We talk about the power of love and that's so true. How powerful love is. It occurred to me yesterday that love also has its own magnetic pull. How drawn we are to life events because of love.
Dane and Jonathan arrived this morning from Arizona for Dad and Sandy's wedding, a trip that included 3 different planes and that took a total of 15 hours. Quite a journey for the sake of love. On Jonathan's facebook he posted: Off for a few days to celebrate LOVE!!!!
#wedding #love #weddingsinger#travel #arizonaboycanadianheart
Yes! And everyone else who has traveled far and wide to be at the wedding is there to celebrate love, too. They'll respond to the pull of love.
Also yesterday, Rob went to a well-tended celebration of life for a 42 year old man. Again, everyone there felt drawn to attend because of love.
Two friends also have big events this weekend which revolve around love: one a family reunion/get together and another a plane trip to support and visit family out of town.
Rob came home this evening, before the rehearsal for Dad and Sandy's wedding, with a gift for me: variegated, intertwined bamboo with a decorative heart on the ceramic pink container. "It's something to help you remember your Dad's wedding." A gift borne out of love for me to celebrate love.
At the rehearsal everyone was all smiles. While rehearsing the vows, Joyce, the minister, said, "Then I'll say the part, you may kiss each other and...oh! You want to practice..." As Dad and Sandy kissed, laughter and love filled the church.
Tomorrow will be heartwarming and truly lovely. How can it not be when love has drawn us all there?
Yesterday I had lunch with someone I consider a good friend. But I have distinct boundaries around this friend, too. Perhaps they reflect over sensitivity on my part. Nonetheless the boundaries exist. They usually involve my writing. I keep quiet about it with her. As far as I know, she has no idea about my latest writing achievements and I chose not to share them with her. But she knows I'm a writer--we met at a writing workshop many many years ago.
Yesterday she had brought a book, Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, with her and showed me a section from it, saying that she had decided to retire and had always said she would return to writing once she retired. The highlighted passage in the book was at the very end and was Natalie Babbitt's answer to a question about what she deemed important. Babbitt suggested teaching saying that there were lots of books in the world and that maybe we didn't need to be so focused on writing. My friend mentioned teaching, saying that she had decided not to write publicly, concentrating instead on a private autobiography for her family but wanted to make her presence felt by teaching, by giving people a useful skill as she has over and over and over in her life.
I know my friend showed me the passage in reference to herself. But between that (which I took a little personally) and several times when I tried to share parts of my world but felt shut down by her, I felt somewhat diminished when I left her. This often happens with her. Rarely, if ever, with my other friends. Yet I consider her a good friend. She is a good, kind and loving person. I meet her with my boundaries intact yet often return battle weary. Or at least aware of an unbalance that has occurred.
Today I itched to write my blog. An aha moment! I write this blog to show up in the world, to have my say, to not feel diminished or unseen or not validated. It is different to a private diary in that it can be read by others. Whether it is or not doesn't seem to matter, although I feel elated when someone reads it and we connect. I might be able to be drowned out in person but not in writing! Never try to silence a writer! This has become my battlecry. At least for today.
I found the following quote in a small fat library book called Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life by Diane Durston yesterday. So true, heartwrenching yet beautiful. I plan to create a painting around it.
I want to end positively. A week today Dane and Jonathan will be here for Dad and Sandy's wedding. A week tomorrow is their wedding. This past Wednesday, Dad, Sandy and I went to a Green Thumb tea and plant sale at their church. It was an anniversary for Sandy and I--a year since we first met. And in a silent auction, I won a beautiful plant arrangement I'd fallen in love with. (see photos) I picked it up today and Rob and I hung it up on our front deck. Then we stood together, his arms encircling me, and admired it. I hope it flourishes where we have it, even though I fear it may be too shady, as we can see it from inside the house as we walk towards the front door.
Love and beauty are everywhere. May your heart be touched by both.
NOWW (Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop) has organised a writing contest for 21 years. I enter it every year (missed the first year) and have won something every year but one or two. Sometimes an Honourable Mention, sometimes first place prizes. A major accomplishment in itself. This year, our LitFest gala was especially sweet for me and I'm proud of my achievements. Usually I'm fairly quiet about any wins but this year not so much for some reason. So, be warned, this is a bragging blog! Here are the results of this year's NOWW contest:
And then there is the sweetest email from our lovely contest organiser, Jodene Wylie:
One of the absolute nicest things about sharing my success with others has been how pleased, how genuinely pleased, people are for me. Rob told Sandy's family at a Mother's Day gathering and my ears are still ringing with their congratulations, my mind still picturing their smiling faces, happy for me. It feels good. I posted the winners and a photo on my facebook page and got many likes and loves and comments. I'm drinking it all in. It will feed me in the leaner months when I'm sitting at the computer surrounded by imaginary scenes and characters and words that lay stuck in my heart. Part of me shies away from the sharing which feels like bragging. But a newer part tells me, "Damn, girl, you did good! You deserve the recognition." And I have to admit, it does feel very sweet.
Today I have another one of those delicious all-at-home-free-to-do-whatever-I-like days. But with no blog to HAVE to write to fulfill my daily obligation. So what do I do but write a blog! This is a deeper one that I had thought about around mid-April. An aha moment in the shower of all places! Lol. This particular one is for my lovely friend, Louise, who said she looked forward to my blog everyday and would miss reading it as part of her routine.
