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Articles in "Spiritual Smart Aleck "

Everyone understands the importance of cleaning out the refrigerator on a regular basis. Granted, sometimes the motivation is a certain something in the air that turns out to be leftovers from three weeks ago.

One of the feelings which is part and parcel of grief but seldom is mentioned is relief.
The relative silence on the subject is perhaps due to the guilt a person might feel admitting that he or she feels relief that someone has died.

All right, class, we have discussed the non-linear properties of grief. Non-linear means that the stages of grief which Elizabeth Kubler-Ross described for us do not happen in order. You don’t work your way through them like lessons from a textbook. More like they work their way through you, at unexpected times.

Jury duty was, as I expected, heck.
The slickest part was taking the bus. You get a bus ticket with your jury summons, so the fare is covered. I parked at my church parking lot, which the county uses as a park and ride, and went out to the side of the highway to wait.

I have been summoned for jury duty again. The summons says I have to report to the courthouse at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Eight a.m.! Are people still doing that? Wow. I do get up at six-thirty a couple of days a week because that’s how my life is, but I don’t like it.

Grief is a lifetime sentence. I have heard many times that you don’t get over losing someone. The death of someone you love is at first unthinkable, and gradually becomes a part of you with which you make as much peace as you can, depending on who you lost and in what circumstances.

Some friends were complaining about chlorine in their water the other day. I sympathize. No one likes that taste or smell.

Someone dear to me has discovered atheism as the explanation that makes the most sense out of the world and human behavior. I love and respect my atheist and I love that he is thinking deeply. What he has to say about what he is learning challenges me and makes me think about my own faith walk. It has made for an interesting Lent.

There used to be a custom in British and American culture of literally wearing your grief. For a woman who had lost a spouse the rule was to wear full mourning, i.e., all black, perhaps including a black veil, for at least one year.

A squirrel made it up onto the bird feeder this morning. I was eating breakfast and looked out the window, and doggone if there wasn’t one of those adorable little rodents chomping on the suet cake as fast as it could.

For some of us, Granny’s Attic is a cornerstone of island life. A week without Granny’s is a sere and arid week. Even if you don’t have time or reason or money enough to go, it’s comforting to know that Granny’s is there, waiting for you.

We watched the Seahawks game against the Packers. Before it started I said to my son that I hoped it was a good game. At the end of the fourth quarter with the score tied, my son turned to me and asked, “Is this tense enough for you?”

The anniversary of Rick’s passing on December 29th was hard, but not as hard as I feared. What was hard was the virus that mowed me down on Christmas Eve. Ough.

As my younger son and I were setting off for the family Thanksgiving dinner to which we had been invited, I received a text from a friend wishing me a good day. “I know it’s hard,” she said, and she does know – she lost her spouse about a year before Rick died.

Well, my SAD friends, it is that time of the year, when the sun goes down early and comes up late, and there are fewer minutes of daylight every day. For people who have SAD, it is the least favorite time of the year.

Took the dog for a run at a park on the island. She loves being off-leash, and if there are no other dogs present, I let her go to frisk and frolic, and do what we euphemistically call her “business.”

My high school’s class of 1965 is planning a 50-year reunion. Every day or two I receive an email that says there are new pictures on the web page, new classmates signed up, or there is new information about the reunion, which is a year away.

I knew a couple, both in their seventies, who lost a son to suicide. When the mother replied to my sympathy card, she said that she was sad that her son would not come to know the joys of later life.

Her name was Juanita. She grew up in a Salvation Army orphanage in El Paso, Texas. It was not a kind and gentle place. She and the other children were beaten sometimes.

On Sunday the 29th of June I stopped for a bowl of clam chowder at the Ivar’s Seafood Bar in Burien. It was a pleasant sunny afternoon, and the dozens of multi-colored petunias planted around the restaurant lit it up in a cheerful summery way.

A few weeks ago Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company posted a video of Big Brother at the Monterey Pop Festival in June, 1967, on Facebook.

Got an email in my junk box in which the subject line announced I had won a UK lottery. It was awfully good news. This living on Social Security is not a piece of cake. I can barely afford cake. The subject line made me smile once, a little, before I deleted the email unread.
 

Cousin Nancy died on my birthday. You might think that feels bad, but it feels bittersweet. She is at peace now. No more pain, no more drugs, no more cancer. She’s with the angels, no doubt telling them how they can do their jobs better. She could always tell you a better way to do something.

People often tell me they cannot sing, or they are terrible singers. They offer lots of excuses. My favorite excuse for a less than lovely voice is, “I ruined my voice singing on the street for the Salvation Army.”