Time is a funny thing. Looking at the clock, I see the seconds ticking away. Always the same, steady beat.
And yet, I foolishly think I have some control over its passing. Certain moments I try my hardest to slow down as if they will last longer. Others I try to push ahead, wanting them to be over already.
Here’s to taking each moment as it comes-all steady, sixty-seconds of it.
What if I lie Perfectly still In the dark Breaths shallow Muscles relaxed Surely time will Stop for a moment Allowing me a Space to hold One single note Ringing in the air A reminder of Joy that sings Even when Days are hard A simple request One moment Frozen in time Melting away only As your hand reaches Through the darkness To take hold of mine
Looking for the Fast-forward button Feeling like life Is busy taking Seldom giving Desire to connect Difficult to maintain When physical touch Is discouraged- But time passes No faster than On the days We can walk Hand in hand Arm in arm Whispering in One another’s ears No-there is no Fast-forward button To be found So, I wait Ready for Winter to pass Flowers to bloom Friends to embrace
Everything a chore Getting dressed Dishes, laundry Talking, smiling Each takes an Effort beyond The necessary Every day is Not this way But today… It is my reality Trusting that Giving voice To the internal Though difficult Will bring relief And if not for me Possibly another Not yet able to Express their struggle- Finding strength In good company
This poem was an attempt to give words to a recent low period. And though I am feeling better, I accept that it will not be my last. Such is this life. I share because it is so important to know we are not alone-even at our lowest. ❤
The strangest thing happened on my way home from school yesterday. I had not driven far and was stopped at a red light. The soundtrack to “Hamilton” was blaring on my radio, and the sun was shining!
A quick glance to my right, and I noticed someone waving. The car window was rolled down, the driver smiling. His eyes looked familiar, but it took a few seconds to recognize him.
This was someone I see at work every day. But he is new to our school this year, and that meant I had never actually seen his entire face. Or, if I had, it was only for a few brief seconds.
Wow! I know we are all feeling the changes in how we connect during this time of a global pandemic. We have to work even harder at getting to know new people. Wearing masks, though necessary, makes it more difficult to speak, hear, and recognize others. And not being able to just run up and hug everyone I see…well, that is another thing altogether.
This experience was a real punch. Here I sat, realizing that this was the first time I had seen this guy’s entire face! We have been in school for over two months!
I waved and then rolled down my car window. We were both smiling. I said, “Man, it is good to actually see your smile!” He laughed and said something about wearing masks all the time. I nodded. We both drove our separate ways.
Did I mention we were both smiling?
It was like finding two puzzle pieces that fit together. That unfamiliar smile perfectly matched those familiar eyes.
I love the times when our family gets together. I wrote a poem some weeks ago about that very subject, and this evening brought it to mind.
Today was the first day for teachers to report back to school. A long day for me and my daughter, Rachel. A long day for my husband in his role with school technology.
The first day back is always tiring. The alarm goes off so early. And add to that our current health concerns with Covid-19, the stress levels are high.
Enter my brother-in-law, Martin. He is in town for a few days, doing some work around my mother-in-law’s house. And he offered to make dinner for the whole family.
Dinner on this first day of reporting back to school. And not just any dinner-ribeye steaks, asparagus, salad, and grilled peaches. What a treat!
We sat around the table laughing, enjoying the company. We felt loved. Refilled so that we can pass on that love. What a special place to be. ❤
At the Table
Family and friends On either side Faces lighting up the room Enjoying a favorite meal A warm cup of coffee Creating new memories While recalling old ones What about a stranger? A favorite meal Not yet known No memories to share Only ones to create Taking a chance Caring enough to ask About a favorite meal Offer a warm cup of coffee A timeless lesson- The people at the table Matter more than What is being served- And before anything else, Love must be given A seat at the table
These are difficult days. So many questions, so much confusion, so many tears. Yesterday’s rain reminded me that we have hope. And though there are more hard days ahead, we cannot give up. We must come together, lift each other up, and continue on…one step and a time. ❤
Raindrops teased All morning long Falling a few At a time With quiet Drip-drops Barely enough To dampen my hair By late afternoon The sky grew dark- No longer playing Their little game, The frightened raindrops Huddled together Creating steady streams Flowing down from Cloud to ground- Proving there is Strength in numbers, The brave raindrops Transformed themselves Into a wall of water Like a transparent curtain Hanging from the sky- Suddenly, the curtain fell No longer flowing From cloud to sky Now a blanket of water Flowing downward Across the landscape Carrying away All the sorrows Of the day- And the sun began to shine.
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” Kelley Morris, piano
The rain stopped Some drops lingered In the rich soil Beneath the tree- Resting after the Long journey On the tip Of a pine needle, One drop called out Or perhaps, up To its dear friend, Sunshine
It’s your turn! I’m waiting! Send your rays My way-So that We may have A moment of fun Can’t you see? We belong together Simply shine your Light on me And watch the branch Begin to glisten
The sun obliged Sending its rays To pierce the clouds And touch the Raindrop The two old friends Danced and played While the branch Glistened and smiled Soon, each went their way But neither said goodbye Knowing they would Meet again another day
We are currently in a state of constant, overwhelming information. And though I try to limit my intake, anxiety has a way of creeping in. It is easy to lose sight of what truly matters.
