Sunday, September 11, 2016

The wisdom to forgive ...

Yes, alas, we all think we will do it better. 
We are able to see with steely clarity all our parents mistakes and we vow that we will not repeat them. 

Then time passes, as it always does... and the difficulties of living hammers home the lesson that life is not black and white. Sometimes we do our best and it is still not enough. Humility sets in and if we are not careful, self-loathing. Hating ourselves for judging our parents ever so harshly because suddenly our eyes are open to all our own blunders. This is a hard place to be. 

But, let us forgive ourselves. Our parents too went down this same road. They too vowed to 'do it better'. They too realized that it is harder than it looks. They too bowed their heads in shame after they realized that the only person we are fooling is ourselves when we judge others.

It is a wise parent who realizes this and gives the grace needed for the child to find this lesson out on their own. Is it painful? Yes, sadly it is; but it is worth it to see them mature, embrace the good and continue to strive for the better... 

After all, truth be told, we want them to do it better! We ache for them to find the happiness and joy that sometimes eluded us. 

So children forgive your parents, they did the best they could with the life they had. 

And parents cheer your children on and applaud them for improving upon the start we gave them. 

For all too soon, our children will face that sobering moment when they realize that perfection is not attainable.

And at that moment, we have the choice to criticize the foolishness of their youthful ideals or exhibit the grace that comes from having learned the same hard lesson in a now distant time and place with our own bewildered parents. 

So, in this moment of mutual surrender and forgiveness, welcome them to adulthood. 

For, it is here, at the crossroads of childhood and adulthood where we all learned to embrace the good, let go of the bad and inch further toward true unconditional love, grace and humility. 

What more could we want for our children and their families?

d hiott

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Something beautiful...When Death Comes

Last Christmas season I attended the most beautiful celebration of life, in other words, a funeral. Now before you begin to wonder about my sanity, let me explain...

I had not expected that day to attend any thing other than a funeral for a friend whose dear one had passed away. We entered the small hushed chapel and instantaneously I felt the presence of God, an omnipresent Spirit of peace lingering, hovering in the somber air. But it was not a sad peace at all it was a serene, restful tranquility. As the service progressed the pastor read a beautiful poem written by Mary Oliver called When Death Comes. It reads not like a poem to death but like an anthem to life. I include it here for safe keeping. What a fitting tribute to a well lived life.

When Death Comes

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea, 
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

And I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

And each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

And each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over I want to say: all my life 
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made my life something particular, and real....

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

By Mary Oliver
New and Selected Poems, Volume One

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Mother May I?

Remember the game Mother May I?
I do.
It was fun and sometimes infuriating.

Take 2 giant steps forward,
Mother May I?
Yes, you may...
Giant step, giant step.

Take 1 Butterfly twirl forward,
Mother May I?
Yes, you may.
One lovely Butterfly twirl...

Take three frog leaps forward,
Mother May I?
Yes, you may.
One frog leap, 2 frog leaps, 3 frog leaps.

Then it would happen,
You would be oh, so close,
Take 3 baby steps forward,
One baby step, 2 baby steps, 3 baby steps...

Then the chorus would ring out,
You didn't say Mother May I!
And so it was, amid the protests and laughter,
 that you would find yourself right back where you started.

Sometimes life can seem just like that.
Things are calm and suddenly, 
it seems you are right back where you started.
You are wiser, yes, 
more cautious, yes, 
but anxious to make up for lost time.

If only it was as simple as Mother May I?

Mother may I...
Finish school,
Yes, you may...
Work, write, apply, amid many late night sighs.

Mother may I...
 Raise thoughtful, God-fearing children,
Yes, you may...
Pray, fast, spend, and worry without end.

While the game was indeed much simpler,
those steps backward 
and the perseverance it took to make it forward again,
were instructional for sure.

Rarely is life without ups and downs.
Infrequently are our days effortless.
However much we might dream of it being so,
it just isn't.
And it wasn't intended to be,
otherwise why would we long for Heaven?

d. b. hiott

Monday, June 27, 2016

"There is a crack in everything; That's how the light gets in..." From Anthem by Leonard Cohen

These are lovely quotes that beautifully speak to the strength that pain can bring into our lives. One thing is for sure, life is hard. When it shakes your world, steel yourself and look within, the Holy Spirit resides there.

