Refreshing… March 1, 2012

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I watched the two aged souls–a man and his lady– creeping down the hallway with matching canes, like pieces from a common puzzle. I really believed they were just going to make their way to the door and leave without speaking to me at all. I would not have been offended. Honestly, I feel great empathy for those who have reached the closing years of their lives, and then find themselves sitting in a room, listening to a message of energy, personal responsibility and good cheer–knowing that if such a call to arms had been given to them forty years earlier, it would have been such a great blessing, but now resembles a hollow echo, or maybe even a taunt.
 
They reached the door, and the male member of the pair opened it and proceeded to exit. He tugged on his wife’s arm, but she resisted and pulled away, walking with her cane towards me.  I was curious what was about to unfold. Sometimes I receive a rebuke from those of multiple years, for being too loud or hard to understand because of their hearing aids, or maybe I just said something they found untoward. So as she neared my table, she opened her mouth and began to speak.
 
“Dear sir, this evening was refreshing.”
 
I know it may sound silly to you, but the sting of tears came to my eyes. Maybe it was the tenderness of her tone. Perhaps it was the gravitas of years of human travel that backed up her assertion. I don’t know. She then looked over her shoulder for her husband, who had disappeared out the door, and continued. “Sometimes he tries to pull me his way, but after sixty years of marriage, I know when to go mine.”
 
She smiled and I laughed. I sat very still, realizing that she was not yet finished.
 
“Sometimes,” she went on, “I watch television. I keep changing the channels, hoping to find something to make me feel good. When I was much younger, I used to watch a particular soap opera. I stopped for a few years, and then when I went back to try again, it had changed so much that it wasn’t any fun to watch. What you said tonight, sir, was refreshing, and we need to be refreshed.”
 
I thanked her. She turned on her heel and made her way out the door to her waiting companion. It was a small thing. Yet my life has improved, my dear friends, as I have rejected the notion that big things are coming my way, and instead have taken the tiny increments of life and blown them up in my mind to greater significance. I thought about her word.
 
“Refreshing.” It’s the word Peter chose when talking to a stubborn gathering of Jewish men after the death of Christ. He told them that if they would repent, their sins would be blotted out–and then they would enter the “times of refreshing.” What a marvelous thought. So if I repent, all of my foolishness, indiscretions and calamity will be eliminated and replaced with a sense of being washed fresh and clean, like your ears smarting a bit after a good scrubbing and wringing.
 
I don’t know how we can expect to go forward if we keep insisting on justifying all the memories of the past in our present. I don’t know who I was yesterday, but honestly, I bring none of it into this twenty-four-hour period. It is beyond my control. If there was error, I repent so it will be blotted out and I can be refreshed.
 
An old woman with a cane spoke clearly to me of being “refreshed.” So what is refreshed? I guess it’s allowing yourself the dignity of knowing that what you’ve done has been flawed–so that you will be granted the consecrated possibility … of starting anew.
 
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Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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