Plate in hand, Miss K headed to the kitchen for the last piece of dessert. I noticed a slight hesitation as she approached the counter and said, “You don’t have to have it now. If you’re too full, you can wait until you’re ready. I’ll make sure it’s saved for you.”
She looked at me and said, “Wow, you have a superpower! I was going to ask if you’d save it for me but you knew what I was thinking before I said it.” “Did you hear that?” I said to my husband. “I have a superpower!”
Miss H, (who had already eaten her dessert), challenged me with, “If you have really have a superpower, tell me what I’m thinking.”
“You’re wondering if I really know what you’re thinking,” I replied. Her mouth dropped open in shock that I read her mind! She agreed that I must have a superpower.
My husband and I were still laughing about this the next day. I definitely do not have the power to read minds.
I could, however, understand why they might have thought this to be true. In both cases I was able to discern what had not been expressed in words. This is not always the case.
I wonder if I can develop the ability to look at someone, sense what they need and act on it. In order to do this, I would have to take the focus from myself and my needs and turn it outward. In other words, I would love others as much as I love myself.
This empathy and compassion would enable others to recognize their value, and in turn, contribute to peace, love and fulfillment in the world around me. Love is the best superpower of all.
I resisted the trend for a long time. Finally, just over a year ago, I became the owner of a fitness tracking watch. It keeps track of the number of steps I take in a day and the total gives me a good indication of my activity level.
The problem is, I’ve begun to rely on this number even though I know it isn’t totally accurate. When my arm isn’t swinging enough, no steps are recorded. Washing my hands can easily add an extra twenty or more. It probably all balances out by the end of the day.
One morning I delayed my walk because the watch needed recharged. Even though it wasn’t true, I felt like my steps wouldn’t count unless they were recorded.
My husband and I joked about this and then discussed how it could relate to an underlying belief. If no one sees or acknowledges what I do, does it still count?
I don’t always have the opportunity to see the impact my actions have on others. This doesn’t negate what I do.
Some mornings I stand in awe at the beauty of the sunrise. Other days, I fail to look out the window at the right time. It happens whether I acknowledge it or not.
I don’t keep track of the breaths I take or the number of heartbeats I have in a day but each is a precious and life sustaining gift.
The fitness watch may have caused me to look at life from the wrong perspective. Instead of counting the steps I take, my focus should be on making my steps count.
We determined it had been almost five years since I’d seen her. I didn’t plan to stay away so long, life just got busy. Thoughts of contacting her became fewer and farther apart as the years went on. Making time for this visit finally became a priority and here I was.
My massage therapist welcomed me like an old friend. We chatted as I relaxed between warmed sheets. It already felt good to be back in her care.
Tight muscles were reluctant to yield to her touch. As she worked, I was frequently asked if the pressure was okay. Her goal was to go deep enough to release the knots but not so much as to hurt me. She was careful not to give me more than I could handle at that time. Just over an hour later, I left feeling relaxed and with a better range of motion.
Had she not constantly monitored the pressure used, it may have been a different story.
The next morning, God reminded me that he constantly monitors the level of pressure in my life. He gives me enough to strengthen me but not enough to break me. At times it may seem like more than I can handle. That is because it’s been too long since I’ve spent time with Him. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”
I was never meant to carry the load on my own. So much of the pressure in my life is self-imposed. Jesus is ready and willing to walk with me through whatever situation I face. That is the greatest pressure relief I could ask for.
When my mother passed away, I inherited her anniversary clock. It had been purchased when I was a baby and always sat on the mantle of my childhood home.
The clock sits beneath a glass dome. It has a pendulum with four brass balls which rotate slowly in one direction and then the other. An annual winding is all that’s required.
I was honoured that as mom’s time ran out, the timepiece she loved came to reside with me. My mom’s life exemplified the importance of sharing time with others. She was a lifelong volunteer and even at the age of eighty, frequently drove ‘old people’ to medical appointments or to get groceries.
The clock has been in my possession for over twenty years now and for most, if not all of that time, has been purely ornamental. In our recent move, the delicate clock suffered damage to the pendulum clip. Since it needed repair, I decided this was a good time to have it restored to running order.