In the Storm

When life hurts,
Pick up a pen.
Pour the inside out,
Don't let the outside in.

Still yourself, breathe,
Cease the flurry within.
Whisper a prayer,
Let the healing begin.

Bridle your thoughts,
For anger can fetter.
Sift through the anguish,
Hoping, waiting for better.

Rest in somber silence,
Shrouded in a melody.
Raptured by quiet beauty,
A heavenly symphony.

Lift your face to the clouds,
Glory in the warmth of the sun.
Meditate, the stars on high,
Trinity, Father, Holy Spirit, Son.

Shielded by the One who knows,
The One who bore sorrow, sin and strife,
Held, by His mighty hand,
Infused now with peace and eternal life.

by d b hiott

“The world breaks every one and afterward many are stronger at the broken places.” —Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Prodigal Child, I must let you go...

Prodigal child, I must let you go,
where to I will not know.
Shot like an arrow from a bow,
 I must just let you go.

Hope wanted you safe and warm, 
Far from choices, which might harm.
But your future is in God's control, 
So Hope must let you go.

Love had wished to keep you here,
Instead of wandering, far and near,
Sheltered from a world of woe,
But, Love must let you go.

 Faith believes and watched you leave,
Trusting angels a life to weave,
Although hearts may break in two,
Prodigal child, this Faith must do.

May Hope, Love and Faith sustain,
For these three will remain
All are praying, for your way to turn,
Until then, no bridges will burn.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
1 Corinthians 13:13

Being a Mommy is hard...

d. b. hiott

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Freaks and Geeks...

Isn't it funny how a song, a fragrance, a moment can take you back to another time. Such was this evening as I watched a season of the short-lived series Freaks and Geeks with my daughter. This movie fest came on the heels of a very trying semester teaching in a different university. This new job tore me away from numerous obligations, family and friends. I immersed myself in this new setting, focusing on fulfilling commitments and survival. The end of the semester arrived with me physically sick, tired and confused. Thankfully, Baby Girl had decorated the house for Christmas, so we all celebrated and collapsed. The season was pretty much a blur.

Besides being physically sick, I was burned out. So the other night as we snuggled close under the Christmas lights catching up with each other, we watched Freaks and Geeks. This oddly touching series only lasted one season but launched the careers of several actors. Produced the year Baby girl was born, 1999, it took place in 1980. Having finished high school in the late 70's, I identified with the characters and the world they lived in. As we finished the last episode in the wee hours of the morning, my daughter asked, "so mom were you a freak or a geek?" As we laughed at the thought, I readily admitted to being more of a geek. Although I identified with the main character's diverse assortment of friends, I was too afraid to walk on the wild side.

I was an insecure child and teen but then, is any adolescent not? Pensive and timid in spirit, I was also somewhat neurotic. I envied those who effortlessly excelled at all their studies, while having a social life. They made it look easy, so I assumed it was for everyone but me. I was successful in my classes but worked terribly hard to do it. Although many of my friends longed for parties, dates and all kinds of dubious adventures. I worried that somehow, somewhere, I might lose control of my tightly wound psychic and somehow screw up and in the process disappoint my family.

Watching this series reminded me of the insecurities of high school. The bullies, the name calling, the cool kids, the parties, the alcohol, the cigarettes, drugs and sex. I was not part of the 'in' crowd but being on the outside of this group was a much more comfortable 'safe' place for this scared soul who very much just wanted to 'be good'.

What I know now that I could not have known then is that most everyone in high school is scared and somewhat neurotic. And the funny part is when you're an adolescent that's pretty normal. The secure teens who seemed to have it all together, they too had their difficulties. We all did. Growing up was just so labor intensive and we were so self absorbed that we hardly had time to recognize that everyone else had their own struggles.

Living life, trying, failing, succeeding, teaches us a great deal. Accepting that life is messy, chaotic and complex is part of maturing. Reconciling oneself to life's unpredictability and embracing the good in imperfection takes years. Why, I still struggle with it.

So Freaks and Geeks provided a brief glimpse backward in time. A glance over my shoulder to see how far this fragile ego has come, with the disappointing realization that I still have far yet to go.