There are subtle changes in my words these days. Subtle changes with how far I allow my heart and mind to race with panic or criticalness. It seems not of my own making nor something I am taking pride in. It is more puzzling. Why has it taken me so long to “get here?” As I look at the colors in our trees that are sporting a yellower yellow it seems clear that one of the great tasks of life is registering the nuances rather than waiting for profound seasonal change.
I will give you a glimpse into my week that illustrates this nuance in my interaction with my husband. We were off for a weekend away and he could not find his new shorts. Instead of saying what I have previously said in the past when he can’t find something, “How could you lose shorts?” I said, “You must have left them someplace, just wear these.” This was a new way to respond.
Seriously, why did it take me so long to chose not to care about his losing of clothing and other items? We should have just budgeted for this years ago! Thirty-six years ago might have meant skipping a few meals to catch up with a loss! But that is not the case now. Did he then or now need my accusation or shame.
The Monday after our weekend away was a day filled with many moving parts. Also, a bit of panic (yeah, I am not totally changing here, just shades of change) for possibly hiring the wrong carpenters to replace water logged French doors. It is a tedious story of inept house care, but when neither of us is good at basic carpentry it can feel overwhelming and confusing. I looked forward all day to the break to do yoga after Dan got home from work.
Dan had many meetings, classes in Seattle, ferry mishaps, and had to rush to and from a chiropractor appointment before meeting me for a hot yoga evening class at the other end of the island. We arrived at the parking lot at the same time. He took off his motorcycle gear and looked really silly in his yoga shorts with his boots and black socks! I could barely stifle my laughter and thankfully he laughed heartily at his appearance before my snickering became an offence. I handed him his mat and water bottle and we rushed into the lobby only to notice that no one was at the desk and that there were lots of shoes outside the studio. We could hear a different instructor behind the clouded glass doors.
What! It is 7:15 and our class is at 7:30. This doesn’t make sense. I used the “cheater” glasses on the desk. Oh, dear. This is Monday, not Tuesday! I read the schedule wrong! We looked at each other and walked to his motorcycle and I said, “Yikes, sorry, wrong day!” He unlocked his three saddlebags of his BMW and put his gear and helmet back on. We smiled at each other and I said, “I’ll see you at home.”
So, let’s just say, this would not have happened last week, let alone, thirty-six years ago. Probably the most amazing reality is, I did not start accusing myself for being an idiot. I most always have a kind husband, but I am not always kind to myself.
The question, “why is there now a hint of refinement?” Why is there now a “graduation” to a new way of being? I think there are many reasons, but the largest one is aging. Things like this are happening more and more. Screw-ups are more frequent with the calendar. Not keeping track of what we used to keep track of. Forgetting what we once easily remembered. I do not like an aging body and mind. It is hard to leap into a new decade. And this decade has been my hardest leap of all.
The older I get more things are not as I want them to be. Wisdom comes with lots of hard knocks of living on planet earth. My age has allowed me to see with more clarity. Therefore, my words and thoughts can be more harming than good if I am not mindful. I must reflect how my words will be heard before I speak. I am not raising toddlers when you have to speak fast! My children are adults. And if I am not speaking to my family, I am speaking to another human being worthy of honor. I am learning to relinquish more things to my heavenly Father. I try and think before speaking.
I am learning to pause. We have a wise yoga teacher and as she has us stay in difficult poses she says, “learn to pause and breathe.” I am taking what I learn on the mat off the mat. There is more and more that demand I pause and breathe. It is a time for less complex thought and time simply to let the colors collude together in their slow, nuanced dance. I’d rather join this yellowing and bless another person more with my aging face and chosen words. At this stage of life I want my actions to subtly invite my family to see how trustworthy and good our heavenly Father is. I want His light to shine and not be shaded by my darkness. This is the greatest gift I can impart to my family.
Francis of Assisi said, “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Subtle change, nuanced, quiet, may actually lead to a new miracle.
Becky Allender lives on Bainbridge Island with her loving, wild husband of 36 years. A mother and grandmother, she is quite fond of sunshine, yoga, Hawaiian quilting and creating 17th Century reproduction samplers. A community of praying women, loving Jesus, and the art of gratitude fill her life with goodness. She wonders what she got herself into with Red Tent Living!