Five Minute Friday: Leave

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Leave

Go.

“I wish you didn’t have to go, but if you’ve got to go, I wish you were already there.”

My Grandma Catherine used to say that to us when it was time for us to leave.

If such a thing as a Star Fleet transporter actually existed, she would have found a way to acquire one so we could instantly get from our house to hers and back again.

Visiting family and friends can be fun, but it can be hard to leave.

There is such a thing as an “Appalachian Goodbye.” It goes something like this:

You follow the person(s) out to their car, talk to them through the car window as they back out and start to pull away, and keep waving until they have disappeared down the road and around the corner. Only then do you go back inside.

It would be so much easier if we could put them on the transporter pad, just slide the controls, and then check the confirmation that they were – already – home. Safe and sound.

After all, if they have to go, we wish they were already there.

Stop. 

The photo depicts a girl giving her grandmother a hug before she leaves after a visit.

 

Autumn

 

Cooper's Rock State Forest overlook. Large stones in the foreground. A vista of hills and autumn trees in the distance.

Every autumn I think the same thing.

Thank you, God, for letting me be alive to experience one more autumn!

I’m not planning on dying anytime soon, but you just never know.

I try not to take it for granted that I will see another autumn.

There is something about this season that feeds my soul.Instagram photo of a red leaf with grass blades in the foreground.

The chill that sneaks into the morning air.

Familiar routines of the school year.

My birthday.

The different slant to morning and afternoon sun.

The crunch of leaves underfoot on a hike through the woods.

Fallen leaves - Cooper's Rock State Forest

The annual fashion show of multicolored trees.

I drink it in.The sun peers down through the trees at Cooper's Rock State Forest in West Virginia. October 2014

Driving or walking along this time of year and letting my eyes sop up the beautiful scenery is something akin to meditation for me.

God made the world.

And he called it “good.”

I like the other seasons, too, and am thankful to live in a part of the world that experiences the four seasons.

But. Autumn. Is. My. Favorite.An Instagram screen shot of a close up no filter picture of a red autumn leaf

Another year has passed, and I have made my prayer of thanksgiving for the opportunity to see and experience another autumn.

I’ve told our son that – when and if I get really old and feeble – I want him to promise to wheel me outside every autumn to see the leaves.

Even if, someday, I don’t know who I am or where I am or what day it is, I believe that somewhere deep down inside, the autumn leaves will still reach my soul…will still speak to me…will still remind me that God made the world.

And he called it “good.”

Bright golden-orange leaves are highlighted by the sun, with West Virginia Wesleyan College's Wesley Chapel in the background.

Five Minute Friday: Care

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Care

Go.

Care!

“Care” is an imperative command.

Care, already!

When you care it makes a difference.

You become engaged.

You ask questions.

You inform others.

You make choices based on what you know.

It can seem so easy not to care.

Who cares?

I’m not threatened by Ebola.

Nobody has shot up a school in my community.

I don’t live in tornado alley.

I am not in a war zone.

I haven’t had to skip any meals.

I have a place to live.

I have an education.

I have a family who loves me.

I get to waste some money now and then on non-essential things.

I have the freedom to worship where and how I please.

I know many don’t have the same experience.

People are dying of Ebola.

Students are being shot and killed in schools.

Homes and lives are destroyed by natural disasters.

People are trapped in areas of constant warfare.

They are dying of hunger.

Homelessness exists.

Children and adults are denied basic education.

Some people are abused and neglected by their own families.

There are those who count out pennies to buy a gallon of milk.

People are murdered for voicing a religious belief.

In the face of all of the problems in the world, what difference can I make?

Why should I care?

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40 NIV)

Stop.

A band-aid and the word "care"

 

Leaf

Image

Fall leaf haiku- The sideways sunlight... Highlights the forgotten leaf... Casting fall’s shadow.

The sideways sunlight

Highlights the forgotten leaf

Casting fall’s shadow.

History

I know it’s not a respectful comparison.

But it’s honestly what came to my mind.

When I heard a Colorado school board planned to alter how they teach history in order to focus on patriotism and downplay civil disobedience, the image that sprang to my mind was Dolores Umbridge.

If you are unfamiliar with Harry Potter books/movies, Umbridge was a narrow-minded, sadistic busybody who took over Harry’s school and imposed severe restrictions on the students, teachers, the curriculum and life in general.

All in the name of upholding decency and standards.

Her version of decency and standards.

Spoiler alert: She is defeated. Spectacularly.

It’s ironic that her name, though spelled differently, brings to mind “umbrage” – defined as a feeling of being offended by what someone has said or done.

She was offended by just about anything anyone said or did.

And she used her position of power and authority to shut them down.

It’s been heartening to see the Colorado students and their families and teachers get involved and voice their concerns about the proposed curriculum policy. Their protest is probably just about the best history lesson they could have learned this year.

They’re learning about history as they participate in making it.

They will learn that all history (no matter how presented) should be studied with a critical eye as to who wrote it, that person or group’s particular perspective and what other versions of the same “history” there might be floating around out there.

They will learn that it’s OK to express, examine and debate multiple viewpoints and perspectives.

They’ll even learn that their own opinions and perspectives on history will likely change over time.

If done with respect, this is not a dangerous activity for the individual or for society.

During my college days I spent my junior year abroad – in Heidelberg, West Germany. That March a group of us traveled across the border to visit East Germany for more than a week.

We saw museums and historic sites – all interpreted through the perspective of communism.

This brought me face to face with the “author of history” syndrome.

These museums and sites were explaining and describing the same eras of history we had learned from our own western perspective.

But the explanations and descriptions were different.

A group of very young East German children is led by a grownup past a large imposing stone building. A banner across the building says in German "Unshakable Brotherhood with the Soviet Union." Photo taken in 1983.

A group of very young East German children is led by a grownup past a large imposing stone building. The banner across the building heralds the “Unshakable Brotherhood with the Soviet Union.” I took this photo in March 1983 – just six and a half years before the “brotherhood” was shaken…and the Berlin Wall fell.

The starkest example: Two museums of German History. One in East Berlin. One in West Berlin. Two museums explaining and teaching the same history.

Yet not the same.

We viewed and read and listened.

And then we filtered that through our own observations, our own experiences, and our own perspectives.

We learned history.

We learned that how we see things and how others see things don’t always match.

We learned that’s how the world is.

We learned that’s how the world has always been.

We learned that’s probably how the world will always be.

We realized we had just experienced the freedom to travel to a place where people had different perspectives on history – a freedom that the people in that place did not have.

So, we learned to keep our eyes, ears and minds open and think for ourselves.

And we learned to be thankful for the freedom to do so.

I’m not sure why any school board anywhere would take “umbrage” at that.

Five Minute Friday: New

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: New

Go.

There’s no doubt about it.

I am a morning person.

I love everything about mornings.

I love the quiet.

I love the first hint that the sun is rising.

I love the patterns in the sky as the sun appears and the world begins to wake up.

I love the brightness that pours into the rooms at the front of our house.

The morning sun illuminates the bright burnt orange drapes.

The morning sun makes our living room drapes explode with color.

I even love that 41 minutes on the treadmill every morning…my time…my way to greet the new day with a promise kept, an act of self-care and a chance to catch the top news.

Mornings = New.

A blank page for the next installment of my life adventure.

What will I write on it today?

Stop.

The morning sun creates a cheerful dappled effect on a bookshelf in our living room.

The morning sun creates a cheerful dappled effect in our living room.