During Which a Summer on the Road Yields Helpful Lessons

travel_postcards_2

Dear– ,

I am sure you have been aware that during recent months I have been traveling and experiencing joys and hardships of those in my close family, hence my minimal postings.

My journeys have come to their conclusion and my life has been enriched and changed as a result. Rare are the occasions in a singular lifetime when a person can spend periods of time with family sufficiently prolonged to be able to  become part of the organism, if only temporarily. I am thankful for the chances I have had in this regard.

Reflecting upon lessons learned, both by being homeless and also by passing days and evenings in other homes with differing families, I have come away with helpful reflections:

First, since we live in a time when families — both immediate and extended —  have become fragmented and isolated from one another, the unpromising  effect of this will be conquered only by intention and resolve. One must will oneself to remain involved in the lives of family members.

Second, it is not a moral mandate to will it, nor is it immoral not to. It is simply a loss to all who don’t rise to the effort of entering another’s world: it is a loss to family members on all sides of the equation.

Third, living with this loss again does not suggest moral deficiency on any party. It is simply a void which might otherwise be filled with good will and a new sense of the people nearest to you. This expands the soul. And we are people who have souls.

Dear friend, remember the people in your life! If they be near or far from you, insofar as you are able, draw near to them and show yourself to be interested in their lives. It will expand you own.

Apologies again for the belated update. It is my sincere hope that, as I resettle, we can communicate with more regularity.

As always, best regards, etc.

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Filed under Being homeless, Family, Letters, Overthrowing Inertia

In Which Habits to Excel at Good Reading Are Encouraged

butterfly book

Dear– ,

In response to your query I offer you my advice for developing the life-giving and utterly grounding habit of becoming a robust reader. I wish you all good fortune as you undertake what is destined to become — if you succeed — an excellent adventure!

~ Pace yourself, withal. Each book has its own process of discovery and interior animation.

~ Indeed, be vigilant to overthrow distractions. There will always be something else you can do. But, upon my word, remember: reading is doing something. It is feeding the mind and expanding soul at the same time.

~ Many types of books can arouse inspiration. Render yourself permission  to find whichever genre animates you and delve into it. Also remember: simply because a friend says some book was “the best book I’ve read” and has lent it to you does not mean it will be the best you have ever read. Reading a book is an intimate relationship and you are not obliged to like what other people like.  In any case, please remember to return the loaned book!

~ Alternate reading between new offerings and proven classics. Time is the true test of all good writing. Those books that have passed the test of time are always worth a good sit and a solid read.

~  Get a good chair, or a comfy couch with a solid end table (where you will stack your books) and make that your reading spot and your happy place.

Forthwith: Slow down.  Pick up a good book.

~ Best Regards, as always, etc.

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Filed under Letters, Reading Habits

In Which Every-day Moments in Every-day Places Bring Exceeding Joy

Christos

Dear– ,

I wanted to make you aware that my current travels are quite satisfactory and I find it a glorious diversion to walk with dear loved ones in the simple moments of their every-day lives.  In a single day we can visit the local diner for biscuits and to build towers; we drew Rosafina ‘Agiter le lait’ Milkshake

She's French

She’s French

(she’s French), who is destined to become a critical figure in the upcoming Milkshake book series;  and we watched a riveting exposition about “Extreme Airports,” in which,  it is worth noting,  Number 2 (out of 10) was the airport in the city where I lived for many years and at which I have landed with near-death clarity on multiple occasions–Tegucigalpa’s Toncontin. This was second only to Lukla Airport in the Himalayas in Nepal. But I hasten to add that this small landing strip hardly merits a ranking since the only passengers who land here are those who are destined to scale (or try to) Mount Everest. Are these “commercial passengers”? What pleasure I have had to been given the ear of an attentive audience as I protest this claim! And they agree!

I conclude therefore that, during seasons of one’s life wherein certainties remain in flux, such as is the case in mine:

~ Fix upon and find joys in the specifics of every-day moments;  these save us

~ Keep a playful skip in your step (build that creamer tower! Draw Rosafina! Give her heels!)Milktowers

~ Trust in God, who traces your journeys and your resting places.

As always, etc. ~

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Filed under Family, Letters

During which a world of princesses and storybooks becomes your own

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Dreaming of princess crowns and the Milkshake Express

Dear– ,

In my previous letter I indicated to you the delicacy of my situation, that is, the distress of having no home. Oh my, how it is too true! In the weeks since, I have been welcomed graciously to the hearths of family members whose intimate details of every-day living have heretofore been lost to me.

It is a grand adventure. It places me in the midst of a new family orb with unfamiliar noises and unspoken signals that, for a time, confuse me. Yet, once you find yourself woven into the daily routines, the power of family reintroduces you to a wider sense of belonging.

