Simply Sunday

Happy Father’s Day!

The past two years brought health challenges for my dad. Open-heart surgery and heart failure were encapsulated by complications from diabetes. I am grateful he is still with us. And he is thriving.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

He and my mom have coped well with the struggles of health combined with pandemic living. I know it has not been easy, and I am proud of them.

On this Father’s Day, I miss my father-in-law, Bob. I often wonder what he would think about the current state of the world. The political divide in our country? He would be disappointed. The challenges of living through a pandemic…not sure how he would have fared. Isolation from family and friends would have been difficult. He lived for his family and was quick to whip us into shape. 😉❤️

But, oh, what good things have happened. Grandchildren graduated from high school and college. Several are now married. And three new great-grandchildren have joined our family.

Anytime we are together as a family, I know he is smiling. He is smiling, and we are remembering.

Simply Sunday

Light and Shadow

I sat with
The heaviness
All-day
My heart wrapped
In a blanket of grief
The day wrapped
In weeping clouds

A peak of the sun
Broke my stillness
Only a glance
Out the window
Surely I should not soak it in
How could I?
Amid so much suffering

That sweet sunshine
Not to be ignored
Determined to draw me out
Shone a little brighter
Bravely displaying light
And shadow
Simultaneously

I couldn’t keep from smiling
Even as my heart
Continued to cry

End of the trail. Keystone Ancient Forest. Sand Springs, OK

I participated in a writing circle yesterday facilitated by Ali Grimshaw fashlightbatteries. Time writing and sharing with this group of women was just what my heart needed. ❤️

Today, my husband and I went on a three-mile hike. It was a bit more challenging than I care to admit. 😉But the time spent with him, walking through the forest with no outside distractions, was also much-needed. I am so glad he encouraged me to keep going.

Offering

Rain stopped
Dark clouds
Remained
Casting
Shadows
That left
Little room
For reaction
Until
Sunlight
Pushed
Through
Casting
Shadows
Of dancing
Leaves on
The ground
Prompting
A brief smile
Before
Slipping back
Behind the gray

Chopin Prelude in e minor Kelley Morris, piano

A Matter of the Heart

I have a storage closet inside my music classroom. Shelves lining both walls hold musical instruments. There are stacks of chairs in one corner and drums in the other.

At various times in the year, certain sets come out.

There is a narrow walkway between the shelving.

More than once this school year, I’ve glanced in there with the following thought: would I be able to fit an entire class of students in here? I’m not sure. If I quickly moved some things out. But would there be enough time?

That is where I stop my spiraling thoughts. Any further, and they’d be unbearable.

Every day, I stand on the sidewalk outside my school. Along with colleagues and student volunteers, make sure kids get safely to their cars.

Several times during the year, I almost left my phone inside the building. But then one thought would invade-what if something happens? An emergency? And quickly, I’d put my phone in my back pocket.

I’m not the only one carrying the weight of such thoughts. But we rarely talk about them. Until another tragedy occurs and we realize it could have been our school, our students, or our friends.

I see the sweet faces of the Uvalde, TX victims in photos shared by loved ones. I see the desperation in the sobs of those left to mourn and question.

My heart breaks.

But my sadness quickly turns to anger as I listen to sound bites. As I hear political figures speak of rights instead of solutions, perpetrators instead of victims.

There are solutions. And please don’t tell me there are no laws or policy changes that would affect this epidemic of gun violence in our country. There are. And they are logical. Why do we refuse to take a stand in their favor? Well, that’s a matter of the heart.

https://www.nytimes.com/


Our descendants weep
As the blood
Of the innocent
Soaks the ground
Beneath the feet
Of misplaced allegiance

Only Tears

The sky wept
Thru the night
Quieting only
For moments
At a time
To take a quick
Breath of air
That offered
No relief

No lightening
To break
The vast darkness
No thunder
To break
The veil of grief
Only the tears
Of broken hearts
Forever flowing

It must have been raining all over the world.

Press Rewind

If only
It was
Possible
Press rewind
Go back in time
Prevent every
Unkind word
That left you
Confused
And alone
Block every
Raised hand
That left you
Hurt and afraid
Unable to defend
Yourself
From those charged
With your keeping-
But time cannot
Be rewound
Trauma cannot
Be erased
Does time heal all wounds?
I’m afraid some
Are too deep
If only
It was
Possible
Press rewind
Go back in time

There are stories of child abuse and neglect in the news daily. But one remains close to my heart. I have written about her before-my a former student. Here, I call her Marie out of respect for her privacy.

Marie recently turned eighteen. It seemed things were going well. Living in a good home with people who love her. And then something happened. Like a snap inside that could not be controlled.

There are no simple explanations. No simple solutions. And though this is something over which I have no control, I cannot give up hope. Hope for her future.

Wet With Tears

Way too young
Senseless death
Gun violence
Once again
This time
I can’t ignore
Won’t let my heart
Become numb
This time
I can see
The one left behind
Her heart
Broken into pieces
That may never
Fit back together
No matter
The time
That passes-
Right now
The grief is fresh
Eyes wet with tears
At the mention
Of her loss
Or a gentle hand
On her shoulder
Don’t hide them
Though they fall
Because of loss
They also fall
Because of love

This story is one of many. Too many. Young adults ready to take on this world, taken too soon. Though it is not my story to tell, listening touched my heart. I could not walk away without taking time to acknowledge the grief, the hurting left behind. And also the love and strength showing through the pain. 💔

Living and Dying

We only spoke on a few occasions. Short conversations, but a bit below the surface. You knew you were dying. Cancer was taking your body, but not your spirit. One day at a time, you’d smile. And your sweet husband would smile with you.

Your peaceful presence was drawing. And your dress was sassy, full of personality. I would like to have talked more. But your days were short, and interrupting family time didn’t seem appropriate.

There was one opportunity for an extended conversation. I discovered you both were retired teachers. Smiled listening to your stories. Gratefully accepted your encouragement as a teacher.

That evening was the last time we spoke. Sounds like you held on as long as you could.

You are no longer suffering. For that, I am thankful. But selfishly, I wish we’d had the chance to become friends.

We rarely know when
One conversation
Will be our last
And even if
We have an inkling
I expect our hearts
Won’t entertain until
We know for certain

Simply Sunday

In my younger years, cemetery visits puzzled me. Not the initial ones to say goodbye and pay respect. I had attended the funerals of my grandparents.

It was the return visits I had trouble understanding. Marking anniversaries, birthdays, holidays year after year. Wouldn’t they just bring more sadness?

Yesterday, I visited the cemetery with my husband and mother-in-law. The place we said goodbye to my father-in-law six years ago.

I am no longer puzzled. Yes, there is sadness. But more importantly, there are sweet memories. And so many reasons to be thankful.

Missing two sweet souls from this photo. ❤️

Walking down the path
To where we said our goodbyes
Remembering you

Simply Sunday

Old Word Hope

I did not choose a word for the year. One chose me.

I had never heard of this word until yesterday. Not a surprise since it was last used in the 16th century. As I read its definition, it seemed like the perfect choice.

Before I share my word, you need to know its antonym.

Despair-the complete loss or absence of hope.

Though I have felt sadness and grief, I can’t say I have experienced despair. I have witnessed hopelessness. It is not difficult to find. So many challenges over the past couple of years. Such is this life we live.

No more suspense. My word for the year is…

Respair-fresh hope, or recovery from despair.

I am glad it found me! Now to try using it in a sentence. 😉

Here’s to respair in 2022! 🕊