Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Nearly Dead

Funny, I don't feel nearly dead. It's Gena who was shaking.

We had just headed back out on our bikes after a stop for a bite at Alexa's in Bothell. We were coming off the sidewalk at a four-way stop; I was ahead, heading off to our right. Then I heard Gena yell. I quickly pulled over to the curb to see what was wrong. Gena was down, behind me, at the edge of the sidewalk.

I said, "Are you okay?!" I had no idea what happened, but the bus driver who was turning said, "You better get that guy's license number." 'That guy' was in a big white pickup truck, pulling over and stopping.

What happened was, I was starting down the street, and the pickup driver was going fast, turning left into it, while he looked in a completely other direction, trying to find an address. Gena was sure he would hit me, and he wouldn't even have seen it. Nor would I. I would have just been dead.

It's nice that the guy stopped. He looked pretty shook up, as well he should have been. Gena was too shaky to ride for a bit. She'd fallen off her bike she was so scared. She hugged me a couple of times, just because I was still alive.

We'd been talking in the cafe about feeling blue, and I'd said, "Sometimes life seems so long." As we rode home, we talked about what the meaning might be of that near-death experience of mine. Gena said, "Maybe it's a reminder that life is short."

Sounds right to me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Update: My Rule

You may recall that, at my church, we're discussing the idea of a rule of life. I'm coming at it pretty desultorily, I must admit.

One of the things I wrote down from the daily mini-videos made by the monks was this: "You don't have to have a rule. What kind of rule would be helpful to you?"

We have a workbook too, to write in. I had written nothing until our class last Wednesday night, and I realized it's because Question One was daunting me. It says, How would I describe the relationship with God that I desire and seek?

I guess I knew what I didn't want. I grew up in a home and a religious framework that conveyed to me that one is supposed to have "daily devotions," which means reading the Bible and praying. And I have tried. But honestly, reading the Bible is usually either boring or upsetting.

Is there another way to have a relationship with God? What I wrote in my workbook, finally, is this: "An authentic relationship is what I want. I like the idea of a rule being a pattern God knows would serve me. But where is the clarity? Who is God, and where? Am I just wishful-thinking God up? Even so, better that than no God, I think."

This morning I got the idea to write down what might already look like a rule of life, to an outside observer. Title: What Makes Me Happy/Content.


Leisurely breakfast
Making my bed first thing
Morning stretching, not daily, but almost
In bed by 11, up by 7 or 8
Regular mealtimes
Daily exercise
Sunday phone call to my mom.

I thought, Lots of people don't have this much regularity to their lives. Quite possibly, they don't want it. But I do. And it serves me.

More, though? So I did a thing that, I don't know, should I admit this? It sounds a little crazy, but it definitely serves me. It's not channeling, but it's sort of evoking the God within, shall we say. I write a dialogue with me and God. True, I write both sides. But oddly, I learn things I didn't know I know.

So today, I wrote, God, what rule(s) do I need?

God: What comes to you?

Me: Some sort of daily spiritual time. Meditation doesn't feel quite God-y enough, but scripture reading is like taking stinky medicine, I am sorry to tell you.

God: (Not chuckling.) I wonder if you are reading deeply enough then. (Silence.)

Me: Hmm. Read a new way then? Like maybe with this Jungian idea I'm getting from James Hollis' book, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow up. Hollis suggests we read the world psychologically. Maybe read Scripture psychologically, then, using Hollis' questions like, "What is this touching in me? Where does this come from in my history? Where have I felt this kind of energy before?"

Maybe if I try reading this way at night, just before I sleep? And maybe then I'll get a helpful dream!

Like I say, pretty desultory progress. But that's okay. Desultory is my favorite word.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fifteen Minutes More

I really didn't want to do any housework today, but I set the timer. I cleaned the bathroom sink and toilet. I put the clean hand-washed dish-y stuff away in the kitchen. The white pitcher I keep my big spoons and whisks in looked grungy, so I emptied and washed it. Put a clean glass in the bathroom for my toothbrush. Took a box out to the recycling, and carried some leftover camping stuff down to my storage unit. Still a minute to go, and I noticed a blob of something stuck on my silverware drawer front, so I scrubbed it off.

Bing, bing!

So was that elevating? Not especially, but I wasn't promised elevation. Order, though, maybe.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Birthday Over, Thank Heaven

It isn't the getting older; I'm used to that. It's getting older alone. I'm still not used to that. I feel kinda bad about it too, like if I were the kind of woman we're supposed to be these days, I'd be perfectly happy all by myself. And I know a lot of people figure I'm so good at taking care of myself, and I am, but yesterday was, in truth, a day I am happy to put behind me. I could be counting my blessings here, and I have plenty, but instead, I'm whining. So if you've got enough troubles of your own, better stop reading.

I had a mini-party Sunday night, two book-loving friends for cake and champagne at my house, and it was lovely.

But the real birthday was Tuesday, and I hadn't/didn't/couldn't find playmates for that day. When my phone rang at 8:30 am, I knew it would be a birthday call, and it was, but you know what? It was my financial advisor's birthday call -- he'd already sent a card -- and it made me feel worse. I let it go to voicemail.

I opened my real cards, from Mom and my stepdaughter, thoughtful cards from people who love me. And two of my sisters phoned. What seemed to work was not talking about me, but hearing about them and their families. And I checked Facebook a lot, where my friends said happy birthday.

And then my book saved me. I read Cheryl Strayed's novel, Torch. I read it all day, except for when I went out for a walk and then to Classic Consignments where I found a new crazy-looking lamp for my bedroom for less than $20.

If you read her memoir, Wild, about walking the Pacific Crest Trail -- and I highly recommend you do so -- you'll be familiar with the outlines of the novel, based on her real life. Beloved mom of two children, one in high school, one in college, dies fast from cancer: how everybody copes. It's not always pretty, what they do, but it always feels true, and the writing never goes mushy on you. Really, why didn't I know about this book already?

I was going to go hear Gretchen Rubin at Third Place Books, but it would have meant an hour's driving for an hourlong event, and I just didn't.

I had leftover champagne with my dinner -- roasted delicata squash, sauteed red snapper with salsa, tortillas. I was going to have leftover cake, but I wasn't too hungry. So I still have it. Yay.

Back to real life.

All material copyright © 2009 by Mary Davies