What’s left

“Sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”

Violinist Itzhak Perlman upon finishing a concert after breaking a string.


Different strokes

As I have shared recently, my mother suffered a massive stroke in October and is working hard now to rehabilitate herself.

I’m one of her cheerleaders and have focused most of my time and attention on her recovery. But once in a while I surface long enough to recognize that this experience is changing me.

Here are a few ways:

  • Our journey through life does not get easier as we age. But, thank God, we have more tools to deal with the difficulties. My mother perseveres in her therapy sessions. Did she have this grit at 21? Certainly the embryo was there but the woman of courage has emerged. Our bodies fade but our integrity and willpower grow. Or they should.
  • In crisis, I need to prioritize. What’s important for my family? What’s important to the plan God has shown me? Burn away the fluff and get to the steel.
  • Many things that once demanded my time now has little strength over me. I’m learning to recognize value and appreciate intimacy over urgency.
  • Teamwork tempers independence. Can I move forward alone? No, and the joy of allowing others to walk beside me invigorates my day. I am not alone in this journey. Not only does God go with me, he sends a team to lift my feet.

I am bruised watching my mother battle this stroke but I am inspired by her power. She presses on when the temptation to quit whispers to her. I am learning to respect her endurance and consider how it is being cultivated me.


No campaigns here

In the last few months, my family has learned techniques akin to military maneuvers in trying to survive the election campaigning.

 Here are some of our responses:

  • If we answer our phone, the other party had better talk within two seconds or we’ll disconnect. I hung up on my brother twice one afternoon because he was composing a cute reply instead of just saying hello.
  • After we discovered that our answering machine shut down at 20 messages (all of them campaign calls), we wiped the slate clean. When it was bogged down again only two days later, we let it ride. Now callers are simply informed there’s no room for them. It works for us.
  • Someone in the family (and I will not identify this person except to say it is not me) takes all the automated digital surveys using different demographics each time. Remember that when you rely on poll numbers.
  • We go through our mail standing by the trash can. You could re-side your house with all the glossy political postcards we’ve tossed.
  • We voted early, hoping the calls and mailing would stop. That didn’t work out for us but we’re coming together as a family singing “lalalalala” during TV political ads.
  • We choose to inform ourselves, reading speeches and position papers, listening to issues important to us and ignoring crazy rhetoric. There are, for example, some issues that breathless ads try to stir emotions about that have nothing to do with the candidate’s responsibilities.

We’ll survive but hope someone notices that an awful lot of campaign dollars were wasted on us.