The clock ticks away, marking time. Sunday becomes Monday. 2017 falls into history making room for 2018. This minute has sixty seconds, the same as the last minute did but it is new. This year will have the same twelve months as last year did but it is ripe with new beginnings.
It is 2:18. The clock in my kitchen has not moved for weeks now. It’s not the battery. I checked that. I should take it down and let it go. I should make room for a new clock. I haven’t yet. I always wanted a great big round clock to keep the time. My dad took this one off of his workshop wall and handed it to me a few years ago. It has kept me company with its rhythmic ticking ever since, until recently.
I wonder about lots of things. Like, time passing and the way birds puff up in the cold and why am I here? Certainly the answer to the last question is not – to be perfect. Or at least I hope that’s not the answer. If it is, I’m failing miserably.
Do you suppose that if you knew why, then you would get busy taking care of that. Getting down to the business of doing what you’re here to do. Or…do you think you would drag your feet at the seeming impossibility of the task. All by yourself you should see to it that an entire continent has clean water. So, yeah. Good luck with that!
You think you want to know why. But, if you were truly given that answer…crystal clear on a silver platter, what would you actually do with it. Maybe…you already have the why and you just don’t recognize it.
Here I am again in the kitchen, so early in the morning. It’s cold and still dark out but I cannot see the stars. A thick gray sky conceals them from me. The answers to my wonderings are just as hidden as the stars.
Warmth emanates from my small pottery cup decorated with a windmill. It is hot with coffee. Soon it will fill me one bittersweet sip at a time. Even with cream and sugar there is a hint of the strength of the brew underneath. It took many years for me to enjoy coffee. Now that I do, I like it strong and with chicory. I like it to bite a little. Water should taste like water and coffee should taste like coffee.
Bo is stretched out and dreaming at my feet. I move his favorite pillow so that he can be close to me. Otherwise, he stares at me while resting his head in my lap and extending a paw in concern – you should really get my pillow…or pet me…or feed me…or you should put that pen down and pay attention to me…seriously, it’s all about me. But, if I settle his pillow, he will rest. Contentedly he will curl up and fall asleep. Every once in a while he lets out a groan of sorts and I wonder…what he’s thinking.
Growing up, I attended a sacred heart girls school. Yes, there were nuns…but no punishing rulers. Yes, there were uniforms…I still can’t bring myself to wear plaid. But, for me it was a haven. Whatever might be going on beyond those gates, for a few hours every day, there was gentle peace. I knew it was ok to be just who I was and to explore the woman I might one day become.
There was a two story white house on the grounds called…wait for it…the White House! You didn’t see that coming, did you. It looked out over a grove of pines and beyond that was a busy Houston street.
So many years of French class! I can still recite the nursery rhyme – jack be nimble – in French. You never know when that will come in handy…just saying. Quite the party trick, a lot of demand for it. Shall I do it now? No? Ok, then. I’ll save it for later…
Mrs. Doyle started me keeping a journal. My script was So small she could barely make it out and would kindly ask me to write a little larger please. Nevertheless, she encouraged me to write…thank you Mrs. Doyle…
Mrs. Finch was known to the senior girls as Babs. I never left her class without a smile. Her command of history was incredible! One morning I looked down only to see she had worn two different shoes to school. One black and one navy. An honest mistake, especially when you learn that the electricity had been out at her house. A dark closet, it could happen to anyone. It wasn’t so much the different colors that gave us a chuckle though. It was the different heel heights… Babs spent that day good natured as always but with a colorful limping down the hallways, one shoe a solid two inches taller than its partner.
Beyond reading, writing and arithmetic there was an underlying and gentle nod to what others in the world might be going through. Bring a can of soup tomorrow. What we collect will find its way to those who need it. Your own lunch will be… a bowl of soup. You will assuredly make it to the end of the day without starvation. And, if you do feel momentary hunger…there are those who fall asleep that way…nightly.
I waited too long to take that last sip of coffee. It cooled off in my hand. I have no microwave so there won’t be any reheating. Sometimes I go ahead and finish what I’ve started. Sometimes I don’t. I pour it out and let it go. Both are fine. It’s only a few sips of coffee after all. They will not save the world. But, the young girl in me is always there. Waste not. There are so many who have so little.
I think of all those who haven’t coffee or a home or any of the multitude of things that I am blessed with. Things. Just things. I wonder…if they need more or if I need less. I suspect the answer to both is yes.
At the heart of it, I admit I would love to have fewer belongings. I would also like others to have less. Less true need that goes unfilled…
If only I could translate my odds and ends into food and clean water and safety for those who struggle on without them. Then perhaps there would be peace of heart for two people…instead of one who owns items which collect dust…and another who has a hungry child…
So, I come back to asking, what is my why. But now, I add a new word. Today. Not the why of forever. Not the why of the whole world. Only the why of this one day in front of me. May I know it when I see it and be ready for whatever it may be. Grant me gentle silence to hear the song, and live the story that plays before me.
Time doesn’t stand still for questions or answers. They are worth wondering over though. There are places and people who do make a difference, even when they don’t know that they do. A single bowl of soup may not feed the world. But, it may open someone’s heart to a lifetime of wondering.
Every year offers a new adventure. Every day holds a new surprise. Every moment carries the seed of a new thought. Time always dances forth in hope to embrace the new.
I don’t know what Bo is dreaming of when he groans. I can only guess. I don’t have the answer to why we’re all here. I can only guess at that too. My guess though, is that it’s the same for all of us…
Clouds have cleared! The sun has come out after a long week of gray skies. How lovely it is to see the future shining brightly before me with hope…
Happy New Years my Dear WordPress Friends!
Thank you for sharing this journey. You are a true delight to me. May each of you have less in the year ahead…so that all the empty places left open may be filled with great love…