Reminiscing About Places I’ve Been

My son-in-law (a funny story, he is older than I am lol) and father of my only grandchild (also funny because she is 3 years younger than my daughter) is Polish, with dual citizenship. Long before I knew him, I had visited Poland, specifically Bielsk Padlowski, for two weeks and Belarus for one week. And I was thinking about the land and buildings but mostly the amazingly wonderful people. We sang our songs (I played the piano and keyboard there) and they sang and played songs they knew and it was wonderful! We were invited to a Polish wedding that lasted all day and into the night and I sang again by request and we ate great food, drank compote and partied with them. It was memorable, saying something with this poor memory I have lol. In Russia, I remember the older women and their wise but loving eyes, hardened by wear but bright and gleaming nonetheless. They had a love of life. I remember the sturdy children, making the most of every stick and mud puddle they could get into, smiling, strong and healthy. I remember the year before spending two weeks in London. Howe couldn’t visit Buckingham Palace because Queen Elizabeth was home there at the time. I remember the beautiful gardens and pride the people took in their tiny gardens in front of their flats (apartments) or tall, narrow townhouses. I remember paying to use the toilet and the worst toilet paper of my life. Funny the things you remember. But the garden in front of the palace, oh how beautiful! And then my mind goes to California and recording my songs in Mike’s studio. I remember the fantastic park in Glendale and hiking the trails. I remember my regular getaway in Yosemite and hiking the falls and staying at the bed and breakfast there. I remember Solvang. Wow. The mountains were beautiful and Burbank was lovely and Sunset Boulevard was trashy but the tiny studio and musicians there are top notch! I remember going to the Grand Canyon three times and how it took my breath away and looked different each time. I remember my exhaustion hiking to the bottom of the canyon and back up the same day on two of those visits. I do not recommend that lol. I remember skydiving in PA. No roller coaster has ever held the same thrill since. And to my eternal shame, I will always have on the DVD my screaming “This is better than sex!” Oy! I remember every other place I have traveled for a day, a weekend, or have lived, and it is very clear that I am who I am largely because of where I have been. Another obvious thing, God has always kept me safe and provided for me just what I needed just when I needed it. And my thoughts most often take me home to the little farm in Buchanan, MI where I grew up. It was the best place! It still is. My family is there and a huge chunk of my heart. The farm is gone but I remember every detail. I remember Grandma living up the hill to the right and Great Aunt Irene living on the hill to the left. I remember our dogs. I remember riding my bike to the ball field. I remember the smell of the lilac bushes outside the kitchen window. I remember fresh vegetables from the garden an dad’s grilling and homemade ice cream. Yummy! I temember.

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Connections

I consulted with a patient the other day who told me that he could solve all the social wrongs of the world and fighting and disputes. Intrigued, I asked him his plan. He replied that he would teach everyone that we are all relatives. We all come from the same ancestors, the same two people. There are differences in shades, tones, eye color, skills, body type, personalities, so on but we are all related because of and built by the same stuff. DNA in our genes is our commonality, our source of connectedness. Further, we are divinely made, so our mutual Creator also binds us. And I had to agree with him. In an ideal world where this truth was indeed taken as true and factual, we would be looking out for each other because we are all related. However, until Heaven comes, this world is fear from ideal. I would love it to be ideal but there is this thing called evil. There is an enemy of our God who hates us because we were lovingly made by God. So, we have greed, lust for power, ignorance, unholy lust, selfishness, pride, terror, lawlessness, war. People do not want to let these things go. People want to do evil, ignorantly choosing to believe this world is all there is and not realizing there is an eternity to spend somewhere after human flesh has worn out. We have souls. We have souls that are connected. Some connections feel stronger than others because of commonalities, but all are equally validity truth be told. So, my dear patient was quite right in theory but until we embrace that theory as truth and breathe life into it, we will do fine to have a messed up world constantly in need of God’s grace and hope. And thank God we have both when we ask Him for it!

A Long Line of Choices

We in the human race descend from some great geniuses of the world and some reliably awkward wackos. We share the same deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA/ genes) as great and insane men and women of our past. It is impossible to differentiate which gene concoction we have built into our cellular stores. We could have the most problematic, sickly type or the most healthy, solution oriented type. We could have social or antisocial genes. We could have skinny or fat genes. We could have ugly or beautiful genes or anything in between. One thing remains. We have absolutely no control over what we have to start with. And along with that, each and every person has the amazing and universal choice to make as to how they will use what they have been given. We can be very lazy and noncommittal and blame bad genes on this attitude and refuse to do anyone but ourselves any good whatsoever. Or. And this is important. We can choose to be the very best and most useful us we can possibly be. Because there is always hope to help. We are made exactly the way we are for some reason. What a treasure to be able to try different things and find out what we are good at and love doing and help other people with it! How absolutely worthless when people choose to do nothing and live in despair without trying anything. What a waste of a life. I believe we are rewarded when we do good and be the best we can. I believe we are rewarded both now and in heaven. The way this world is going, heaven is closer than we think and we never know when something will happen and we find ourselves there. Better to be ready and have been productive with the gifts given us. Right?