died because he did not want his siblings to have that painful association should the worst happen.

Alcoholic cardiomyopathy was the ultimate end of his physical heart, but the kindness and consideration of his spiritual heart did not fail.  

When people regard themselves more highly than the least of God's people, they fail.  Miserably.  And saddest of all, most of them are too filled with pride to see their failing, let alone acknowledge it.  

Gluttony is superior to alcoholism? 

Gossip is superior to alcoholism? 

Such is the nature of deception.  

Haughty arrogance caused the enemy of our souls to be excommunicated from heaven.  What else, but deception, could cause one to think that will not be their fate when they will not consider what is really in their heart.         

     
(written prior to first Christmas spent without my grown children)

I told him
I didn't 
want
him to think
he wasn't
enough,

wanted
them, too.
People
who
didn't 
exist
when we
fell in love
now 
pieces of our heart
walking about
outside of us.
My friends hurt,
too
Husbands, gone.
Children, gone, 
and not
just
across
the country
Siblings, gone.
People
left out,
excluded,
no money
for
presents
Unbelievers
taunted, 
accused 
of trying
to take
Christmas
from us
in places
where
excess
which has
nothing
to do
with You
takes place.  
I've
been given 
so much
and
my shame
humanity's shame
is
we want 
that
which 
we cannot
have.
I pray
for courage
to make this
the best
holiday
I can
for 
the best friend
I've ever had
in this life.
I look
out my 
bedroom window
and see
the tea olives
blooming
Shrubbery
my mother
told me
to plant
by the window,
by the door,
for the
sweet scent
and of course
we do
what 
our mothers 
tell us.
I am
reminded
of her
strength
her losses
widowed young
carrying on
still blooming
and 
telling me
to do
the same
with the 
sweet scent
of hope.
I hope
for the
revelation
of
the time
when time
no longer 
is counted
and
goodbyes
and
I miss yous
are
no longer.