I am trying to think about the values listed and discussed in Alan Morinis’s book, Everyday Holiness.  Today, I am feeling what my tug between two of the values–Order and Equanimity.


the pull to order is strong
I want to feel in control,
to feel like I can order my world
to have a place to make, think, do
without the noise, the frustrations, the interruptions

but my reality is just that:
real, outside of true control
outside the solitary sense of what I think order ought to be

Instead, I share living space with loved ones
who do not share my sense of order
so instead of order, perhaps what I really need is equanimity
a sense of calm, a seeking of balance, a turning toward self-order

I can’t keep being pulled by outside forces
yet I can’t expect others to remake themselves
as I would like them to be

So I breathe, and hope that I will find a way
to stop tugging and begin skipping rope
toward a more balanced calm.

I am having difficulty with being a patient person. I have historically been able to wait for things–I have been exceptionally adept at jumping through hoops in my academic and professional life. But parenting mostly adult children is something that my life has inadequately prepared me for.

I spent much of my professional career teaching college age students, so I never really expected that dealing with my 21-year old son and his boomerang back into our lives would affect my ability to be patient as strongly as it has.
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Shut in a jar
the words bounce and echo
again and again we hear the same lines
the same comments
the same rationalizations

And from my mouth
my voice
drips with barely controlled anger
disappointment
frustration
equally repetitive words

Daily we shake the jar
rattle the words around
recombine them in new and hurtful ways
until bruised and battered
trapped

I need patience
to examine that which is imprisoning us
to solicit help
to explore how to uncap the jar
and release us

Patience to find new words
a new interaction
a new beginning

(c) Lydia A. Schultz 2015

I actually first wrote this almost 2 years ago, but it still sounds true today.
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Today I am grateful for:

the melting snow
the return of chirping birds
a safe, warm, comfortable home
healthy children and husband
jobs that want me to work for them
the dance of the geranium’s leaves in the rising air from the radiator
the conversation of nature outside my kitchen window
a world of ideas to explore and examine
the boughs of the pine tree gently swaying in the breeze
the milky grey light as the morning begins
the calm of a new day

(c) Lydia A. Schultz 2015

I hate how the upload losing the formatting.  Plus, nothing I have tried seems to correct the problem.  Oh well.  Here it is without the proper format.

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The Inchworm and the Heron

On my son’s shoulder sat the inchworm,

Having hitched a ride into the sanctuary.

The eulogy progressed.

I gently coaxed it

Onto a Torah cover,

To bide its time

Until I could help it

Return to its world.

It measured the cover’s perimeter—

Up down, up down—

At the corner it stretched out

Sightlessly      reaching

seeking

striving

A life carefully measured,

Centered on words of wisdom

Trying to find connection

purpose

community

When we went to leave

It had vanished, lost to view.

At the cemetery we mourners

unmoored

unconnected

unsure,

Struggled to strengthen our earthly ties,

Reaching out, looking helplessly,

For what had been lost

Over our heads a heron

Crossed the sky

Effortlessly     floating

gliding

drifting

Might rootlessness be desirable?

Might the ceasing of striving be purposeful?

Above the confines of earth

the heron soared.

The quintessential American experience

Two adults, two kids

A car, a tent

The open road in summer.

 

Re-creating the vacations of our youth

My spouse and I take our children

Into the expanse of the West.

 

Unlike some friends,

We have qualms about sending our children forth

To grandparents, to camps, away,

For weeks, months, at a time.

Instead, here we are,

In the bubbles of our own creating–

The tent and the car surrounding,

Protecting,

Entrapping us.

 

What is being learned?

Who are the teachers?

Who the students?

 

Growing,

Exploring,

Conquering fears together.

 

The elder and I climb a dangling ladder in the Badlands

Temporarily suspending ourselves and our fear of heights.

The younger marvels at every creature,

sunset, flower,

And we see the marvelous landscape anew.

We climb and relive past ways,

Candlelight in a deep cave

doused to make us face what we cannot see

and see what we hesitate to face.

The relics of the past,

Animal, human,

All made this trek,

pushing themselves to these places.

In the snowy mountains,

we encounter our physical limitations,

while agape at the glory around us.

All peoples imagine their gods in the heights

and we too feel as if we have met mysteries.

 

Somehow, the problems we encounter—

storms, sibling fights, timing, tempers—

all pale in the memory.

Instead, we are left with connections,

built on gossamer threads of experiences shared.

Glad to be home,

Joyful in the knowledge

That we can be more than we often are,

That together we are more than individuals.

