Posts Tagged ‘United States’

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.

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When Waiting Seems Like Forever

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             I hate waiting!!  I have always been impatient.  It’s one of my many flaws that for years I projected on others.  “These people need to get their act together.”  “How long does it take to do such and such?” “I have another appointment.” You know the routine.  My foot tapping, loud voice and rolling my eyes never advanced my cause.  Honestly, it probably hurt it.  Over the years, I have grossly abused the concept of multi-tasking in order to get things done quicker.  Take for instance cooking.  Ever filled a pot while popping chicken in the microwave to defrost and cutting vegetables and talking on the phone while watching television at the same time.  Guilty as charged and the result is an off-tasting meal because in my haste to get things done I’ve skipped a few steps like adding certain ingredients or not cooking according to the recipe. I watch in utter amazement people who are patient and wonder what’s their secret.  The frantic pace in which I move to get things done often leaves me exhausted and quality is sacrificed.  I sometimes justified my actions by telling myself, “At least I finished first,” but deep down inside I was disappointed in myself because I knew I could have done a better job.  Now that I am officially over the hill and have taken stock in my life I decided to make a conscious effort to be more patient.  Not just with cooking and other mundane tasks, but patient with people and certainly with myself. 

            What I’ve come to realize is that my impatience is an imaginary race with myself and my fears.  I’ve rushed through moments in life when I should have paused and appreciated the moment for what it was.  Those lost moments add up to a significant amount of time where I’ve deprived myself of the full experience of life. When I am patient I am amazed at what unfolds before my eyes in the form of resolutions to problems or a better understanding of what is happening.  By being patient I am able to respond appropriately and in a manner that relieves stress and anxiety from the equation. I am most amazed at what people will do on your behalf if you are just patient enough to give them a chance.  Patience is truly a virtue and something we should all strive for in our personal and professional lives.  As I approach the second half of my life, I feel better prepared to handle the ups and downs because I know the importance of patience and what it brings to my life.  Make a commitment today to be more patient.  You won’t be disappointed.  I promise.

The Pay-Off

Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain

     It was my birthday and the day had been great.  The last activity planned was a hike up Stone Mountain.  I’d never hiked this large granite rock so when my hiking group decided this was the location for our meeting I jumped at the chance.  The temperature was in the mid-seventies and sunshine filled the sky.  Conditions could not have been more perfect and after the meet and greet, we headed up the 1,700 feet to its top.  Elevation hikes are my least favorite hikes and I knew this would be a challenge. Our pilgrimage was slow and steady, but we all reached our first rest stop. The sweat beads had already formed on my forehead and I was out of breath, but the organizer’s enthusiasm encouraged us onward.  The question everyone asked, “How much farther do we have to go?”  And the answer I’d come to dread while hiking, “Not that much farther.”  With our rest period over with, we made the final push to get to the top.  Each step was labored and my fear of falling backwards grew.  I prayed the treads on my hiking boots would keep my feet from slipping.  I could see the top, but it was still a ways off.  I stopped momentarily to catch my breath.  I had come too far to give up now and if I pushed myself, I would reach the top.  One by one we reached the summit.  I turned around and took in the view.  I could see for miles in each direction and the view was stunning.  The greenery of the trees tops, the deep blue horizon and the skyline made the climb worth it.  As the sun began to set, bands of yellow, orange and black signaled dusk was here.  To the east a full moon had begun its climb and for several moments, you could see the sun setting in the west and the moon rising to the east.  I’d forgotten about the sweat beads and my fear of falling. The view had made the struggle irrelevant. Our hike leader made a comment that summed up the whole experience.  He said, “If you could endure the journey of the hike, the pay-off is well worth it.”  Indeed it was.

Sunset at Stone Mountain

Sunset at Stone Mountain