Wannabe Martha

Still trying to figure out which Martha

The Sun Rises, Sure, But So Does The Moon

You know how you can’t look directly at the sun without incurring significant ocular damage, right?  Not so much with the moon.  Last night amid another tedious bout of insomnia, I did just that – went outside, parked myself in a lounge chair and just did a little moon gazing.  I let my thoughts roll over me and I noticed that the slight veiling camouflage of moonlight lets me actually see and appreciate the loveliness that is my home instead of all the little imperfections that I know are there.

I think I see better in that softer light – maybe because it’s also a filter of sorts, and there are fewer distractions.  Sure, you can see everything very clearly in the sun – but that’s the problem, right there – EVERYTHING.  I don’t need to see everything.  I don’t even need to see everything exactly the way it actually is all the time.  Sometimes the stark coldness of reality obscures a better truth – that there is beauty and love and grace all around us, just waiting to be noticed and appreciated.

So I’m putting my rose-colored glasses back on – at least during the day.  What’s the worst that can happen – I fail to notice some other flaw somewhere?  I’m sure some helpful person will be more than happy to point it out to me.  Meanwhile, I’ll get my head (and heart) right again.

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With Love to my Mother

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Isn’t she lovely? She smelled of Arpège and wore “Fire and Ice” lipstick. She baked the best apple pie and blueberry muffins and she cooked the worst hamburgers. She was fiercely devoted to her family and she loved my father with everything she had (her words, not mine). She was the wisest, most compassionate woman I’ve ever known and I feel privileged to be her daughter.
Happy Birthday Mother.

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Nice Ain’t Kind

The girls and I attended the Easter Vigil Mass this past Saturday night.  Of course it was beautiful and uplifting in every way.  We sang my absolute favorite hymn,”O Filii et Filiae” (well, it’s tied with “Salve Regina”, but they’re both so beautiful, I can’t elevate one over the other) and Iseult managed to not catch her hair on fire (don’t ask).

Anyhoo, I found my mind wandering a little bit (I know…I know..) during the baptisms, to thinking about “nice” and “kind”.

You know what?  I don’t really care about “nice” – it’s just a bland synonym for “pleasant”, which is a far better word anyway.  Thing is, “nice” and “kind” are often used interchangeably with regard to people.  And that’s a mistake.

To be “nice” all you have to do is use your manners (or learn some if you don’t have any) and basically adopt a fairly milquetoast (or at least non-confrontational)  attitude and Voila – nice is done.

Kindness, on the other hand, is a tough quality to cultivate.  It is fueled by compassion, empathy, generosity, and often, forgiveness, as well as humility.  It also requires mercy, which I think is one of the single most underrated virtues and one of the hardest to live out – and therein lies the rub, because mercy requires an understanding and acceptance  of one’s own failings.

I really have no interest in being a nice person.  “Nice” is easy but ultimately barren.  Kindness, that’s something worth striving for because it affects others in a positive manner.  It’s a quality worth developing and I’m going work on that.

Does this mean I’m about to turn in a dour old sourpuss, incapable of appreciating inappropriate T-shirts and delete the Eminem tunes from my MP3 player?

Uh, not!  But I’ve been wrapped up in a hard cold battle, full of resentment and pain and anger and hurt for a long time and it’s taken a terrible toll on me.  Sure, I’m still nice enough.  That’s nothing to be proud of.  I can do better.

 

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It’s Valentines Day and I’ll love it if I want to

I love Valentine’s Day.  Really, I do.  I love the goofy cheesiness.  I love the hoopla.  It’s fun and silly and it comes at the right time.   We’ve been dealing with nasty, dreary weather forever it seems.  Aren’t you ready for a little pick-me up already?  

But Maeve, it’s just a commercial trap to get us to buy things!

Yes, so what?  What’s wrong with something being commercial?  Do you like your local florist?  How about the local chocolate shop or lingerie shop or restaurants or bakery?  What’s wrong with frequenting their establishments and helping to keep a local economy running.  Lots of businesses like these, particularly the small businesses, owned by your neighbors, depend on “commercialized holidays” like Valentine’s Day to keep them open.  So frequent a local business; spread the love.

