Sunday, May 26, 2013

A COMMENTARY

My hope is that when you read my latest poem you won't feel a negative vibe.  (Wow, I don't think I've ever used the word 'vibe' before.  Who knows what I'm capable of in the future.  The word choices are apparently unpredictable.)  Anyway, after this horrific week, month, year, I had so much on my heart that it literally spewed out as if it had a life all it's own.  So, when I took all of that on, this poem was result.  Please don't get the impression that I've created it with a defeatist attitude, the old, we're doomed philosophy or I'm depressed about how bad things are; quite the contrary.

Rather, these are my observations.  Maybe yours are different.  Hopefully we share a recognition that our world is changing and not necessarily changing in a good way.  My intention is to make you think as you read it and perhaps, if you believe it's warranted, decide that you can improve things in your world and the world of your family.  Maybe you'll vow to pay closer attention to politics, recycle your garbage or quit using your cellphone when you drive.  Maybe you'll be aware of your conversations or disagreements when your children are in the room or maybe, just maybe you'll see the need to get back to God, to attend church again or just to practice The Golden Rule.  As far as the world is concerned, if we're going to make it a better place, these are the kind of changes you can make.  One person or one family, we can make a difference.

IS THERE AN EMBER?
by Patty Lynn

It seems so inconceivable,
The News, day in, day out.
The heinous and the violent,
Is that what we're about?

I find it hard, although I try,
To think back and remember
A time when being human held
Some pride to be a member.

When caring for your fellow man,
The rule not the exception.
When someone's word was good as gold
And wasn't a deception.

But now it seems it's hard to trust
The common man, your neighbor.
Be wary, don't you go next door,
Or ask him for a favor...

He may be plotting, making bombs
Or hatching terror plots.
What's happened to our world, I ask?
A dollar for your thoughts.

A dollar, that's inflation.
The cost of living's rising.
The gas, the cars, the houses, too,
It isn't that surprising.

Stock market's up, stock market's down.
A roller-coaster ride.
Computer scams and mail fraud.
Can you take them in stride?

Life's easier, convenient.
Man's wastefulness, immense.
Supposedly we're better off
But really, where's the sense?

Turn on the tube, what do we hear?
It seems, it's always BAD.
Man's inhumanity to man.
Each motive, iron-clad.

"He wronged me," "I hear voices,"
"His politics," "His snoring."
"I'll shoot to show my point of view,
I don't believe in warring."

And all this tension isn't helped
By weather unpredictable.
There's such extremes in hot and cold,
Tornados, quakes despicable.

And why, because we've tampered with
Our world and our environment.
Advances, progress, at what cost?
"That's rubbish," says our government.

But what's the truth, the real low-down?
We're duped by advertising
That's tells us it will be 'OK.'
You feel the water rising?

We're all effected by the "flood,"
Disasterous consequences.
It's not just infrastructure, folks.
We must come to our senses!

We've strayed so far, our values lost,
But is it irretrievable?
It's up to you, there's much to do.
It isn't inconceivable.

Together we can make a choice
To end a world complacent.
Go back to basics and instill
The Golden Rule replacement...

"Do unto others as you'd have
Those others do to you."
This sounds so simple but in fact
It's powerful and true.

So if you recognize you've been
Deceived and so betrayed,
Take this to heart and make a start.
There's changes to be made

This world needs to get fired-up.
This world is You, remember...
That every roaring fire's blaze
First started with an ember.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

MOTHER'S DAY

Today was Mother's Day and it started out like my Sunday Mornings do, Fall to Spring, with my Sunday School class hearing the Bible Story that I hopefully bring to life for these adorable 3 & 4 year olds.  Three years ago I saw a need in the storytelling department and, with my extensive theatrical experience, volunteered to be the storyteller.  Since I wanted this part of the Sunday School experience to be 'special,' I invented a character known as Grandma Goodstory, made a colorful kind of crazy costume, clipped a flower in the middle of some boa feathers to my head and I was off.
In addition I took it upon myself to draw a minimum of 4 large illustrations to help me keep the children's attention and it works like a charm.  Most Sundays it's so quiet you could hear a pin drop and when I review the previous Sunday's story, the children's answers confirm that they're truly engaged. 

This has become one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.  Just last Sunday one of my sweet little ones looked up at me and said, "I love you, Grandma Goodstory."  Talk about heart melting.  The surprising bonus is that every Sunday without fail at least one member of the congregation tells me that when they see me in my goofy outfit it just brightens their day! Go figure, or should I say, God figures...out all kinds of ways we'd never think of, He provides opportunities to show His love to others.  The others in this case are these sweet little ones who love each story about God's power and Jesus' dying for us on the cross.  They also know about what the children and I call the Easter announcement, "Hallelujah!  Jesus is alive again!"  We all love saying that.

But this particular Sunday is Mother's Day and I was able to share every aspect of it with my children, 38 & 40, their children, my grandchildren, and my wonderful sister, Jill and her children and her granddaughter.  The whole "gang" was there including my sister's neighbors.  Successfully coordinated, I might add, by my brother-in-law.  There were ham sandwiches, potato salad, a green salad, a huge fruit salad, beverages, and a birthday cake for my sister's 60th birthday which was this past Tuesday.  Even though it was cold and windy we all had a ball.  We always do. 

The lives of our grown children and their families is just as hectic and demanding as it was when we were their age, so these get-togethers give us a chance to catch up with them.  I am so blessed, my kids married great spouses and their children are happy and healthy. Having them all living in close proximity is the frosting on the cake.  What a fabulous day!  I couldn't have asked for more.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

ALL TOO COMMON A STORY

Retirement. We all look forward to that time, it's a goal, a plan, a time when we can finally do all the things that we couldn't when we had to get up and go to work everyday.  We had to cram so many things on the weekends, errands, grocery shopping, maybe a movie, trips with the kids, all our obligations to church, the kid's school stuff.  And then it finally arrives.  Retirement.

The grass seems greener, the sun seems brighter, we think we can finally sleep in, everyday (only to find out that our aches and pains don't let us sleep past seven anyway).  All the t-i-m-e we'll have.  Yay, FINALLY!!  But...the time we thought we'd have so much of, well, as you approach your 70's, it takes you twice as long to do things so you're still wishing the days were longer.  What a rip-off!

And then there's the matter of your health.  Whoever said, "if you have your health, you have everything" was really wise.  Even if you've been a proponent of healthy choices, exercise, supplements, and so on, there's no guarantees that you will really be like those folks on the retirement brochures walking along the beach or playing golf or sitting on the veranda of their glamorous summer home.  Who are those people, anyway?

Yes, your health in your post-retirement years can easily go down hill, like I said, even if you've done everything right. And there you are, looking down the barrel of an announcement from your doctor that, well, you have something serious that will require involved therapies, pills, and treatments to even have a chance of beating the odds, if you're lucky.  And sometimes what the doctor says takes your breath away.  He tells you that your condition is such that you may not have 10 or 15 years left, substancially less and you best make sure everything is in order.  Not what you thought those wondrous retirement years would be, now is it?

I know, this is hardly a light-hearted poem or fluff piece.  I also know all this sounds maudlin and morose but this just happened to one of my dearest friends...and a college classmate...and a wife of my brother-in-law...etc. etc. etc.  I probably shouldn't have written about this tonight but, gosh darn it, I'm mad.  Really mad!  I don't have anyone to blame (though I wish I did.)  It's just that every time I here about a situation like this and then compare it to the whole retirement myth, again I get mad and I just had to vent.  If I've shattered your dream of retirement, I'm sorry.