Whereas, prior to my visit with this niece and nephew, I knew nothing of the Milkshake People (a book my nephew and I are working on) and princess crowns, I now find myself donning crowns and working through character development of Milkshake’s companions, Drop, Mint, and Coffee.

So, my dear– , patience and hopefulness are in order during uncertain passages that bring change to the circumstances of mortal life. Whereas, I currently feel like a needle that has been dropped delicately atop a thin pool of water, waiting for True North to point me toward home, the in-between time is an exercise in locating my inner “true north,” and living extravagantly in the bosom of another family’s intimate movements. How precious it is to be invited!

I will write you more, verily.

With affectionate regards, etc.

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Oh my! A belated Mother’s Day Wish Is Imperative!

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The happiest memories of my life as a mother occurred when my children gathered to me in my bed and told me about their day.

Dear– ,

I missed the chance to wish you a peace-filled Mother’s Day, which was rightly celebrated yesterday. (It is one international holiday that earns its significance through time and tears.) I hope, despite the inherent complications that come with motherhood (good and bad), that somehow you felt as if your turn as a mother, in this short hard life, was worth the tears you have spilt and the prayers you have prayed.

Being a mother is treacherous territory. At the same time, what other bond so defines one’s soul? (I say again, “for better or for worse”).  Every mother tries, in her own way. And — I have come to understand — she often fails, or in any case it is in vogue for some grown offspring to bequeath to their mothers the sense that she failed. It is a complicated matter. Some mothers truly do fail and ruin the souls of their children. Some mothers love them dearly and try unstintingly, and yet still ruin the souls of their children (at least this is the case as proclaimed by the accounts of their grown children, yes?).

In the end, you, as mother, must reckon with your place and establish it in your heart.  Where did you do right by your children?  Where might have you done wrong? I can say this: if you loved them truly, as I have truly loved my dear sons, then nothing will –nor can —  erase the imprint of that love and even if they cast aspersions upon you. That love is more true than all aspersions. Be at peace in the love you have rendered. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. If ever a sentiment were more true, it is in the matter of the true love of a mother who truly loves her children. They are blessed to have had you. One day — on the singular day that matters — they will know it.

Be at peace, dear heart,

~ Yours, as always, etc

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Filed under Letters, On Being a Mother

At a Time When a Place Called Home Eludes Me

book-books-old-photography-vintage-Favim.com-178472

Dear– ,

I know that you forgive me for the long delay between my letters. During periods of great transition, such as has befallen me, it is difficult to formulate meaningful thoughts, let alone communicate them.

My challenge has been finding ballast when the familiar tethers of my life have been removed. I have no home. It is in such times when the muscle of inner person be exercised. One must find one’s inner pacing; one’s purpose and schedule. One must meet one’s obligations despite the absence of ballast.

Do you believe in prayer? I do. When I am at sea, I pray. I find the sea is calmed and the way ahead shines more true, day by day.

Still, we need a place called home, don’t we? It requires so little exertion and less mental calculation to be at rest there. We must remember that. We must always think of our home, verily, with thanks.

Will write more soon. Until then, I am

~ faithfully yours, etc

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Filed under A Place Called Home, Letters

In Which the Decisions When Packing for a Move Prove Wrenching

I shall never part with this photo of my first son lying atop my grandmother's cedar chest?

I shall never part with this photo of my first son lying atop my grandmother’s cedar chest.

Dear– ,

This letter needs be especially brief, as I am in the most intimate and intensive phase of moving. When I say this to people they universally respond: Oh my — moving is the absolute worst!  I do not disagree.

In my case, I am moving myself — that is, I am packing  my own boxes and taking them in phases to the place where they will be stored until I find a permanent arrangement. This kind of intimacy can be a minefield of emotion.  Everything that has comprised the pieces of your life confronts you, things from your childhood and things from your children’s childhood; and you must make a decision about them: Do I keep lugging this around, or do I toss it? What about that card your sons made you for Mother’s Day 25 years ago? And their wrestling ribbons? Does anyone care about the letters written to you by your grandmother?

Thank you for the letters you left me, my dear grandmother

Thank you for the letters you left me, my dear grandmother

All my predecessors are gone: my grandparents and my parents; even my aunts and uncles. My three son are grown. They probably aren’t even aware that the corners of my minuscule existence become increasingly filled with such accoutrements. You see, I will never throw them out. That is a decision they will have to make when they clean out the residual elements of my life once I am gone.

My beloved youngest son in the early days of his wrestling career.

My beloved youngest son (standing) in the early days of his wrestling career.

This move has proven to be a tipping point: My boxes and treasure-stores of family notes, memoirs, drawings, cards, photos and wrestling medals have overtaken the amount of furniture I possess. I am not a hoarder. I simply cannot bear to part with the little pieces of life I have built and that have been built around me. These are the things which, for me, are my home.

More soon.

~ Best regards, etc

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Filed under Family, Intimacy of moving, Letters, Old photos