Another day, another story!
That's what I wrote about in my newsletter that just went out a few days ago. That if you feel like you've gotten off to a sluggish start for the New Year instead of kicking open the doors of your life with guns blazing on photon torpedo speed ready to kick some procrastinating, unorganized, unhealthy choices out the door but instead you are still in bed reading this on your little blue thing-y with a blanket over your head - hey, man - no worries. I swear. January is the getting ready, fix-in to, month. Who can come out blazing every year in this kinda cold? Not me. I'm just trying to survive and clicking my heels together like madness saying, Magnolia, Magnolia, send Spring right over.
But I have hopes that February will settle me in with a hope of March and then green things will be sprouting and I want to be ready for the sprout, like short sleeves so maybe I'll consider picking up these barbells by the desk and curling a few. A do-over, start over, begin again month. That's what it is so let me help you take the pressure of your goals to perfection. We ain't gonna get there. Better? yes, we can all be better at SOMETHING. Be it patience with our children, parents, spouses, and cohorts. But sometimes, patience with ourselves is truly in order. And, I only say that because I need it.
Recently, I started tracking my time the way some people track their coins. Writing down exactly what I'm doing at a given time or how long it took me to finish that newsletter and get it out. (Hours and hours - not the minutes or one hour I thought it would be.) It gives me a better sense of how many words I can get down and how long it takes me to edit interviews for Clearstory Radio or produce the show. And how much time a person say, maybe could spend, say looking for cool little things that writers would like on Etsy - (It's amazing what's out there!) But then I start wondering how many languages I could speak if I didn't watch three episodes of Burn Notice back to back with Husband but hey - we missed Season 7 so we're trying to catch up.
Do - overs.
Some people say they wouldn't change a thing. God bless those birds. I'm not one of them. I would have flossed more. Worried less. Studied physics earlier because there is something about time travel, string theory, particles and atoms and . . . this electric current we call life that is mind-blowing interesting to me. But then so is astronomy (yes, I'd take a trip i a space ship - but hey - only if I volunteered!) and movie making, and writing and . . .
And I'm right back to writing. And thinking that no matter what choices I would have made deferently, it would have led to me writing. And that some of the best time I can possibly spend is rocking my youngest grandbaby (when I can catch him because he is a new story in the making) or riding in the car with my Mother through the cold country-side and listening to her tell stories. And watching one of my husband's favorite stories with him. Or having a Margarita with my sister and sharing stories. Of our children, of our past, of our future. Of laughing with Cousin Deb and our 'remember when's'. And all my do-overs turn to nought. Because even though I might have tidied the rough edges of my life, it might have cost me a fortune in the good graces, the experiences (even from the hard knocks) and an untold number of stories made and shared and still being written.
It's the do-over month. But what I think I really want to do on the cusp of this cold, January morning, is ride into the New Year with a hope for New possibilities and complettions. Think I'll pull up my boots, and tell a few stories.
(Please join me with a great host of wonderful writers at Books Alive in Panama City, Florida February 1 on the FSU campus. I'll be speaking at 9
I once wore a short skirt to a prayer meeting. And, I'll get into that in a minute.
For some reason this memory popped into my mind today. Maybe because I was reading Psalm 18 and for some reason something in it struck me as familiar. But then something in the Psalms usually do. The whole - I'm a mess, all is hopeless, help me, help me, help me - God is good - thing. But when I had this memory + thought of blogging it = it came up too personal. I always think like everything is too personal. Introverts by nature usually do. And then I end up telling strangers everything. Or 'near 'bout as we might say in the South.
So - back to the prayer meeting.
It was the first year I was married to Owen and we were going to a sort of Gospel prayer dinner thing for men and their wives with a speaker. The speakers were usually incredible and I enjoyed that part immensely. The speakers would be followed by a short prayer service. Herein lies the story.
On this particular occasion I wore an outfit that in retrospect might not have been the very best for the occasion but then again - it sure wasn't the worst! I had on hose after all and modest heels. I also had on this skirt that was a little short. It was pink pinstripe and I think I wore it with a black turtleneck and it had a matching little jacket. Think Doris Day'ish. But a little shorter. Ok, maybe a little extra shorter. It was however one of husband's favorite outfits on me and our going 'out' if you will was not frequent. The Gospel dinner was an date'ish kind of out. He wore a suit so I wore my suit. He was happy. I was introverted. But happy to be with him happy.
We enjoyed the evening but I noticed a few 'looks' as I was coming back from the restroom to the table. Those kind of oh my, my withering looks. That's probably the first time I thought - hmmm, genius, this might not be the best little suit to wear to the gospel dinner. Husband was all smiles. I suddenly wanted a pair of overalls.
After the dinner, after the speaker, we arrived at that great prayer moment where people would (yes, if you are not from the south and have never been to a gospel type of meeting skip this part) would lay hands on you and pray. I remember distinctly one of those people saying, "God, please let her receive."
And I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was because of my skirt. Now, you should know I'm not that tall. My twelve year old niece has more leg than I do. So I couldn't be showing a lot of leg I didn't have. And all that going on back there was in no way hanging out. Still . . . that was their prayer. The people praying were judging me in their offered prayer. As if they needed to intercede on my behalf with God. Oh what testy, troubled waters that is.
They meant well. They really did. But, don't we always. Or, at least frequently. They had no idea what my relationship with God was, the fact that we were on a real, personal basis. Or that during that season in my life I fasted a lot for the state of the whole world. (Which may have been why that skirt looked so good when I think of it.)
How often we look at someone and think they're rich, they don't need prayer. They're poor and they choose to be that way. They're homeless because they are weak. They are guilty, they are illegal, they are - other. Other than me, than us, than our tribe.
I hope that the lesson I learn from that is that when my eyes tend to look at someone and begin to ask God to please let them see the wrong of their ways, that I'll focus more closely on the wrong of mine. That I'll be able to stop praying with my mind, but pray from my heart instead. That I won't be moved to pray for the perfect because they don't exist.
Because trust me, If judgement ruled the day, I would have been stoned a long time ago. And, that I can live with. What bothers me is how many rocks I would have thrown at the innocent.
And that, my friends, is the bona fide truth today.
Thanks so much for reading, liking and sharing with friends.