My mother had a special gift which endeared her to many people: she was an excellent listener. Perhaps because she was quiet, more an observer, people gravitated towards her. She was also non-judgmental and believed that people eventually discovered their own leveling place given the chance. Strangers would tell her all their troubles in the butcher's queue or on a bus ride and they would part happier. They had been heard. And Mam went on her merry way.
Growing up, I believed that I could talk to her about anything. We often had great discussions: me sat on the tall red vinyl stool in the kitchen after school while Mam chopped potatoes. Ironically, I remember us talking about adoption. I was maybe 9 or 10 and my stance was that all adoptees had the right to find out who their birth parents were and to contact them. Mam saw things as being more complicated, greyer, and said that there were times when that would cause so much hurt all around it would be better to have no contact. I understand now, after finding out that Dad wasn't my birth father as I'd been led to believe, why Mam felt that way and possibly why she never did tell me the truth or at least not until her final few days when she planted a seed. Overall, in our often philosophical chats, I grew to appreciate that there were many sides to every story and situation. I learned immense tolerance and acceptance from Mam. I miss her.
But I remember a time in my life when I so wanted to talk to her and didn't know how. I was in a controlling relationship and I needed help. I suggested to Mam that we have weekly or was it monthly tea breaks, a chat and get together at a coffee shop. She didn't want to. Perhaps she knew I was in over my head. Perhaps she couldn't deal with that. Perhaps she had too much going on in her own life. Perhaps she sensed too much negativity from my situation. I never knew why but I felt a little cast adrift at that time. Mam always had this policy that if someone wanted to talk about something then they would without prompting. But especially at this particular time, I couldn't do that. My emotions were like a dam but I couldn't, for whatever reason, be the first to openly acknowledge that. If she had questioned me, perhaps I could have talked to her about it, perhaps she could have helped. I remember situations (although I can't bring specifics to mind) where I had hinted at something with her, something I wanted to talk about with her, needing her to ask a direct question, to open things up. But she didn't. So much lay unsaid and unexamined by us in those moments.
I thought that was a fault of hers, this belief that people would let her know if something was troubling them, if they wanted to talk about it. The fault, if there even was one, lay more with me not just jumping in without testing the waters first...seeing how receptive she really would be. I believe that sometimes if people are hesitant to talk about something yet they really want to, they need a nudge, an indicator that the other person is available and that they will listen without judgment, without advice, merely to support. That's a tall order. I understand now that, especially when I was in the verbally abusive relationship (as it became), Mam maybe needed to practice self preservation. She hated to interfere. She had no real idea as to the extent of any of it. She had to trust that I knew she was there and that I would reach out if I needed her.
So, the other week in the shower, for whatever reason, this all played out in my mind. As clear as I felt that Mam's belief in people talking without prompting was a fault, I felt that me believing that my friends always know how much I love and care for them even though I can be infrequent with correspondence and contact is also a fault. I noticed a parallel. Who doesn't like to be told they're loved and cared for, that they matter? Who doesn't like to be shown that by a letter, a phone call, a card out of the blue? A simple act of reaching out. I trust that friends know this but sometimes in the deepest dark of night, such knowledge can be fleeting as starlight and of little comfort.
I used to write long handwritten letters to friends before emails and before my writing became too difficult to read. So now if I write, it's long letters printed from the computer. But they're still heartfelt. They still matter. And a card every now and again, a text, a phone call (even though that is my least favourite way of reaching out) can fit into my busiest of days.
Yesterday an old friend (my British boyfriend at the time I emigrated from Britain) sent me a photo of my parents' house in Vancouver, the house I lived in when I first moved to Canada 42 years ago. He was there on a conference (from Britain) and had a vague interest in seeing where all his many letters from all those years ago had gone. The house looked totally different. But I had a truckload of emotions arrive with the photo! It felt strange, somehow how I imagine human life looks to someone who has died or how a time traveler could feel: two of my worlds had bumped into each other yet I had nothing to do with either of them! Perhaps that makes no sense to anyone else!
But seeing the house also made me remember my dependence on and eagerness for letters from friends in England in those early days. I so appreciated their news and that fact that they remembered me and cared about me enough to write. I found it dreadfully lonely when I first arrived in Canada. It started a strange phenomenon that I carry to this day: I resist answering letters straight away so I can hold onto their sentiments longer. Once I mail the letter it seems like that person's last letter doesn't count any more. I sense that this might also be a desire for control on my part...another aha moment.
So, in the time that I have dedicated to my blog each day, I can just as easily write a quick note to a friend, wrap and mail a now belated pressie ( I'm so sorry, Souley!xx), send a card or an email or a text. My friends are precious and they need to know that.
Louise and I connected through tai chi. She is one of those super thoughtful people who is aware of what's going on in the lives of her friends, especially areas they may be struggling in or issues that they're dealing with. And she's there 110%. When I got my OAC grant for writing my novel, Louise gave me the beautiful pen in the photo with a note about perseverance and talent and going at something everyday even on those uninspired days. She is one of the biggest believing mirrors in my life.
Also, this morning in the mail I got a beautiful anniversary card from my dear friend, Val. We just spent time together on Monday yet she took the time and effort to send an anniversary card (Rob and I barely acknowledge the day ourselves!) with a loving sentiment about us being dear friends and deserving the best.
I'm so blessed with my beautiful friends. They are also my greatest teachers.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.