Our mom had a penchant for collecting quotes, sayings, quips, cartoons and words of wisdom on paper, and she saved them in this box:
I have frequently referred to them throughout my blogs, and, for us, they never fail to inspire.
Dad has his own wisdom as well, and I have shared that with you in many posts.
If you are a regular reader, you are likely aware that Gail, too, has her own wisdom. So does Suzanne. I sometimes try to disguise my input as wisdom; I hope I have given you some small bits worth your read.
This post, however, focuses on Gail’s words of wisdom. She has much to share, and she has agreed to do just that today. Suzanne has agreed to share hers another time.
Gail and her daughter Lydia stopped by my house this afternoon on their way home west after spending the weekend east in Kansas City. Gail’s son Wyatt was there playing volleyball for his state university’s men’s club volleyball team.
He’s one of the best blockers on the block.
Because Gail had spent the weekend in a gymnasium with multiple volleyball games going on, she was in a competition state of mind. Her first offering was this:
“Winning or losing, play your best until the end of the game.”
And whatever “best” means, remember this: “Always give 100%, but not everyone’s 100% is the same. Don’t compare yours to someone else’s.”
I talked to her while driving home, and she offered this:
“Drive defensively, but be courteous. Two or three car lengths won’t make a difference to your destination. This, of course, works the same way in life. Be kind. And don’t rush all the time. It doesn’t help.”
After an enjoyable weekend with three of her four children—her oldest daughter joined them—reflections on fun were appropriate:
“Don’t be afraid to have fun. The more you have, the more you can share.”
Someone close to her recently quit smoking, a task they simply decided to do. Gail believes in the power of mind over matter.
“Make the choice to control bad habits that are controlling you.”
And for those who have had bad habits, or made regretful mistakes in the past (that would likely be most of us), she offers this:
“You can’t change the past, but you have the power to cultivate a present and future that doesn’t reflect your past.”
If only we could edit out the bad parts like I did with this blog just before I posted it, or crop out the unfavorable parts like I did with the pictures, life would be so much easier.
As we sometimes do, Gail and I spent a while discussing the books we are currently absorbed in.
“As Dr. Seuss says, ‘The more you read, the more you’ll know.’”
I am currently re-reading a fabulous memoir written by a Kansas farm girl much like us, but with struggles we never experienced. She has made a name for herself on the bestseller list, and rightfully so. She will be speaking just 45 minutes down the road from my small city next week, and I will be there.
“Always have something to look forward to,” is timeless wisdom from our mother. I am anticipating a great evening.
And speaking of our mother, it has always been a priority for us to live a life of peace and harmony in our family, not just to honor Mom’s message at their funeral, but because it is important to us. We have all lived long enough, however, to know that some families can be sticky creatures, and keeping peace within them may not be an easy task. To that end, Gail offers this:
“Families can be made or chosen. Either way, living in peace with them should always be a priority. It’s worth the work.”
Suzanne stopped by my home while Gail was here, and we had a great visit, as always.
The words of wisdom that resound most frequently with me from both Suzanne and Gail involve the weather. It’s a big no-brainer that complaining about the weather does absolutely no good, but Gail and Suzanne seem to have a better handle on this than I do. They love the wind; I loathe it. They accept the wind and the cold; I complain about it.
Notwithstanding the return of the winter-like temperatures predicted for mid-week next week, it appears that spring is indeed springing.
Yellow is one of my favorite colors, and it seems to be nature’s first harbinger of the warmer temperatures soon to come:
The forsythia blooms are always a brilliant yellow
Some people call them weeds…
Daffodils never disappoint
I feel my spirits lifting; the sun and the heat revitalize me, and make me love Kansas once again. It was a long and difficult winter for our area; the cold, gray, wind and ice relented just enough after each storm to herald yet another round. My soul began to feel drained and weary.
The late winter weeks dealt me several cruel blows, as I lost a handful of beloved patients that, in my fairy tale mind, really weren’t going to die. Ever. But they did. I am no stranger to death taking people from me, but these losses wrought me and hollowed out my already-weary soul. I couldn’t have done anything to help them in the end, much like hundreds of other patients I have lost.
Somehow, though, these few have stuck with me.
“Grief is for the living,” a wise friend told me years ago, and that, too, has stuck with me. I know in my heart of hearts that their suffering is over and they have no desire to come back here, so I must let them go in my heart, just as I did with Mom and Dad.
Gail has no fear, not even of death. She embraces it as a certain eventuality, having no control over its ultimate arrival. I like to say I don’t either, but I can’t put myself on par with her.
“Like the weather, death is a fact of life and it’s going to come. It does no good to get upset about either one,” Gail said.
If Heaven is indeed a place of happiness and joy beyond our wildest imaginations, then hopefully, I’m in. Paraphrased from the wise words of a country singer, “Everyone wants to go to Heaven, but no one wants to go right now.”
If Heaven is like a theater, I’m pretty sure my parents have front-row seats. I’ll take a seat in the nosebleed section, if that means I made it. Gail and Suzanne will likely have floor seats, probably somewhere in the middle. It will be a gigantic theater, but I’m sure it will be easy to find the people you want to see.
Like my patients. And, of course, Mom and Dad.
Happy Spring from The Sister Lode