1043. Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same… ~Pearl S. Buck

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed, but
 the mother, never.
A mother is something absolutely new.

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If in the passage through the final doors of life gallop dark storms of senile dementia, we who are its witnesses and victims must view the damage as a sickness in and of the flesh and not a failing of the heart nor its love. For it is not what is in the mind or flesh of those who have to endure uncontrollable, internal storms which ultimately rage, worsen, and extinguish their lives that matters; the important thing is the inextricable cords of love that once connected us to them. Mother and child bonds are as strong as our connection to the Maker of all life, and so maybe that’s why on this rainy, winter’s day, my mom has visited my thoughts again. Or it could be the recent passage of her birthday or the gloom of the day that triggered memories of the disquieting breach of peace that caring for her became during the last 7 months of her life. When I invited my mom to come live in our home, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But what I didn’t realize was that our merged footsteps would upon occasion painfully lead us, partially because of her worsening dementia, to moments which were not our finest hours. Nor did I envision the treachery of steep climbs when we had to cross over slippery, rocky ground into new and challenging territories. However, even though there were terrible moments when we would go up and down as well as in and out of hellish, emotional roller coasters, we coped better at times than we had in the past and with more tolerance of our individual differences. My mother loved her children, but in her newness to motherhood I don’t think she ever really did know how to accept or handle me, her strong-willed, out-spoken, and highly sensitive first born child. Nevertheless, by the Grace of God, we made it through those trying days, and there were even a few of them along the way when we traversed some unexpected, joyful paths. So it is in the quiet grayness of this day that I give thanks for her and for God’s mercy. Mary Catherine and I had long been and would probably always have been enigmas unto one another, but despite our dissimilar traits an abiding love was strong in the sharing of our intertwined lives. Thus I try now to focus not on our differences, inabilities, and disagreements but continue to seek and remember the inherent goodness in the child of God that was my mother. And I pray almost every day for acceptance and forgiveness of her limitations which remain an unsurrendered source of occasionally festering, life-long scars. Forgiveness is, at least in my way of thinking, the miracle of all miracles, and I’ve long believed in miracles.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. ~Isaiah 58:8  ✝

507. Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. ~Victor Hugo

E = mc2, WW II, Shakespeare,
Parliament, ABC, Home Ec,
Digital, Olympics, Dewey Decimal,

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If one desperately needed to laugh, he/she would probably not look first in the “groves of Academe” for that which brings the gift of uproarious laughter, but that’s where I found it yesterday. And the folks around the table at lunch, including me, whose areas of expertise are expressed above the photo, had all long been high school educators. During our time together in those “groves” we formed bonds like hydrogen does with oxygen to make a life-giving source.

We were young then and raising our families, but now decades later we’re retired. The bond we formed while we taught, however, is strong still, as it usually is, with people who share in each other’s tragedies and failures as well as rejoice in each other’s triumphs and joys. Inside and outside classroom walls, we were part of the village it takes to raise a child, ours and those of others, and overtime the village was forged into a fortress that has withstood the test of time.

After my friends and I retired, we decided to meet for lunch once a month. But because I’ve been experiencing more pain than usual this last year, I have not been joining them for a while. Though not life-threatening the arthritis in both of my feet has kept me from being able to stand very long for years.  Now the Restless Leg Syndrome I’ve been experiencing has worsened rendering some nights virtually sleepless, and the problem with my left knee that developed in January has not been resolved which keeps me hobbling around with a cane. Together these issues have lately had me spiraling down into a dark and humorless pit; so I decided last week I needed to and therefore should attend our little gathering this month, and I’m so glad I did. Though we eat in the restaurant where we meet, my friend Liz always makes dessert, and yesterday she brought her “world’s best” cheesecake. So it was that as all headed home our bellies and souls had been richly fed, and we had shared in long, joyous, and spiritually healing laughter.  Winter had been driven from my face, and now I can enjoy autumn even more than ever.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:2a   ✝

Thank you, Lord, for these and all your “tender mercies.”

481. Explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible. ~Eugène Ionesco

Even the poppy knows to bow its head
in praise before rising to the wonderment of day!


Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity,
while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.
~Mary Oliver

“Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know?” ~Job 11:7-8    ✝