Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just When You Least Expect it

African lion (Panthera leo) mother and cub, Kenya, Africa



Just when you least expect it.....

the special moments happen.

I tucked my mother in. I kissed and hugged her, turned off the lights, and said a prayer.

She smiled and drifted off to her dream world...while I thought about how random the loving and important moments are, how unexpected, how little we can predict when our hearts will be struck by the lightning bolt of raw love.

There is no more raw love than that of mother and child. I have been blessed to experience both.

No relationship is more primal.

My mother can drive me nuts. I drive her nuts on a regular basis,too. Just ask her. She will tell you lots of detailed, long stories about how I drive her nuts. I've probably bored my loved ones with a few myself.

But let me tell you this: I love my mother. I am grateful for my mother.

She reminded me tonight that I wouldn't exist if she hadn't had a miscarriage....that sometimes the disappointments in life turn out to be conduits to the blessings.

To know you are completely, unconditionally loved by your mother is one of life's greatest gifts. To know you are perfect in someone else's eyes (even if you know it's not true)is a rare chord that is recorded in your head and resonates in your heart when you need it most, when no one else is playing that music in your life.

And to love others that way---spouse, children, the occasional pet---is a gift of equal value. It makes sense of why we are here. Or it makes nonsense of the world outside of unconditional love.

I used to think there was no such thing as unconditional love. I mean, come on, doesn't love need to be deserved? Isn't it the sum of the equation? The reward for actions? What's left over after the subtraction of mistakes and disappointment?

Nope.

Love is in the core of our hearts, bypassing our heads altogether perhaps, imprinted on our DNA like the color of our eyes, our hair, our skin.

I am loved--perhaps irrationally and undeserved---by my elderly mother. And I love--rationally, irrationally, and completely deserved---my children, husband...and my mother. Others, too. But that's for another blog.

For now, let me say I am grateful for the unexpected, blessed moments of the last two days. Watching my 87-yr-old mother do her "Happy Dance" at rest stops on our 9-hr. drive to a new home....sunbathing in 40 degree weather...dancing to the country western music video channel because it's good exercise...

I am unconditionally in love. And somehow I am unconditionally loved back.

OK, God. I'm getting it. A little bit anyway.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm Still Here. Kind of.




It's been a long time.

I could bore you to death with the details. (I will spare you.) So here's the short version.

My best friend and husband of 29+ years (same person, just in case you are wondering) and I have done something...unpredictable, outside-the-box, wild, totally-not-like-us-at-all.

We relocated. Moved. Changed the address. Packed up and left. Forwarded the mail.

Well, he does jump on a plane to work 24/5 in the big city. And then he comes home to the country, to the mountains, to the rivers, to the slow life...to me. (He might work 24/2 when he's here,too, but that's okay. We're here, together, in a place that has mysteriously moved us from the day we first-by accident-arrived. A place that teased us, whispered in our ears, pulled our heartstrings with the promise that something was waiting for us here. Here in the shadow of snow-capped mountains, by the river, near a forest of trees....where the sun shines, it snows, the sky changes by the minute, reminding me of how quickly life changes, how every view is a snapshot of a moment that will never be repeated.)

I am still a bit stunned myself.

We have surprised our friends. Our family. Ourselves.

We've always told our children to scratch their itches. They are there for a reason, not to be ignored. Now WE are scratching a longtime itch. Our now grown children have given us an incredible gift--they have encouraged us, the way we have encouraged them. Their support has been a kiss upon our dream, a blessing upon our faith that life happens the way it should when you trust that inner voice, when you truly listen for the answer to your prayer.

Sometimes you just have to pay attention to the small voice inside, the one that whispers at you when you finally quit listening to the chaos of routine and repetition.

So far I have befriended a bird who jackhammers our metal roof, I have mourned his unexpected death, I have welcomed his replacement. I have seen deer duck into my yard, wondering why I'm here. I have seen a chipmunk run toward the music of my piano and sit,listening. I have awakened to snow on the ground and wondered how things could change so much while I slept. I have watched the sun hide behind a mountain range that makes me gasp at its quiet magnificence. I have listened to...real silence...and realized how thick and rich it feels in my ears.

I said I wasn't going to bore you with details. So I'll stop now.

But let me say one more thing: I am glad I'm here. I am glad we took an unexpected leap. I am glad we don't know what happens next. I'm glad we're making it up as we go along. I'm glad. Maybe this is what faith is about. I'm not sure,but I'll let you know. I'll keep you posted. :-)