Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Just One More Day

Getting down to the end with our film on suicide prevention. I can't describe the filming today. Better to let the film and the participants speak. Here is my introduction:

Just One More Day

Our only desire in making this film is to help one person. We don't know the name of this person and maybe we never will. If you're watching this film, and you choose life, then everyone involved has been richly repaid.
We do ask the audience to keep in mind that anyone of us could be sitting in those chairs trying to live with a severe disability and that anyone of us could be struggling to stay alive "for just one more day".
I ask myself: "What have I learned?" Why did these individuals survive?" The answer I have learned listening to the interviews is that they all had someone they could reach out to in their most dangerous moments. Those moments when they looked north, south, east, west, above their heads and below their feet and could find no path to safety. Someone provided a glimmer of light and they were able to see the first step out of hell. That someone doesn't need to be the world's wisest therapist--just someone who cares.
We have one request. Be that someone who cares.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A miracle a day...

...keeps the doctor away. As I lose almost a pound a day, I gain a miracle in exchange. Not a bad trade. I am at Green Acre this week doing my part to encourage fellow writers of books and other art forms for children. On the third floor of the 19th century inn is the preserved room where Abdu'l-Baha stayed in 1912. I have not been there in years because of weight and bad knees. Today's miracle is that I will go there after the morning class and prayer for a particular family. This poem appeared a few mornings ago left on my pillow by the Poetry Angel. I know I did not write it or wish to write it because I will attach a memory to it that will live as long as I live.

A Thousand Balloons

I am a leaf in the wind that has
fallen from the Tree of Life
no matter where the wind takes me,
it is still Your Sky.
I awake with the dawn currents
I go to sleep with the night breeze
and in between I listen for Your Wisdom
heard in the rustling of the trees
in the impatience of the waves yearning
for Your Shore
It is Your Breath that has filled a thousand balloons
And when You inhaled, they returned to You.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Of Dreams of Dignity

Lots of old friends this week at Green Acre. One friend of my youth is bound for Croatia in a few weeks. He wanted to play pool last night and I obliged. I also invited another friend that I usually play with albeit infrequently. We laughed better than we played. I had to call it quits after an hour and a half. On this new plan where I am losing almost a pound a day, I run out of steam quickly--especially at night. Another old friend is here who lives in Italy. It is her sister I want to tell a story about. I woke up in tears thinking about her. For me, love comes easy, but this lady I truly admired. We served on a Baha'i Summer School Com. in N.Y.. Her family background of Persian and English might explain the aura of dignity that surrounded her. Debbie had an unerring sense of what was respectful in all situations, but I don't want to imply she was stuffy. She put up with my calls during meetings when I would go crazy with being in a meeting and declare "free form dancing time" She smiled when I danced on my hand- made oak coffee table in our living room. Our summer school group would meet on our enclosed porch. Maybe it's my own lack of stamina after a long day that makes me understand the memory of her getting to her feet and wordlessly leaving the meeting. We knew it was brain tumor pain getting to be too much. Not a word of complaint--just a ladylike departure back to her two adorable children and husband to recover. She passed away a month after the school session that summer. I don't have too read musty history books to learn about heroes. They bounced on my knee as a child and clapped along with her sister as I played ping pong with their father. Now for the "Of dreams of Dignity" part. Some months after that summer, our beloved treasurer was looking for a Baha'i book. She found the book in a box she had brought home from the summer school. Now I should say none of us were really qualified to run a ten day all volunteer summer school. Our treasurer was irreplaceable though because, despite all the scholarships, we dispensed there was always lots of money left over. We attributed the excess to God the Humorous(Actually attribute of God in the Writings) rather than bookkeeping error. Anyway, inside of the misplaced book she finds a sizable check for the summer school that was donated by our late lamented Debbie during the last session. It was in memory of her Persian husband's uncle. The summer school had an "In Memoriam" fund. Our treasurer was horrified and immediately called the husband. He had been having dreams of his uncle and Debbie. They were greatly concerned about money for the Baha'i Fund. The husband thought the meaning was that they were urging more contributions to the Baha'i Fund. He had called his far flung family telling them that Debbie and Uncle so-in-so. wanted them to give much more. Two mysteries were solved. The husband had been unable to balance and close out Debbie's checkbook because there was still a ck unaccounted for six months after her passing and a large sum of money in the account. He wrote out a new check and explained to the relatives. Her sense of dignity for her and her family would not let her rest in peace. I woke up with the memory of Debbie and this story. I can never think about her without crying. Heroes should never bounce and laugh on my knee and leave this world too soon. I wrote in my journal earlier this morning. "Too beautiful for this world. No garden, a fitting setting. The aromas fail to envelope. So off she went to the Garden of God. Her flower blooms on the highest hill and we--poor bound souls to this dust can only swirl around her."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eliot Days

