It’s not very often that you will hear a wife say “my husband is right”, at least not this wife, but it’s not what you think! Yesterday Richard and I had some business outside the apartment requiring some running around. After we completed our “chores”, we decided did a little exploring to search out some walking paths or hiking trails. We found a lovely place but just as we arrived the storm clouds rolled in and the thunder started booming. I was able to shoot off a few frames (this is not it) before we left but we both know we will return when the weather is calmer. On the way home Richard decided to show me some of the Jewish neighborhood. When we reached a synagogue, Richard would pull into the parking lot and make a big loop around the building. Boring! At the third parking lot of the third synagogue, as we were pulling in, I voiced my displeasure: “I do NOT want to see another parking lot!” He, in his endearing way, stated that this was the only way to see the building. Boring. Then, as we drove toward the back of the building I saw them. I suddenly whispered to Richard to drive slowly and quietly to the rear of the lot. As he inched along, I pulled my camera out of its bag and lowered the passenger side window. We literally pulled up beside three deer munching grass on the synagogue lawn. They were not spooked by us, suggesting that they were accustomed to humans hanging around. I was able to get about a dozen shots before they ambled away. As we were leaving the parking lot, Richard mentioned that he would not take me to any more parking lots since I found them so boring. 😉 We had a good laugh and I, once again, was grateful for the man I married. I, too, am grateful for times such as these when Richard’s hunch leads us to serendipitous moments. 🙂
We finally made the move. For the last five or six weeks, “the move” has been the focus of my thoughts as I prepared for it. Packing boxes after having just unpacked them in our last place proved to be more daunting and chaotic than I had imagined. My psyche was battered, yet all the battering and chaos had more to do with my perceptions than with anything anyone “did” to me. Nonetheless, I struggled with this move, even though we were moving to a place both of us hoped to retire to “someday.” Well, “someday” came a little earlier than expected, and we were/are happy about the decision. Richard has been here since the end of July; his job started August 1. Now, finally after all the fuss and muss, the movers (best movers ever!) loaded us up on Monday, we were all on the road on Tuesday, and our stuff was delivered to us on Wednesday. Today, Thursday, I pause to reflect on gratitude. I got busy during this transition (which is really not over yet) and the attitude of gratitude slipped a little. But today as I sit here with my first cup of coffee amidst the cavern of boxes and strewn furniture, I look out my window and think all things do work for good. We go through times of upheaval and confusion, but good persists whether we recognize it or not. (I’m not forgetting about those folks who have truly bad things happen to them: wars, disasters, famine, etc. But good persists even then. Too many people who have endured the holocausts of life attest to that fact.) So now we embark on the next leg of our journey together, Richard and I, and do so with gratitude for our new apartment in a wonderful place~the town where we got married, where our lives began together. I am truly grateful for all that has brought us to this place and time.
Today was the last day of Colloquia, a required residential learning experience for my graduate program. It was held in Arlington, VA, home of Arlington National Cemetery. I love sight-seeing in the metro~Washington, DC, area, but I’ve never been to Arlington. For those of you who follow my other blog, Inspired Vision, you probably know that we are moving next week to Ohio. Since the national cometery was on my route home from my last meeting today, I decided to stop and spend some time there. I don’t know when I’ll get the chance again. I don’t understand war, or why we have to have wars, or why we glorify combat. But I do know that there is evil in this world, and that it is perpetuated on all sides. I think of despots throughout history who seek to destroy other cultures, religions, people. I think about fanatics who feel that anyone who does not agree with their world-view should die. I could go on and on. And then I think about those who commit to a cause higher than themselves, those who sacrifice their lives in an effort to prevent domination by the evil that would destroy indiscriminately. Does that mean that we are “righteous” and do no evil ourselves? No. But I do believe that on the whole, most of our men and women fight for our country with pure motives and the belief that evil can be stopped. I walked among the graves today and looked at the dates of the many battles of the many wars that have been fought by our country throughout the years, and I am grateful for those who answered the call to protect. Our system is flawed, and wars are senseless for sure. But there are too many people and places who have no qualms about wreaking havoc and destruction on those whom they perceive to be weaker, or different. I wonder where this country would be if not for the people of our armed services who are committed to duty and honor for this country and the freedoms we too often take for granted. Yes, I am grateful and humbled for those who have sacrificed their lives through the years for this country and for liberty.
I am grateful for my hands. Earlier this week I read about a writer who lost her hands in a tragic automobile accident. She had written the last words she would ever write in her life just fifteen minutes prior to that accident. This writer was able to continue her career but only through the use of a voice-to-text device. Years ago there was another woman who was kidnapped and taken out to the desert where she was raped, and then the rapist chopped off her hands before fleeing, leaving her in the desert to die. She did not die, but survived and went on to become an artist using prosthetic devices to create her art. Another woman was in a diving accident while swimming in a lake and was paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of her life. She, too, became an artist. She holds the brush or pen between her teeth to creates beautiful paintings and drawings. After reading and remembering these stories I got to thinking about our hands and the many things our hands are used for. As children we grab hold of our parents’ hands for stability, safety, warmth. We used our small hands to throw balls and draw with crayons. Our childish—and not so childish—hands molded play doh into all sorts of whimsical forms. As we grew, our hands were used for writing, for holding on to the handlebars of a bike. As a mother, my hands have cradled my babes, stroked their hair, felt their temperature, and changed their diapers. As my children grew, my hands patted their backs both to console when they were heartbroken, and to congratulate for some accomplishment. My hands have held my lover, my husband, my friend and confidant. Hands can cup water to quench a thirst, wash a dish upon which a meal will be served, wave to a friend or signal for help, clinch a fist in anger when injustice strikes. Hands communicate at times when words will not do. A hand gesture, a finger to the lip, can quiet a classroom of excited students. Hands glide over the keys of a piano and we hear wonderful music, or loud noise, whatever the case may be. Hands are tools that no manmade instrument can match when it comes to versatility of use. We can live without our hands. It has been done. But when I think of hands, I marvel at the wonderful gift they are. I am grateful for hands.