Family.

(c)Lydia A. Schultz 2009

Grainy black and whites

Fading, magenta, old color ones

Frozen in time

Faces and places

That I have spent my life

Trying to animate.

 

Like Doctor Frankenstein

I try to breathe life

into the long dead.

 

The corners curl in awkward scrapbooks

The nameless faces behind the glass

The sepia tones of the photo flapper and her mate

Encircled in a broken locket

With a picture of their firstborn.

 

I’ve always listened to the stories

Even the ones I wasn’t supposed to hear,

Things that only made sense

years later.

 

I want to know them, to interview them,

But almost all died before I came.

So listening is what I did.

 

And now, before it goes,

I write their lives, their stories.

Because in discovering,

Uncovering,

Recovering them,

I find myself,

my purpose.

I am quite literally a part of them.

They are my heritage;

This is my legacy.

The stories are all I have.

 

(c)Lydia A. Schultz

A planning, a challenging —

another child,

timed and prepared to fit

our schedules.

 

Everything seemed to proceed easily.

But plans are that only

nothing more

 

Thanksgiving weekend

I bartered with God.

Please let this baby live.

We want it so much.

Give me a reason for giving thanks,

give me this child,

this bit of immortality.

But God had other plans.

 

Deep, immeasurable grief

years later, at Thanksgiving

the waves of loss —

of potential, of possibility,

of a soul connected to mine

gone.

 

Yet unexpected gifts

a community

of women

of friends

of love

shared my grief

 

Controls

plans

schedules

vastly overrated

ultimately self-deluding.

I opened up to possibilities.

 

My second son is special

as all children are

but also in miraculous recognition

without the miscarriage

he would not be.

 

In him

made manifest

God’s lesson in love and hope.

The cliche,

“What will be, will be”

profoundly comforts.

This child is what will be,

the other not.

Simple.

Difficult.

True.

(c) Lydia A. Schultz, 2009

My oldest is about to graduate from college this year, and I have been thinking about the process of nurturing and letting go.  I wrote this a number of years ago, when he went off to sleep-away camp for the first time.  Funny, to me it doesn’t seem so long ago.

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Daniel

 

Absence

Is an ache

Not like the active toothache

But like the way your tongue keeps working a spot

Where the tooth is gone,

The way your jaw remembers that place.

The pain isn’t stabbing or shooting

But constant

A sense of loss

Of being missed

Of something that was so much a part of you

That its absence makes clear

Just how essential.

 

You grow so fast, so far away.

I cleaned your closet in your absence

Finding old treasures, long forgotten,

Finding the badges of your courage,

Achingly.

 

The letting go is hard–

Harder than I thought.

But the joy in the progress, the growth,

The glimmers of the man you will become,

Make me hopeful.

 

So I sit with tears now

That I can’t tell you about.

Tears after the heartfelt hug you gave

In spite of wanting to be macho in front of your friends.

Tears when I heard your tiny brother

Sigh deeply and say,

“I miss Daniel ’cause I love him.”

 

A boy too big to kiss his mom in public

But young enough to sneak

Stuffed animals into bed.

 

My gentle, temperamental son,

I miss you too

And love you.

 

Camp helps me to grow up too.

 

(c) Lydia A. Schultz

As a parent of an adolescent, and as a teacher, this seems appropriate for the start of Spring Fever.

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The Boy Men

 

They can barely contain it.

 

The energy flows like sap

Through their veins and

into the world around them.

 

Fingers drum on their knees

Feet bounce a restless staccato

Hands in constant motion

Bouncing balls

off floors

walls

each other

 

 

They want to get onto the court

They need to get out there

a pressure valve

a release

 

They need to tap that sap

in the game

in the rush

the flow

the sweat, the motion

 

the game

 

a way to control that burgeoning

That sense of growing

beyond  their boundaries

exploring and exploding

 

Direct it

into spent energy

Take that potential

and make it sweet

 

March in Minnesota

 

It overwhelmed, if for a while

            Snow so thick I can’t see across a street

            Flakes aswirl, enveloping me as I walk

 

Suddenly, sunshine, brilliant, blinding,

            Squirrel and rabbit prints

            Chase each other in the snow

 

The world comes alive again

            Cardinals dart from tree to tree

            Serenading me, sending me forth with hope in my day

 

Hoar frost rimes the trees

            Gold finches flit

            A psalm of their own making

 

Sculpted with whiteness, dotted with colors

            Children playing as penguins

            Making snow mustaches and beards

 

A splash of melting snow.

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz