What A Wednesday It Was – Mindwalker1910

For some reason, I posted this 07/27/00 e-mail from Mom on 10/12/10 – no idea why.  But I like it, so sharing it as my belated Sunday Mindwalker post…
Subj: What a Wednesday
Date: Thu Jul 27 23:33:08 EDT 2000
It has taken me 24 hours to write about what a wonderful day I had yesterday. Two major visits on the same day and I still felt up for going to the hairdresser today. That is progress.

Jeremy Simons stopped by yesterday afternoon to talk with me about the role of New Church women in the ministry. It was so stimulating. He brought several pamphlets by for me to look over and we shared how we see the current discussion going on around this issue. I remember a couple years ago when Gay Pendleton had dropped by and the two of us were discussing women seeking a recognized role within the General Church ministry. Gay asked Elsa what she thought and Elsa replied, “Nature hates a vacuum.” I did not understand what she meant at first, but Gay got it right off the bat.

I think there is nothing so beautiful as men taking a strong masculine role and women taking a strong feminine role, the two beautifully fulfilling each other in different ways but on the same plane. I think of Pete and how much delight he took in building a secure foundation for his family.

We did not have a lot – for many years we were comparatively poor (and poor within a wealthy town) – but we never went hungry and always had a roof over our heads. I took the greatest delight in being a wife and mother. It was heaven on earth.
Unfortunately, these are not ideal days when it comes to the concept of conjugial – or true marriage – love. Men and women TOGETHER are to safeguard that priceless pearl, conjugial love. Women cannot be held responsible for the confusion about gender roles or the breakdown of marriage. That is a 2-way street.

My goodness, this has nothing to do with what Jeremy and I discussed; just shows to go you that his visit got my little grey cells sitting up and taking notice. What we said was private to us, although I am delighted to say how uplifted I was by the clearness of his thought and opinions. Jeremy, please drop by again!

Jeremy stopped by in the afternoon. In the evening, Elsa getting together with a young friend to discuss the young lady’s upcoming wedding. The original plan was for the two of them to head off to Barnes & Noble to discuss wedding plans. Then, a couple days ago, Elsa got the great idea of having Jessica come to our house for supper, so I could get in a visit. That snowballed into Darryl coming too, when his baseball game was rained out and he was left high and dry with nothing to do. It still amazes me that I was not too bushed from the stimulating afternoon to do justice to their visit.

Jessica and Darryl are getting married next June and Jessica asked Elsa to help out, since her Mom is far away, in (western?) Canada. There are few things that Elsa loves more than helping out with a wedding. She becomes a sort of “Adopt-an-Aunt.” I remember the fun she had helping Stella Rose with her wedding and helping Rebekah Darkwah with hers and Aline Cooper with hers and the incredible time she had last year helping out with Shada Rabone’s wedding.

There were so many things that I loved about Darryl and Jessica’s visit. They have such an ease with each other, like good friends. It was lovely to see how they batted ideas about the wedding back and forth ideas.

I liked hearing them talk about their circle of friends, which includes some young people who dear to my heart – Mike and Stella, Aline and Jeff, Doug and Carla, among others. It makes me smile thinking that if Scott and Kimberly were here, they might be part of that same circle of friends. Scott was Mike’s best man, Mike would have been Scott’s if he could have gotten down to Australia, and Mike is Darryl’s. A lovely connection of sorts to a couple who are too far away.

We talked about so many things – Jessica’s teaching position in Toronto, Darryl working on his degree in architecture, their families, discussions taking place within the church, friends and friendship, and glimmerings of what they might be considering considering for their wedding, and lots of other things that I am too tired to recall. I enjoyed their visit very much. I would like to keep track of them. I hope I am up to going to their wedding. If I am not there in presence, I surely will be in spirit.

It was a wonderful Wednesday. I am so pleased that I had the get up and go to fully enjoy both visits. I feel like I am getting stronger every day. Who’d a thunk it?

Love to you all, a tired – but well-coiffed – Grammie

TONCHE – Mindwalker1910 10/30/00

Mom’s participation in the Tonche Women’s Weekend was a high point of her closing years & a high-water mark for showing her at her most KRL-ish.  By the next October – 2001 – she was gone, reunited with her O! Best Beloved.

Subj: Tonche
Date: Mon Oct 30 08:32:43 EST 2000

Almost a month without a posting from me. All is well. In fact, all is beyond the beyond. I think that the reason I haven’t written is because words are inadequate to describe what I have experienced this month.

Miracles do happen.

Earlier this month, I attended the Women’s Weekend at Tonche (outside of Woodstock, NY. I wanted to go last year, had planned on going, but could not make it because I was still recuperating from my “episode.”

This year, I got there.

It is awful, the way that words fail me when I am most deeply, deeply moved. My vocabulary does not include the words to describe what I saw and felt over that remarkable weekend. I felt totally wrapped up in love.

It was a weekend filled with old and new friends, renewed energies, and an unexpected chance to get in a good visit with my older daughter, Mim. I do not know which of us was more surprised to see the other person there! My age made it almost unthinkable that I would actually get there and keep going under my own steam for the whole time; Mim’s lack of transportation and own physical challenges make it equally challenging for her. What a blessing that we both overcame any obstacles to be there, in the heart of caring women.

Elsa was informed right off the bat by Deanna Nelson Odhner that she and the others would take care of me over the weekend. I felt like a mountain woman version of the Queen of Sheba, with my every wish and want taken care of. So much love, wonderful homemade food AND a view of the Catskills that would knock your socks off.

The one thing that I am going to share is a realization that came during ”sharing” time with the small circle of women I met with in the morning and evening. I had, over the two days, discussed bits and pieces of my life. I think it was on the second evening – or maybe it was on the last morning – that I mentioned that life had been easy on me. One of the young woman looked at me in disbelief and blurted out, “Mrs. Lockhart, from what you’ve described, your life has been anything but easy!” That got me thinking – it feels like the right word to describe my life is “easy,” but I can see what she meant. Perhaps “fortunate” is better.

One of the key blessings to come out of the weekend has been the gift of seeing things in a new light, with a richer awareness and a deeper appreciation. For 2 ½ days, I basked in the happiness of being there with both of my daughters. I developed new friendships, especially with Julie Conaron, and increased the depth of old ones, particularly with Deanna.

I was up every morning bright and early and down to Danna’s house in plenty of time for breakfast, and I stayed up until the end of each program/discussion group. I felt strong mentally, spiritually and physically.

I said I was going to go and I went!

If only I could share all that was in my heart, all the images in my mind – what a glorious posting this would be!

Love to one and all, especially to my fellow mountain women – The Queen of Sheba (aka Grammie)

 

Seventeen – Mindwalker1910

Date: Thu, 11 May 2000 07:27:49 EDT
Subject: Mindwalkers – Seventeen
(Booth Tarkington’s Seventeen, one of the books Mom read aloud to her kids as we washed & dried dishes)

I keep looking at a photo that Elsa copied and framed and put on the hutch cabinet next to where I sit for most of the day. It is a formal yearbook photo of Pete taken when he was around 17 in his last year at Harrisburg Academy.

When I look at it, my maternal feelings make me want to put my arms around him and tell him everything will be all right. He just looks so vulnerable.

Pete’s adored mother, Lillian, died when he was 13 or 14, after a lingering illness, following a stillborn birth.

Imagine how close a mother and only child would be.

Heaping unimaginable heartbreak on top of the tragedy of losing his mother, his father remarried in just over a year; Pete’s step-mother was the woman with whom his father carried on a long-term relationship ~ including while his mother, Lillian, was alive. (Pete always believed that the cause of his beloved mother’s death was a broken heart ~ she just gave up.)

When Pete was given his choice of prep schools, including Haverford, he chose Harrisburg Academy. It was far enough away that no one would expect him to come home over weekends.

It is not surprising, given his background, that his view of an effective family was based on stability and caring support rather than big salaries and fancy fittings.

When he fell in love with me, his step-mother told me she was so glad that I was going to marry Pete because he was starving for love.

Well, he got it, alright! It war a pleasure.

Give a loved one an extra hug for me tonight – Pete’s Own True Love

 

reposted in sweet memory of its author, KATHARINE REYNOLDS LOCKHART, by her scribe/daughter, Elsa Lockhart Murphy aka Deev, in celebration of the 05/14/10 centenary of Pete’s Own True Love’s centenary

Our gifts, our bliss – writing prompts

Today’s writing prompts, spot-on for all ages, are from David Richo’s Coming Home to Who You Are, a Baby Bear-sized (“just right”) book with super short chapters.

When I think about this book, it feels like one read many years ago, before Mom slipped from us – it hits so many home truths & hard-won lessons that the two of us came to together.  But it was published in 2011, my first read was early 2013!

Coming Home to Who You Are is a book Mom would have kept by her bedside, been a good companion when she’d wake up at 3:00 a.m.ish, when reading something that spoke to her heart helped tumble her back to sleep.

As Mom worked her way along her quest for a stronger, more cohesive sense of her 90+ year old self, the following are the sort of  questions she’d pause to ponder.  In her earlier years, she would have journaled them; by 1999 she avoided hand-writing due to a severely arthritic right shoulder & probably would have mulled these over in her mind, maybe shared her thoughts with her online circle of friends, or with me, kept them to herself.

The questions are from the brief chapter, Our Gifts and our Bliss.  As David Richo introduces the chapter, “It’s important to appreciate our innate talents.  It is never too late to begin using our gifts, an it is always too early to give up on them.”

The following questions are set out to help us reflect on or discover the gifts that lead to deeper happiness satisfaction contentment – bliss – whatever our age, stage or state of being:

What are my gifts & talents?  How does my current life include & advance them?

What has consistently brought me happiness & a sense of fulfillment?  How can that be present today & across my tomorrows?

What in my life arises from my choice?  What arises due to obligations OR from other’s choices?

What do I admire or envy in the lives of others?

What would I like to see happen for those I love?

What am I being encouraged to do or be by those I trust?

What am I afraid of risking if I “step out of line” or “act outside the box” of what I think others expect from & for me?

What are the loves & longings I am afraid to tell anyone about?  Why?

If I am not already there, what will it take for me to believe that it is my turn to make the choices that reflect who I am & what makes me happy?

These are a lot of questions, but they are natural companions, each welcoming the next & each offering a greater appreciation of what my “ancient” (her term) mother actively sought over those final few years – a clearer, more cohesive sense of our self, whatever our age.

 

 

Dear Michael – Mindwalker1910

Mom wrote the following letter to my brother, Michael, on March 30, 1999 after a bit of a kerfuffle over her working to get a better understanding of her true self.  Born in 1910, she was raised to put everyone else’s interests first, to keep everything on a steady keel, whatever it took.  Although she & Dad had a natural partnership, with deep listening and give & take on both sides, that was not her norm with others, especially with her children.

Background ~  Mike had been upset by a joint communication Mom had sent to all of her children & our spouses, as well as still unhappy with something that had happened two years earlier.  And,  based on their previous experience of Mom, it was genuinely impossible for my sibs or Kerry to get their heads around a respectfully assertive mother seeking greater clarity about what herself tick.

 

Dear Michael:

Your letter was received.  Here are a few of my thoughts.
Don’t let the fall out of a few heated moments (referring to a ruckus that happened in early summer 1997) taint your life.  Set aside the unintended hurt and the disagreement, and focus on the intentional love.  I find comfort that no one intended to be hurtful.
I have a psychologist counselor,a financial counselor, and spiritual counselors.  John is an influence, Elsa is an influence, and Peter is an influence, along with “Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life” by Nathaniel Branden, Stephen Covey, John Bradshaw and other authors.  I enclose a list of Branden quotations.
The key issue in this quest for self is me, not Elsa, not Kerry.
It is important to ask”Why” rather than lash out if people say or do disturbing things.
 Asking “Why” acknowledges the possibility of  different point of view.  It does not mean agreeing with the response. 
A reply is not necessarily a response.  
Intentional silence is not a neutral response.
Stripped down to basics, life is about loving people for who they are, and not who we want them to be.
Love to all…  Love – Mom
ps – My shoulder is punishing me for (hand)writing this, but it is a necessity.
Reading that for the first time in many years, am struck by how much the last line reflects the very premise of the book I’m writing on the 5th Commandment – loving, honoring, others for who they are, and not who we want them to be.  Spot on!