I know the world is nuts-terrible things happening to wonderful people. But in this little corner of Maine the asylum has passed us by. The townspeople have been planning for four years to create ten days of Bicentennial events. Our town is two hundred years old. There was a play at Green Acre that depicted a 1910 planning meeting for the first hundred years. The actors dressed in period clothing which for most of the actors meant opening their bedroom closet and making a selection. Each day has been filled with activities. There was a Ballroom dance with three hundred people dancing the night away. My dear friend Lorraine arranged for my books to be sold at a craft fair exclusive to residents of Eliot--nice pocket money. My favorite event was held at the ancient Grange Hall. A waterproof rubber mat was place over the floor, the lights dimmed, a hum of excitement traveled through the audience--the big show was finally here! "Octogenarians on Ice" A gallant troop twirled and whirled, jumped and spun. Their costumes were provided by the sponsor--"Maine Artificial Hips". The hips are made from super hard and flexible recycled lobster shells. Federal stimulus money provided the start- up money. Some of the hips have been recalled when the individual attempts to sit on the pot. The embedded memory in the shells sometimes recall their demise in a boiling pot of water at the Weathervane Restaurant makes them spring a foot in the air. Now, some elders with bad knees appreciate that boost to a standing position, but most experience worrisome heart palpitations and want a refund or a side order of onion rings. Anyway, a grand night out. I caught a wool garter belt from the star which I have been using as a sweat band during the recent hot spell. Well, goodnight all and watch for things that go bump in the night--it might be two eighty year old skaters colliding.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When a loss is a gain.

I have a long way to go and important not to get overly excited, but I did lose 28.4 lbs in one month on my FA program of eating three meals a day. The next weigh in is Sept 13. I was able to take Samaya in her stroller down the road to Green Acre and up the steep hill to have her eat breakfast with the staff. I was also able to put together beds for Samaya and Julia. It wasn't that much work, but no way I could have walked with Samaya or made beds last month. I'm not getting on a soapbox(it might break). I have hope and a future--two visions I did not have a month a go. And two visions, like all visions can only be attained through discipline. So my day begins with gratitude for God who never gives up on wayward souls and all the wonderful supportive people in my life.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Small Victorys

Since the beginning of my new work schedule I have been busier than ever trying to finish writing projects, preparing for Spirit of Children week at Green Acre, getting up at 6:30 a.m.(who knew there was a 6:30 a.m.?) to start my day calling my FA sponsor--trying to get rid of the "subtle insanity" of addiction. First weigh- in is next Friday. Meetings still provoke a smile. I am atleast three times the size of whoever comes to the meeting-all thin after losing a zillion pounds-now just maintaining for years. I am thinking of inviting the mother of "Gilbert Grape" enticing her with the offer of a free floor jack. I wonder if Casual Male(euphemism for terminally obese) sells floor jacks. Anyway, my small victory story. August is vacation time and work is short staffed. I worked a few hours filling in with a very nice young man who has down syndrom. I was told-very easy, sit in corner and read the paper. We arrived at Dunkin Donuts where we were both hustled into the back room and told to restock the large beverage cooler. D&D is chaos in the morning. I worked like hell weaving in an out and only trampled one college girl who was dreaming of a life beyond donuts--she will need a donutectomy--my bad. The thing is I could never have done this 26 days ago-I would have collapsed. I work in the field of small victories as some of my friends out there are familiar with who are in this line of work. Sometimes the victories cannot be seen with the naked eye without really looking for them. There was no round of applause accompanied by a gift of a silver donut from the manager. I do believe the small victory angels that hover above as we go through our day dance with joy, flap their wings dispersing the gray clouds that block the sun and advise when we sleep"Just a little bit more tomorrow".