But Maeve, that may be all fine and good, but I don’t have anyone to share it with.

Oh really?  So it’s just a “for couples” sort of day?  You can’t use the day as an excuse to leave a note of appreciation to your postman?  How about the barista who makes your latte every day?  What about the janitor in your office or apartment building?  How about the newsstand guy?  There are lots of folks in our lives we interact with on a daily basis; I’ll bet you can think of a dozen more.  So what’s wrong with a card or a friendly “Happy Valentine’s Day” to any of the folks you encounter in your daily life?  Or maybe you have an elderly neighbor who doesn’t get many visitors.  Again, spread the love.

But Maeve, I hate the expectations my girlfriend/wife/whomever puts on me.  I never seem to get it right.  What if I mess up?

OK, you got me here – but it seems to me that this isn’t so much YOUR problem as the other person’s.  And quite frankly, if the “quality” or “quantity” of the Valentine’s expression is such a deal-breaker, then I’d suggest that what’s really needed is a Heart-to-Heart about what’s really important in life.  The thing about a gift is that one ought not to expect it, but rather be delighted when one is bestowed upon us.

But Maeve, I really have heartburn with this idea of calling out one day to “prove” your love.  What about all the other days of the year?  Don’t I show my love in all the things I do throughout the year?  Doesn’t that count?

Why take such a grim, dour attitude?  Aren’t there enough reasons to be all serious and sober and sensible, etc. all year long?  Can’t take one day to be lighthearted and sentimental?  Would it kill you?  Why take the attitude that embracing the silliness of Valentines’ day is akin to selling out?  It’s not selling out.  It’s just taking an opportunity for a little lightheartedness.  All too often we are consumed with the rigors of daily life – we have responsibilities to shoulder.  Maybe we’re naturally reticent or somewhat restrained in our displays of affection.  Use this ridiculous holiday to let down your guard and have a little fun.  The world will continue to rotate on its axis and the sun will rise tomorrow.  Nobody will think less of you (and if somebody does, well, screw ‘em!) – Maeve has spoken!

 

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite “holidays” because it is so ludicrous.  We buy elaborate boxes of chocolates and huge bunches of flowers.  We go out to fancy schamacy restaurants (we may even use this as an excuse to get all gussied up with a manicure, pedicure, hair style and outfit with shoes to show it all off).  The point is, Valentine’s Day does not have to be that Day When It’s Painfully Thrown Into Relief That I Don’t Have A Sweetheart.   I don’t have one either, but it’s not going to stop me from enjoying this holiday.  I’m leaving a card for my mailman (because I forgot at Christmas and I feel really badly about it) and I’m going to make a point of calling one of the elderly ladies at my church to wish her a happy day and check on her to make sure all is well.  If I get to move away from the desk, I may just run some flowers over to her (ordinarily I’d bake her something, but I happen to know that she loves getting flowers, and it’s not supposed to be about me).

So go ahead and enjoy Valentine’s Day.  If you have someone special, get him, or her, a little treat that YOU want to give.  If it’s just you, pick up the phone and call a dear friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.  Bake yourself a pan of brownies and bear in mind that calories consumed this day do not count.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Falling off the end of the earth

Not quite, but it feels that way.

This year was another “first” for me.  One of those bad “firsts”.

This was the first Christmas where I’m the only one of my immediate family (Father, Mother, brothers, me) still here.

People say that time heals wounds and makes hurts go away.  I don’t think so.  I just get scabbed over.  And then I get afraid that I won’t feel.  So I rip them off.  It hurts and the wounds bleed, but at least I feel.

This evening I’m going to think about all the reasons to reflect with joy on 2013 – and it might be a hard task, but rather than wish it good riddance, I think I’d rather it just rest in peace and for that, I need to make peace with it.

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I shall will it to be so!

If you crawl into bed, turn out the lights, pull the covers over you head and THEN eat the

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will your body also disregard the calories, fat, sugar, etc?

(In the interest of full disclosure, I actually ate the Snickers PEANUTBUTTER Pumpkins, but I couldn’t find any pictures of them even on the Snickers website – but Michael’s had them.)

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