These two poems provide a glimpse into how quickly my state of mind changes. Some days are a constant battle between worry and trust-anxious and calm. Can you say rollercoaster? 😉
Maybe you can relate. ❤
The pressure Begins to build In the center Of the chest Pushing past The heart Welling up In the throat Seeking an Escape route- Tears falling From my eyes- No consequence Weight remains Reason requires Assistance A temporary Reprieve Help from the Unexpected A song playing On the radio Laughing, I Shake my head Momentary release From the gravity
Not considering Personal gain Instead, seeing Another in the Light of grace The same grace Through which Each one of Us desires To be seen Grace that places Selfish interest Out of sight Out of mind Where it belongs Two people Face to face One saying I see you I hear you And I want To know you Not a request An offering Of friendship
I love playing the piano. And playing the piano in collaboration with another musician is even better. It requires a whole new level of concentration. But it also provides a whole new level of enjoyment.
Not only am I reading and listening to my part, but I am also doing the same for the other instrument. One section on its own does not make sense. But when played at the same time, harmony in motion. Almost like two characters telling the same story from their own perspective.
Even though collaborative playing is one of my favorite ways to experience music, it has not been part of my life in more recent times. Right now, my professional life is more focused on teaching. Playing is mostly for my own enjoyment.
That is ok. I am not complaining, just setting the scene.
Here we are, many months of living during a worldwide pandemic. The school year ended strangely. So many plans put on hold. And just when it seemed things were improving, our numbers are on the rise again.
There are so many questions about the future. How long will this last? What will school look like? It is easy to feel anxious.
What better way to calm anxious thoughts than some musical collaboration?
My friend, Lisa, came over and brought her oboe. Lisa and I teach music in the same district. She is also a professional musician. We have talked many times about getting together and playing music.
What better time than during the middle of a pandemic?
My music room has glass doors that open up to the main entrance. So, we opened the doors and sat a chair and music stand in the entryway. That way, we could still maintain a social distance but also have a sightline.
We played music for almost two hours! The time flew by. My fingers got a workout, but my brain was at peace. The music was beautiful! And we had the perfect audience, my miniature dachshund, Poppy.
Poppy’s bed was placed between the piano and the oboe. She was perfectly still, relaxed in her bed the entire time. I think she approved.
Playing music did not erase our questions or concerns. But it did provide some moments of contentment. Music is powerful, therapeutic. And the therapy is even sweeter when it’s a social distance duet with a friend.
I am currently re-reading an old favorite, “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard. I love this allegory, especially the main character, Much-Afraid. This book was first introduced to me by my precious friend, Shannon.
A specific passage caught my eye as I read this morning.
“…while the storm still furiously raged outside, there they were, sitting around a crackling fire, warming themselves and drying their sopping garments while they drank comforting hot cocoa and satisfied their hunger. Though the uproar of the tempest without was almost deafening and the hut shuddered and shook in every blast, yet inside was nothing but peace and thanksgiving and cheerful contentment.”
What a goal. To experience that kind of inner peace, no matter the storm outside.
I once heard someone say the following regarding life and storms. At any given time…
A storm is approaching
A storm is raging
A storm has passed
For me, it seems finding peace is most difficult when the storm is approaching. The clouds are far off in the distance, but it’s only a matter of time before it arrives. The “calm” can be thick with tension. Questions are constant. What if, what if, what if…
The time before the storm is when my anxiety builds. And then when the storm finally arrives, it fades. I just have to push through. That is when I realize I never really had any control anyway.
Although storms cause us to question, they seldom provide answers. They are sometimes accompanied by sorrow and suffering. But I must believe that the possibility of peace exists. Even when it is hard to find.
Each of us has to find our way through the storms. But we do not have to face them alone.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” Psalm 57:1
Last week a piano technician came and tuned my new piano. Even though it is a beautiful new instrument, there are several reasons it needed tuning. Being moved to a new location. Sitting in a different space, with different temperatures, on a different type of floor. All factors that affect the way it sounds.
I listened as the technician worked. She listened to such tiny details. The way she would tune one note to its octave counterpart. When I played those notes together in a chord, I didn’t notice that they were out of tune. But hearing her pick them all apart, it was obvious.
The mechanics of a piano are fascinating. My explanation to students is usually simplified. Your finger presses down the key, which causes a hammer inside the piano to strike a string producing the sound.
Watching my piano being taken apart, actually viewing the insides, gave me a new perspective. Each piece has its place and must be perfectly aligned to produce a high-quality sound. Even a new piano needs time to adjust and sometimes requires a little assistance.
One thing stood out above the rest, voicing. I asked the technician about adjusting the voicing, making it a little less bright. Basically, taking the edge off of the sound. She explained that part of that process involves the felt material on the hammers.
A needle is used to soften the felt. When done correctly, it does not damage the material. It just slightly changes the way the hammers strike the strings.
Once the piano was put back together, I sat down to play. Wow! What a difference. Not only was it in tune, but it also had a much warmer tone. The sharp edge had been softened.
This experience made me think about my life. What if I’m in a new place, with new surroundings, expectations, and people? What if my reaction is one of fear or frustration? My words may sound edgy, sharp, or out of tune.
Like the felt on those hammers, something inside me needs to be softened. An adjustment might come in the form of an honest word from a trusted friend. Yes, stings for a moment. But the sting will not last if accepted with grace. The knowledge that someone loves me that much, however, is lasting.
Hopefully, as I continue playing my piano, I will be reminded to check my own tone. And will gracefully accept any needed adjustments to keep me in-tune with my husband and children, family and friends, the world around me.
“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17