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Articles in "Spiritual Smart Aleck "

My husband died two years ago today, as I write. That sad ending was a new beginning, although I certainly did not think of it that way at the time.

The dog really likes the new bed. The new bed has a full-sized mattress. This mattress came to me as gift because I was griping about my wonky back and my old mattress that was causing the wonkiness.

About twenty-four years ago I was enrolled in an Episcopal course given by the Diocese of Olympia called Formation for Ministry. It was meant to equip lay people to live out their call.

As I write it is the week before Thanksgiving, and I am thinking about things for which I am thankful, and how hard it is to feel thankful when the brokenness of the world seems to be anything but a gift. I turn my attention from woes to gratitude.

The gigantic head of a Star Wars storm trooper was approaching me in the oncoming lane. I knew that couldn’t be right. Turned out it was a white Kia Soul. For a few seconds, though, I was definitely in a galaxy far away.

It’s a good thing to work on improving yourself, in my opinion. If you are of the, “I want to be a better person” persuasion – and I like to believe most of us do think and feel that way – life will knock you around in ways from which you learn how to be and do better.

From Smith River, a few miles south of the Oregon border, I headed through the redwoods on Highway 101. I traveled a little way on the Avenue of Giants, a dark, curving two-lane road under the trees which was still the main highway when my family traveled there back in the 1950s.

The trip was interesting. I didn’t want to leave home, but had to in order to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event, my fifty year high school reunion. I made arrangements, and I went, in a mixed mood with lots of doubts. Driving down the Willamette Valley I was thinking, I hate driving. I don’t want to do this.

As I am sure I mentioned before, when Rick died I figured I would be out of my mind for at least two years. Having that idea intellectually is quite different from the actual experience. I didn’t know that my interior life would be burned to the ground when he died, or how long it would take to recover from the stunning reality of his passing.

Went out into the yard to put in the cone flower I bought on an impulse yesterday. Cone flowers are perennials, and I am in favor of plants that have the sense to come back on their own. So I found a spot, added soil from a new bag of potting soil, and put the cone flower in. It looked great, but only time will tell if it does great where I planted it.

When your spouse shuffles off this mortal coil you have to take care of a lot of business. As time goes on and the angst recedes a little, the less pressing issues begin to arise, one of which is, should I keep wearing my wedding ring?

We’re coasting into late summer. I figure that after the Strawberry Festival, there are a few weeks left of wearing shorts and tank tops and going to the beach, but you might as well acknowledge that fall is coming.

Folks, it pains me to rerun an old column, but your smart aleck has been ill this week, and my brain has put up a “closed” sign. While out watering my nasturtiums and hollyhocks today I felt a bug on my arm, and it was an earwig. It reminded me of this column. So, from 2013, I bring you:

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.