Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Feeling Satisfied

*****2013 has been a remarkable year. It started off with uncertainty and became more difficult as the year progressed. A pivotal moment came when my Dad decided to forego his cancer treatment and opted to go under the care of hospice. Knowing there would be difficult days ahead, I girded myself to deal with what was to come. Fortunately, not everything was gloom and doom. I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in some great hikes on the Appalachian Trail. Those trips allowed me to forget reality for a little while and be completely enamored and recharged by the beauty of nature. It felt good to forget even for a short time. The summer was tough and I was homebound along with my Dad. It was during that time I realized hospice nurses are angels in disguise. They were often times my only visitor. The only constant I could depend on. As the days progressed, I felt the prayers of family and friends give me strength. In those final moments of my Dad’s life, I held his hand as he passed from this life to the next and I could rejoice not in what I had lost, but in the gift I was given. He was not perfect by any definition, but so much more than others had been given. When I spoke of him as a father during the services, it was easy to start from my earliest memory of him and trace his presence in my life all along the way. I am a better person for having been his daughter. He was the source of my quiet dedication, my resilience and my grace.

    I sit here the day after Christmas as shoppers make their mad dash for holiday deals and I am comforted by feelings of satisfaction. For so long, I was always trying to “get, get, get.” Whether it be some new experience on some material thing, I never felt satisfied. There was always wanting, always some desire to propel me forward, but not anymore. I looked in the face of death and came out on the other side. All the things that use to bother me don’t anymore. The pressure cooker of life burned away the impurities of my character. I saw my faults and my weakness for the first time and I was honest with myself. This year has taught me what is important and given me moments of true clarity and moments of breakthrough that I could build upon and take into the New Year. I reject judgment. I reject pettiness. I accept my faults. I accept the faults of others. I am peace. I am light. I am alive.

Downton Abbey Withdrawal

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

 

             The third season of Downton Abbey on PBS has ended and much to my dismay with two beloved characters:  Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley meeting untimely deaths.  Both departures left me saddened by their tragic ends, but also left me wondering why Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens would leave a popular show where the audience grows every year.  I am guessing they wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the series by exploring other roles while their stars still shined brightly.  Jessica Brown Findlay is starring in new movie with Russell Crowe called Winter’s Tale and Dan Stevens recently starred in a play on Broadway called The Heiress.  I wish them all the best and I am eager to see them in new roles.  However, the series continues on with compelling story lines of the upstairs and downstairs characters.  I love watching the machinations of conniving lady’s maid O’Brien and tortured valet Thomas Barrow.  Lady Edith’s evolution leaves us wondering where her new role as magazine columnist and modern women will take her.  The third season pulled out all the stops from Lady Edith being jilted at the altar by Sir Anthony Strallan, the death of two characters, fortunes won and lost and the ultimate move from downstairs to upstairs by former chauffeur Tom Branson. 

Change in many forms have touched Downton as it moves into the post-war era world of the 1920’s, but now that the series has ended its third season we have to wait a whole calendar to get the next installment.  I, on the other hand scavenge the internet for episode spoilers when broadcasting begins in the UK  My appetite is insatiable when it comes to Downton Abbey and I can’t wait until next January for the new season to begin. I don’t feel in any way cheated when episodes finally air in the US. For me, it fills in the gaps and spoilers never give all the juicy details. 

Downton Abbey is a wonderfully written series and was like a breath of fresh air when I discovered it halfway through the first season. I have been hooked ever since.  I am not alone as the series is popular in countries spanning the globe.  Against the backdrop of so much reality TV, it’s nice to see compelling characters with dignity and grace as they bring us the world of a bygone era.  I wonder if that’s part of the appeal.  Maybe our shock value nerve has been overexposed to what’s offered on both network and cable TV.  Maybe the viewing audience was ready for a well written drama sans nudity, profanity and all the others elements that would give the show an explicit rating.  It’s also exposed me to the valuable asset of public broadcasting and I have become a financial supporter of my local broadcaster.  I am thankful for Julian Fellowes for creating Downton Abbey and grateful for PBS for bringing this show to viewers like you and me.