reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the curious. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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my niece (well, technically d’s niece) posted this on instagram.  she and her husband, a pastor, are missionaries and have done pure and amazing hard work in the world.  she encountered this sign on a mirror in cairo, egypt while they are out gathering information to make a decision on their next placement.  i can’t think of two people more curious about others and the lives that people live outside our country; they have done impactful work and are seeking the next location where they can make a difference.  this sign must have felt like a sign to her – a reinforcement of their choices, their passion, their dedication, their direction.

it would be my guess that the moment you cease being curious is the same moment that you cease learning.  curiosity takes guts.  so does learning.  and adjusting.  at any age, we like to think we know.  and yet we don’t.

when my sweet momma entered assisted living, she was, quite understandably, apprehensive.  a person who adored her own home, but yet loved to converse with others – all others – it was hard for her to adjust to a new place outside of her own place, a new rhythm, new people, new things to do.  but she had great courage.  and she participated.  confused on lingo, she called to tell me that she was going to “taize on chair” but what she really meant was she was going to “tai chi on chair”.  and she liked it!  i was speechless with respect for her ability to try and learn new things, even at 93.  she was curious.  she kept asking questions.  she kept learning.  she kept having new adventures, albeit small adventures.  it mattered not to her that these adventures were not staggeringly earth-shattering.  what mattered to her was that it changed her.  it made her grow and think.  it made her try something new.  it made her braver.  it made her even more curious.

like hannah, like my sweet momma, i hope to stay outside the box.   to try new things and walk to the edge.  to look to others for inspiration.  to ask questions and listen to the answers.  to trust being curious.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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beaky’s text. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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at 93 these words were texted by my sweet momma on her iphone, about a week before she died three years ago.  she was amazing.  and damn strong.  “whoa!” i think, re-reading this text, “you go, momma!”

“…more than i say…more than i speak…more than you realize…” like every mom she walked the thin line between not saying enough and saying too much.  The Girl and The Boy are practiced at rolling their eyes at me and, i guess, i must have done the same to my momma.  so there’s that moment you dig in and, ignoring every quivering fibre in your body, you do not say anything.  you notice, you think, you know.  but you remain quiet.  for you also know that the lives you have gifted into this world are not yours to live; they are only yours to love, to hold closest to your heart, to support in every way you can, to lift up when they stumble or fall.

“don’t. underestimate me.”  so true, momma didn’t want to be under-estimated.  her spirit in the world accomplished bigger things than most professions can tout.  her kindness was rippling, her curiosity abounding, and her fortitude…that sisu.  you don’t want to be the retail/corporate/organization recipient of the “write-a-lettuh” vindication; momma was going to win.  she “wasn’t born in ny for nothin” as i say.  the day after the extra surgery she had just one day after her double-mastectomy a few months before this text, she sat on the edge of her hospital bed and called us “idiots” for not getting back on the road home.  she was going to be “just fine” and she was more worried about us on the road than herself.  that’s a mom for you.  that’s my sweet momma.

beaky dug in.  she was engaged and big in the world. and her sisu made her powerful.  she was wise even in silence.  she knew, even if i didn’t tell her.  like moms everywhere, she was tuned in, in ways that made her ever-present.  i always counted on that.  i still do.  she is on the edges of this earth, where the wind carries her to me.

i can only hope that one day my own children realize that – no matter what – i am right there.  i know more than i say.  i think more than i speak.  i notice more than they realize.  and never, ever, underestimate me.   because as their momma, i will go to the ends of the earth for them.  just like my mom.

read DAVID’S thoughts on BEAKY’S TEXT

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take the back road and make your own roses

back road cropped copythe sun is shining brilliantly outside and somehow i find myself wandering through the corners of my memories that take me back to long island – my earlier days. i see myself driving my little blue vw bug all over and, even though i wonder now if i would remember where all those little back roads might end up, i am taking all the little back roads. i’m kind of a back road person. ok. not kind of. i AM a back road person.

growing up with my sweet momma and daddy i was the youngest, separated from my brother and sister by enough years that put them all grown up and out of the house when i was a teenager. and so i would be in the car alone, or with my bestest friend susan, on sunday drives with momma and daddy. momma was good at picking destinations. nothing fancy. an apple farm. or a park on the water, way out the island. upstate somewhere. just enough to make you feel like you got away. and never on the highway, if she could help it. always the back roads. for momma, that was the point. my dad was an ace at seeing groundhogs sitting on the side of the road or spotting special birds. my mom was an ace at navigating for him – my poppo didn’t pay much attention to the signs and such; momma did that for him.

i’m sure i learned about back roads from them. and i’m sure i learned about the point of back roads from them. each and every moment a treasure of what might be around the next bend. the curiosity of a back road. the mystery (without a gps) of not knowing if the back road you were on might become a dead end. the laughter accompanying a three-point turn at the end of that back road. the not-knowing. we never set the bar high on these jaunts. we just traveled together and sang songs. or chatted. or were quiet. or we looked out the window. and because the bar wasn’t set too high, we had extraordinary times – moments i still remember to this very day. feelings i still remember to this very day. and the lure and joy of a back road that i still hold close to me.

so often we set the bar high. too high. i’m all for visioning a wonderful life. but not at the expense of losing the moment we have right now. not at the expense of only having this very moment because we are planning the next. or because we think the next depends on this one. not at the expense of missing the back road.

valentine’s day was this past weekend. people have really high expectations of this made-up holiday. we decided ahead of time that we were to buy nothing. anything we did had to be made. by our own two hands. the back road.

and so i made a little book for him, created out of brown paper and jute. accompanied by a teeny painting. i couldn’t wait to give it to him. i ended up giving it to him the same day i completed it. back roads are like that.

he wrote me a poem and rolled it into a scroll, tied with raffia. and he gave me a piece of brown paper, with lines on it and many folds that had been folded.

later on valentine’s day, i found some origami paper in the house (easier to fold, he says – from his experience of trying to make a rose from brown paper) and we sat in front of the instructions on the computer. together. with music on in the background, we sang. we chatted. we were quiet. we looked out the window.  snow falling.

and, literally giggling at our clumsy hands, we made purple origami roses together.   we placed them, along with candles, as our centerpiece for the dinner we made together.

it was extraordinary.

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