Sunday, January 18, 2015

Gratitude and moving forward

Another semester at university starts officially Tuesday, but syllabi and assignments have already been made available for my online classes. This has given a positive jolt to my current perception of where I see my life work heading. I am truly looking forward to the stimulation of learning some new material, as well as making forward progress on my degree.

I have been fairly negative lately, since my twice broken right ankle has become painfully degenerated from arthritis. Ultimately, sooner rather than later I will need some orthopedic surgery to regain any sort of normal walking status, and hopefully prevent additional joint damage to my hips or knees from my compensatory hobbling. This is not a life option I anticipated or particularly look forward to, but I have realized how vital walking is to my mental outlook, as well as my physical health.

I am challenging myself daily to express gratitude for the capabilities and resources I am blessed to possess. No small miracles here! How is it so easy to forget the value of a pain-free walk with the dogs, a trip to the grocery or a quick jaunt to the mailbox?  Never again will I forget the simple joy of putting one foot ahead of the other and strolling down the path, through my home or across the yard. I promise.

Handyman Todd is back on the job and the "outhouse" bathroom, viewed in my Christmas post, now has walls. It will soon have electricity, porcelain fixtures and new grab bars; in anticipation of post-surgical disability in my future. So while I might have my low moments... forward progress is being made and hopefully, successful outcomes will result. So, tonight I will read my first chapter of text for this new semester. While a little fearful of all the new expectations and challenges laid before me, I am committed to taking those tentative steps towards a different future.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Je suis Charlie

Touching Paris
Although I had been dreaming of time off without direction or demands before the holidays; I have been wallowing in a glut of directionless hours between college semesters and worrying about my future. Truly, this is a symptom of wealth and ease that marks me as as a privileged person, especially in a world where food & water are scarce commodities for whole populations and the safety of a warm home are luxuries citizens of many countries do without. Not that any of these guilty realizations has made me feel any better, indeed not, simply said my pain garners my attention, because it's the pain I feel. Odd, how inwardly focused I have become! Not that my life concerns are any more or less petty, but like everyone else, the burdens we each bear become the burdens we are intensely interested in lightening.

Unfortunately, the future is never previewed, instead arriving piecemeal, accompanied by whatever shock or awe its newness engenders. We are all unsuspecting victims. French cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo are assassinated... for cartoons. Free speech throughout the world is suddenly in jeopardy or more accurately, free speech in the free world is threatened. This has our attention, for a moment. Let's not forget how unexpectedly privileges or life itself can be eliminated... especially when we move past this initial shock and re-heft our own burdens.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Tentative New Year

The new year has arrived. In my neighborhood, there was much less celebration, in fact the whole holiday season seemed more subdued. Christmas lights have come down or are left dark as dusk falls. I have seen little of my neighbors, even though the weather has been mild, and snowless; it seems like a blizzard of isolation has fallen and we are all waiting...

Gas prices have dropped. Missouri has the lowest cost per gallon in the U.S., yet my neighbors and I continue to stay home. I wonder if this new year will indeed be better than 2014? Perhaps, optimism is wearing thin and we are just waiting to see if there is evidence of a positive change in the economy, our lawmakers and perhaps, the world.