The clock was returned to me a few weeks before my birthday. Both of us are old enough to be considered vintage. That means we’re not yet antique, but are becoming more valuable with the passing of time!
The combination of the anniversary clock and anniversary of my birth have me reminiscing. Moments of time replay in my mind. The joys, heartaches and lessons of my past have contributed to who I am today. How I currently spend my time will influence my life tomorrow. My goal is to invest it wisely.
Only I can give the gift of my time. When I share it with you, I am giving you a portion of my life. By taking the time to read this, you have done the same for me. Thank you, my friends, for spending your valuable time with me today. You have given me the best gift possible.
I walked past many puddles crusted over with ice before I gave in to my desire to step on one and break the ice. This was something I enjoyed doing as a child and it still gives me pleasure now. There is something satisfying about the sound of the ice cracking and seeing the web of lines form on the surface.
Later I witnessed two young girls stepping on the same sort of puddles. The older sister looked at the younger and said, “You can’t break it because you have to be strong – like I am. Let me help you.” The girls held hands and jumped together, cheering when they broke through the ice.
The path I walk goes alongside a meandering creek. In the stillness I hear the faint sound of fractures in the ice. Along the bank I see areas where water flows beneath an overhanging ledge of ice.
I am reminded the water has been there all along. It couldn’t be seen under the covering of ice but was still there, waiting for the right season to show itself again.
This is reminiscent of the hope hidden under the cares of life. When I dwell alone in the shadows there is no chance for the warmth to seep in and melt away the coldness holding me prisoner.
Sometimes we can’t break through on our own. We are stronger together. Let’s reach out and take the hand of another. Together we can break through the ice caused by isolation.
An art instructor gave advice on the painting I was working on. Personally, I thought it was beyond redemption and was tempted to give up. I could blame it on my lack of ability, the materials, or the environment but that wouldn’t change the ugly picture in front of me.
Since it couldn’t get much worse, I decided to implement the tips I’d been given and carry on. The painting evolved and a tentative hope was born. When the final brushstrokes were made, I stepped back and looked at a work I didn’t think was possible. I was proud of what I’d accomplished.
Something the instructor told me echoed in my mind. “Every painting goes through an ugly stage. Keep going and don’t give up because you’re not finished yet.”
We are in an ugly stage of life right now. The global pandemic has us in a holding pattern and I, for one, am getting impatient to move on. It feels like we’ve been stuck here forever.
Even in this, I have options. One is to give up hope the situation will improve. When despair takes hold my thoughts turn to what might have been, rather than my current reality. I focus on what I’m missing and not what I have. During these times I’m tempted to blame everything around me for my negative attitude.
The truth is, this picture is not finished yet. My better choice is to keep a positive outlook. Today’s decisions will impact my future so I need to be intentional with the brush strokes I make on this canvas of life. The picture is still evolving and I have hope for the outcome.
The ugly stage won’t last forever. When it’s finished, I want to be able to look back with pride at the picture that’s been created.
Most mornings find me walking down a side street until I reach the entrance of a local park. The paved path gives me the option of traversing the perimeter of the park or taking one of the many branches that veer off at different spots along the way.
In winter conditions, I tend to stick to the same route. Even so, I encounter different challenges in various places. Within minutes one day I went from a clear dry path to a section where I had to pick my way carefully around icy patches, before a coming to some small snow drifts to wade through.
Not only does this keep the walk interesting, I know these kinds of changing conditions also apply to my walk of life. A brisk pace can quickly change to one where I have to watch my step. If I’m careful, I can get through it unscathed.
A few days ago, I had another challenge on my walk. A skimming of snow appeared to give me solid footing. I quickened my pace and was caught unaware by the ice beneath. My foot slipped and my arms instinctively rose to a ninety-degree angle with my body. I felt like a tightrope walker, attempting to maintain my balance. Somehow, I managed to stay upright.