Older people are happier – guest post (sort of)

Am learning that posting something that zings straight to my heart is a pretty good way to pick a guest post.  The presenter didn’t write it FOR the blog, but it SPEAKS to me as if she did.

Which is how Laura Carstensen’s TED Talk became today’s Guest Post, featured way more for my younger readers than those older than newly old (65) me.  Older people have an inkling we’re happier than when in our younger years;  we don’t need convincing.  Youngers all too often do.

Yesterday, John & I got some photos developed at our local Walgreen’s.  I was guffawing because a special edition of TIME magazine on exercise claims on the cover – “Younger.  Smarter. Stronger.”   Exercise does many things.  It might make you feel fitter than you were before hitting the gym or starting a fitness routine.  It can make you smarter & it can make you stronger.  It CANNOT make you younger.  You’d think Father TIME would have set them straight!

Curious, I asked the cashier – a woman who looked to be in her middish middle age – if she would go back to being twenty for a million dollars.  Not would she pay a cool mil to return to those glory days;  would she accept it, on condition she return to her college years.  She mulled it over & said, “No.  I’d spend the money & still be stuck back there.”  “THERE” did not sound like a place she had any interest in revisiting, let alone staying.

Before going to Laura Carstensen’s excellent TED Talk, must include a nod to my mother’s take on significantly aging upward, written when she was 90:   A friend urged me to write about old age and make all the younger folks envious of us Ancients. Growing old, even some of the sadder aspects of it, is part of the Lord’s grand scheme. Let go of time-bound prejudices and fears of growing older.  ~  ~  Marianne Williamson says that to get to the light, a person has to work through the darkness. In middle and early old age, life can seem dark and scary as we move out of the familiar into the unknown. Work through it toward the light. “

And with that, I give you Laura Carstensen’s talk, given to a local audience at TEDxWomen 2011…  https://www.ted.com/talks/laura_carstensen_older_people_are_happier

Straight to My Heart – night capper

This AARP psa goes straight to my heart – so many memories of helping Mom with her shower.  What you see is totally possible, the affection between two adults without a smidgen of infantilization.

Mom & I had the blessing of experiencing this, as I helped her shower, then briskly toweled her down.

By her last few years, an ancient injury to her left shoulder rotator cuff affected her movement in that arm;  she was unable to give her right side the thorough soaping in the shower that her other arm could easily deliver to her left side.

Mom & I wove a sphere of ritual around her shower time, in large thanks to an invigorating wash cloth, a luscious soap & her ahhhhhhh loofah.  We took special, honoring care washing & drying the scar from her partial mastectomy, always grateful that she’d never needed any treatments beyond the surgery.

As I washed every part of her body, the act served as a bonding rather than an invasion.  And how she loved the get-the-blood-flowing, revitalizing  rub down afterward with the big bath towel – we’d laugh as I’d briskly “buff” her back!

Mom’s attitude blessed both of us.  She accepted that there were things her body simply would not let her do anymore.  Instead of anger or feeling disempowered, she chose to experience it as a natural, albeit stinko, progression.

Mom’s shower time gave both of us the opportunity to honor her body, to give thanks for all it had done & been for her throughout a lifetime of jump rope & roller skating, high school dances, walking down the aisle with her O! Best Beloved, holding her five babies, tending their bumps & bruises, baking bread & rustling up batches of her mess ‘a fried tomatoes, holding Dad’s hand as he lay in coma, helping Mike & Kerry down in Australia, being present for so many of her Bryn Athyn friends & neighbors, helping me dress for my wedding, making dinner for the three of us here at Squirrel Haven on particularly crazed days at work, celebrating her grandchildren’s birthdays & graduations & weddings, answering e-mailed questions from local college psych students as she transitioned from this world to the next.

Showers were a time of blessing & bonding – I thank AARP for stirring special, long forgotten memories with this spot-on psa.

 

 

psa – public service announcement