So while I collect my thoughts and get ready write on some specific topics that have come up for me over the past couple of months, let me share some words of wisdom from others. I think if I had lots of money I would have a house with a huge library that would house not only lots of books, but collections of all the words that I have read over the years that have impacted me deeply or influenced me in some way. Here are a few more of those precious words.
“Everything that I think, feel,say, and do belongs to me, and everything that you think, feel, say, and do belongs to you.” (Paul Ferrini)
“I cannot think myself into a new way of living; I have to live myself into a new way of thinking.” (AnShin Thomas)
“Know that making a commitment to your happiness, to your health, to your fitness, to your family, to your abundance, to your career, to your mission in life, to your love, to your friends, to your community, to your creativity, to your spiritual life, is all the same thing. It is all a commitment to growth, to wholeness, to being your best, to living life fully and gratefully starting from where you are right now!” (Jinjee)
“Making amends without forgiveness leads to dishonesty and lies.” (Anon)
“Everyone who’s human deserves to be treated with some dignity – whether they’ve done good things or bad things, they have to be given hope.”
“When you stop resenting what anther person can’t give you, you begin to appreciate what they have to offer.” (Anon)
“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”
“Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” (Mark Twain)
“The fact that Christianity is a religion of love makes every evangelizer the teller of a love story, the singer of a love song. By example as well as by words evangelizers must be teachers of love.” (from John Paul II and the New Evangelization)
“The power of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special efforts, but by his ordinary doing.” (Blaise Pascal)
“When people envy me I think, Oh God, don’t envy me, I have my own pains.” (Barbra Streisand)
“He paints the lily of the field, perfumes each lily bell; if He so loves the little flowers, I know He loves me well.” (Maria Strauss)
“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts f people.” (Mother Teresa)
“He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.” (Thomas Fuller)
I may not have written much in the last couple of months, but words have still been the centre of my life. They were not running off my fingertips through the computer but they were certainly filling my heart, soul, and mind. In the absence of writing I have been doing a lot of reading.
It’s as though words in some way, shape, or form have to be in my life. I love seeing them printed or written across the page. It fascinates me to think about what the words hold. It could be information about an object, a machine say, or it could be the description of a place.
Words have the power to fire our imagination. They can transport us to some magical landscape where we can "escape” for a few hours as we read. They can describe a character so that we think we can see them, smell them, hear them as they speak. The author Morris West (In The Shoes Of The Fisherman) has an incredible gift for this last talent, and this was what drew me to read all of his books.
In the latter part of 2009 I was introduced to the author Robert B. Parker. His style of writing attracted me immediately. He wrote a couple of series of books with different central characters; the Spenser novels, the Jesse Stone novels, and the Sunny Randall novels. They are all of the detective genre.
He used a short sharp yet easy flowing style of writing, especially when it came to conversations between people. Some of his sentences are just two words long! Yet everything is perfect in the moment. And he uses a form of dry, wry wit that appeals to my English sense of humour.
Over a period of about three months I think I read everything he wrote. Back in January 2010 I was devouring his last three or four books from the library shelf when I heard the news of his death. I remember my immediate thought was “Oh no, what will I read now!” as if he were the only writer producing books.
But he had very quickly become “my Robert B. Parker (RBP)”. He had entered my heart and my soul through his generously-shared talent. I thought of him as a friend who set out to entertain me with each of his books. The only positive thing that I can say about his passing is that he died at his typewriter doing what he loved most.
So having completed all his books I then had to find someone else. I love detective/spy books so I stayed in that genre. Checking along the shelves in the library I remember thinking, “I need to find a prolific author; someone who has as many books on the shelf as “my RBP”. And so Sue Grafton found her way into my book bag.
Her A,B,C books based on the character Kinsey Millhone are great. Her style is different yet just as interesting as RBP. Kinsey is a little off-beat, a little off-centre, and as a woman detective is just finding her way around the profession. I guess what attracts me to her is that there is a part of her that is organized and yet there is another great chunk of her that is delightfully, quirkily “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants”.
Her well-preserved and still very attractive octogenarian neighbour Henry and his other “just as old if not older” siblings add some unique interest to the story. But the spice is added, literally, by Rosie, of Hungarian origins, who runs a small restaurant/grill/bar down the road from Kinsey’s home. I can almost hear her speaking in her broken accent and can imagine the expressions on her face and in her voice the way Sue Grafton describes her.
So here I am having read the latest, U Is For Umbrella, and wondering who will be the next author that my eyes fall upon, that my nose smells out. One thing is for sure, I will not be without words in some way or another. They feed my soul and my mind. I will not go hungry!
Since yesterday I have been enjoying a very special freedom. I was sick for the last two weeks. Some horrible bug of an influenza/bronchitis type just took hold of my body and shook it right down to its roots. I was knocked off my feet and spent about seven or eight days in bed followed by five or six days of tentatively, slowly getting back to “normal”. During that period I made three trips to the doctor.
I had no desire whatsoever to talk to people or to think about what I might be doing with my day. I had no desire to be doing anything with my day other than migrating from the bed to the couch and back again. I was totally worn out from terrible coughing spasms that wracked my body and made me wonder if I was about to cough my insides outside!!
It was only in the last couple of days, as I began to feel a small level of strength and a vague sense of wellness returning to my body, that I was able to admit to feeling a little annoyed about the disruption to my “normal” life, and the “waste of time”. It didn’t help to know that my husband was missing my misery as he travelled to – guess where? My beloved Italy!!
There was only one good thing about this period of sickness. For the first time ever I did not fight the bug. I was aware almost immediately that something bad had got me and instead of doing my usual heroics and resisting it and trying to carry on as usual, I let it have its way with me. I knew that whatever it was needed to take its course, so as soon as I realized it wasn’t going away after 48 hours, I got a doctor’s evaluation, medication, and took myself to bed.
I did all the right things. I stayed indoors neither exposing myself to other germs nor others to mine. As I said I spent over a week between bed and the couch. I drank gallons of liquid; water, juices, and lots of herbal teas duly sweetened with honey. I really took care of me and in doing so took care of others by non-contamination. I prayed a lot and asked God to heal me in His time.
I eventually went outside to run a small errand around day nine. Then I kept a doctor’s appointment and ran an errand on day ten. I ventured to the library, one more doctor appointment, and ran another errand on day eleven. I did not go wild and try and catch up on everything that I had had to let go of when I was struck down. By day twelve I felt almost back to “normal” and, joy of joy, I was able to take a wonderful motorcycle ride with my husband yesterday – day thirteen.
As I rode the back of the Harley on a gorgeous sun-filled, warm, day under a beautiful blue sky, I was filled with joy. My heart overflowed as I enjoyed my new-found freedom from sickness. I was free of the bug, I was free of being imprisoned in my home, confined to the bed and the couch. I was free to be outside in God’s glorious creation. I raised my hands to the skies and shouted “Thank you God, thank you, thank you!!”
I have learned a new appreciation through this experience. I have a whole new respect for the long-term sick person who is confined to bed, whether at home or in hospital. The sense of freedom that I enjoyed yesterday as we rode to Daytona has opened my eyes and my heart to what they must suffer on top of whatever health issue is keeping them imprisoned. So today I have a renewed awareness and heightened level of gratitude for the freedom that good health grants me.