I am shocked at my lack of patience at times. Things don’t happen fast enough for me, things take too long, and sometimes I wonder if I could command the seeds I plant to become tall and ready within a week, I would! Hurry, I tell the car (rather than the individual) who is ahead of me in traffic. Hurry, because I have somewhere to go, and you don’t. My Type-A personality burns as I creep across town behind cars and people that aren’t fast enough for me, and instead of my heart growing warmer, it burns and withers. My heart, I’m afraid, becomes shrunken and dry, and I have left myself far behind, somewhere else, and I want her back. I want to come back…to me. It’s an addiction, if I could only have her back.
Responsibilities cave in on my world, and I see the very impatient me, the selfish me, and I want things done my way, because my way is the Right Way. The way I handle problems, the way I handle the bumps and juts in the road are serviceable by me, and hand-picked because I’m right. Get out of my way, let me make my own path, and leave me alone, World!
Hurry, so I can buy groceries and get out of the store, because I don’t like waiting behind people in lines. The vegetables aren’t good enough, I should plant my own, but I don’t have time! I did, once upon a time…but not anymore. I’m too busy, can’ you see? I don’t like traversing the aisles, looking, looking, always in search of…something. Get me out of here, that’s often my motto…so I can go, go, go somewhere else, be on my next mission.
Me, me, me.
My God, what have I become?
Then, I’m forced to slow down and make my engine idle. It kills me, making it idle, because I like speed, and everything to do with going fast. But the lightning strikes me, hard, and I open the door and see my parents in their little living room, in their world, and God punches me in the stomach, hard. He doesn’t apologize.
You’re an idiot, He tells me. Open your eyes. Look around you. Listen, listen!
And I listen. God, I’m listening!!!
In 1933, my dad was born in early summer in a little farm house on eighty acres, and his twenty year-old sister watched him come into the world about midnight, but no one really knew which side of midnight he was born. I like to think there was a red fox or two roaming near the pond that night, and the moon was wide and white and flat in the Colorado sky, and the crickets were chirping.
His mama and daddy worked hard, and farm life consisted of farming and corn popping up out of the dark, fertile soil, and chickens clucked and my dad’s mom, my grandmother, made bacon and eggs and oatmeal on her old, gas stove. She had met her husband mail-order style and helped raise his motherless kids, and my dad was the baby. There was an older half-sister who lived in Alaska and the Husky dog my dad loved so much, and I think there were bee-hives under one of the trees out front. Snow piled up five feet thick, come winter, and my grandfather was a judge in a little-bitty town not far from the farm. Then he got leukemia and he died when my dad was five, and it was just my grandmother running the farm, and their world changed.
My dad’s older brother taught their mama how to drive a car, and my dad would be alone at the end of the school day and taught himself how to cook grated potatoes and he’d make dinner for the three of them, at the day’s end. He cooked and cleaned and made sure things were done right, and he’d fix fences and gather eggs because that’s what families did back then. I don’t know if they felt the Depression or not, because my dad never talked about it much. He chose, instead, to tell me about good things like how beautiful the mountains were and how blue the sky was and how he’d go up into a place called The Meadows and drink freezing-cold water straight out of Coal Creek. He later taught me to walk softly and speak little, to make soft sounds in my moccasins as we walked in the timber together. He taught me to respect the land, only he never told me these things, he merely showed me by doing. He made me think, only I didn’t know it then. It was during my early years that I came to know Robert Burns, the poetry, and mountains and rivers and how it feels to hold a pole when a trout is pulling and struggling on the other end. How it felt to walk into a river and having the water push against my legs, and how it wasn’t a struggle but comfort, because I was part of the river.
In 1935 my mom was born and she’d look back on her childhood with laughter and some tears. The part of the struggle, when her carpenter-dad couldn’t work for awhile, and her mother went into town and took old vegetables out of Dumpsters to feed her young children…these were painful memories my mother told me. They saved everything, and my mother wore bread-sacks over her shoes in the wintertime, and often there wasn’t lunch when my mom went to the Animas City School, and a nice teacher would share her food with my mom. But almost immediately after telling me sad things about The Depression, my mother, because I think she was born happy-go-lucky, would tell me about games they played, how they’d skate on the Animas River in deep winter, and the land would sparkle with snow. She had stories about her best friend, Bessie-Mae, and riding an old, bumpy mule that ran away with them. She’d talk about sledding down steep hills in the winter. All three sisters would sleep in one double bed, and her mama kept the coal stove going all night long when it was cold outside. The only brother, my Uncle Charles, loved my mom the most, I think, and he’d play tricks on her and she’d play them right back at him. They attended a Methodist church, and my mom talked about the good food she’d get to eat on Sundays and the revivals and singing.
All of this, all of these things, bounded into my heart when I walked into my parent’s living room not long ago.
In fifteen, maybe twenty seconds, I became humbled.
My spirit was full of love and…peace.
I came home…to me.
Life happens, and it will continue to happen.
I’m not perfect, but I’d like to be.
It won’t happen.
It cannot happen. That’s not how life works.
But the beauty of living Now, living today, is that everything is a clean slate.
There are no mistakes, yet, when we open our eyes in the morning, and before we climb out of bed.
It’s a clean piece of paper before us.
I’m not a deep sleeper, and somewhere in the dusky early-morning hours I wake up and I start talking to God. Only He and I know what goes on, but I do let him know how beautiful things are in the world that He made, and I ask him for strength. Sometimes, I don’t tell him how beautiful the world is, and all I ask of Him is getting me through. Period. That’s it! He always gives me what I need, and He doesn’t waste it. At least, I hope he doesn’t waste His blessings on me.
There’s things I don’t think I can change about myself, although I try. I wish I could force my hyper, hurry-up-and-go personality into a softer light. I have my moments…
Put me in the mountains, and there…I am Me.
It’s my home, the mountains. It’s where my heart is.
But I can’t live in the mountains every day. I dwell here where there’s civilization and, although I grumble, I am thankful for stores close by and I don’t live off the land, even though it seems attractive to me at times.
I don’t know what I’m trying to say.
I guess I’m saying…it’s all about God.
It’s about us. It’s about our hearts.
We are extensions of God. We can’t all be hands or feet or ears or hair or knee-caps. But we can all be part of Something.
I thank God for pretty things, because he knows that gets my attention.
Pretty things, like hummingbirds buzzing my window and the purple larkspur that comes up every spring near my front door.
Pretty things, like the mountains because it’s my peace, and pretty things like horses, because my horse, growing up, was a healer, of sorts.
We all need things that get our attention.
When I’m stuck in traffic and I want everything to hurry, hurry, hurry I am going to go into my heart-place and try to get in the Now.
In the Moment.
Now isn’t tomorrow or yesterday, it’s now, it’s happening, it’s before us.
I want to throw away my need for fast, my need for getting things done, and let the peace of Now sink into my bones.
I want to feel the river pushing against my legs, and I want to feel snow falling down.
I want to be Me, I want to be God’s extension, I want to be nice and kind and I want to be like He wants me to be.
I’m going to listen to God more, and listen to me less.
I want to live Now, because Now is all there is.