My focus now was entirely on the next safe step to take. Although this sounds like a good thing, it did cause another issue. With my eyes downcast, I wasn’t fully aware of my surroundings. Before I realized it, I emerged at the side of a busy street. The diversion I normally took to my quiet route home had been passed by unawares.
Lately, these winter walks have shown me not only to watch my step but also to look up and appreciate what’s around me so I don’t miss something important.
The previous day’s heavy snowfall had left a large accumulation on our second story deck. We discussed the best way to remove it. If we tossed it by shovelfuls over the deck it would be blown onto the patio of our downstairs neighbour. Definitely not the best idea.
The only option for disposal seemed to be in our bathtub. My husband scooped up a bin full of snow and I carried it inside and dumped it in the tub before returning the bin to him.
We were surprised how many trips this took and how quickly the bathtub was filled. I took a couple of pictures and sent them to family. The caption said, “This is how I have to build a snowman when we don’t have a yard!”
The more I thought about, the better this idea sounded. I told my husband what I was thinking and he encouraged me to do it.
A large chunk of snow at one end of the tub would be perfect for the head. There wasn’t room to roll the snow into balls so I’d have to sculpt it. Maybe I could build it reclining. An idea for this project was forming in my mind. After much thought, I went to the fridge to choose the perfect carrot for Frosty’s nose.
When I returned to the bathroom, I could see that my project was not going to happen. The snow had melted into one solid mass and was no longer moldable. By morning, all that remained were a few leaves and some dirt to remind me what could have been.
I had the opportunity to do something unique and instead of going for it, thought about it until my window of opportunity passed. All my plans and good intentions mean nothing if I don’t act on them.
All is not lost, though. When I have the opportunity to take a chance and do something different, I will think bathtub full of snow and not waste the opportunity.
First, I took all of the pieces out of the box and turned them right side up so I could see what I was working with. Then I separated the edge pieces and built the border or the framework to define the perimeter of the picture.
This was when my analogy of a jigsaw puzzle to life began. I need to examine what I’m working with and know what my boundaries are.
Within this framework are multiple pieces. Some come together quickly. Others require much trial and error before they find their own place. It is quite common to be working on several different areas before discovering how one or two pieces are able to join them together.
I attempt to put similar colours and patterns together. The dark or shadowy ones aren’t as appealing but serve to make the brighter ones even more vibrant. The picture is starting to take shape.
I hold a piece in my hand and think I know where it belongs. It isn’t quite right but I attempt to make it fit. This is where I want it to go, why isn’t it working? If I force it, the space will not be held for the piece meant to go there and the picture will not live up to the potential shown on the box. This is more difficult that I imagined and I wonder if the puzzle is ever going to come together.
I move to a different position to view my work in progress. Another perspective helps me figure out where some of the extra pieces fit. I stand back to take an overall view and am happy with the progress made so far.
My life, like the jigsaw puzzle, still has some pieces to be put into place. The time and effort I put into it now will one day result in a beautiful picture of who I was and how I lived my life.
Climatic conditions needed to be perfect produce the spectacular view I was looking at. Tree branches coated with hoarfrost are a sight that thrills me.
The majority of my life was lived on Canada’s west coast and I’d never experienced this particular beauty until we moved to Alberta fifteen years ago.
I’d seen my share of frost, but nothing as photogenic as the feathery type that forms on blades of grass, tree branches and leaves. Hoarfrost is so much more than a simple coating of ice crystals.
Several times during the day, I sat and gazed at the beauty. Instead of venturing into the frigid air for a closer look, I enjoyed the view from my warm living room. By mid-afternoon the temperature hadn’t risen but a wind had come up, loosening the frost. Bit by bit, the ice and its weight was removed and blown away.
This scene reminded me of problems and cares in life. Like many others, I put on a brave face and tell you everything is fine. Even if I don’t feel that way, it’s important to ensure everything looks good on the surface. I sometimes forget that ice, no matter how pretty, still feels cold.
When I acknowledge my need to be authentic and relational the frosty mask starts to fall away. By sharing my concerns with others, I am able to surrender the many items I have no control over. The icy bits that were weiging me down get blown away by the warm breeze of companionship. Together we find peace.