Tuesday, June 25

words for wednesday {page 9, plodding}

Those who wish to sing, always find a song.

Swedish Proverb

The Hare darted almost out of sight at once, but soon stopped and, to show his contempt for the Tortoise, lay down to have a nap. The Tortoise plodded on and plodded on, and when the Hare awoke from his nap, he saw the Tortoise just near the winning-post and could not run up in time to save the race. Then said the Tortoise:

" Plodding wins the race”


I slip back many times, I fall, I stand still, I run against the edge of hidden obstacles, I lose my temper and find it again and keep it better, I trudge on, I gain a little, I feel encouraged, I get more eager and climb higher and begin to see the widening horizon. Every struggle is a victory.

Helen Keller – The Story of My Life

I love autobiographies, but in the last few years I have found the lives of ‘inspiring’ high achievers hard to stomach. I close my copy and remember my current lot more acutely it seems. And I’m back to wishing I could be doing the book-worthy things. I feel tired just reading about all the things they did and thought, and my victory of doing the washing or practicing or remembering a name fades into nothing.

 But Keller’s biography is wonderful because she had obstacles piled against her high as a blind and deaf woman, and she had to climb Hill Difficulty. I find her climbing analogy so apt for the last few years. So I plod onwards, in good company with men and women from past and present, who don’t fly through the days with ease. It’s comforting to know that it’s ok to struggle along, and it’s not in vain.

Wednesday, June 19

words for wednesday {page 8, silver lining}


“Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Yesterday was one of those bliss days, the rare ones where you are singing inside because you are overwhelmed with the good, all the good which is as clear daylight. Not only was I well enough to do the dishes and other chores, I was well enough to play my flute. My two month music drought ended, and I felt wildly happy not only to be able to play, but to be able to feel all the raw highs and lows that music expresses. I danced, and played, and enjoyed my yellow teacup, and walking through puddles in gumboots, and my dog and man’s cuddles. I even saw three elegant dolphins at the waterfront, which tells you what kind of a day it was. And I won’t have this euphoria every day, but it told me that there is so much good I have been overlooking. As my friend{who always says the best things} wrote me,

“So the silver lining is quite thick.”

 It always is quite thick, when I choose to have a look.

If you want some ecstatic music, try Tchaikovsky’s Hungarian Dance, the happiness begins part way through, but isn’t it so much better after some melancholy?

Wednesday, June 12

words for wednesday {page 7, home}


“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognise how good things really are.”

Marianne Williamson

If you were to ask me how I was, I would probably sigh.
I am relieved.

I have endured a month of too many appointments, and weariness from being a vulnerable patient too many times. I have been ill from hour long waits at doctor surgeries, saddened by coolness and misunderstanding in medics, and exhausted from leaving my safe little home, the one place I have a chance of surviving in. The ironic truth is that I am ill from seeing my medics. I am always learning how better to manage my life, and going to these doctors just after I moved house was not my wisest plan. Sadness has been all pervasive - the greyness that robs every usually-fun moment of its fun.

My great relief comes not just from getting to stay home, but from feeling little bits of joy again, of happiness, or pleasure, or humour, where before it was entirely bleak. I am enjoying relief, savouring it, and remembering for future that it always comes.

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

Jane Austen

Although I would rather enjoy my home in moderation i.e. on the weekend and in the evening, I think Austen is perfectly right. My home is a beautiful, comfy, cosy, restful, safe haven. To view it like that rather than my prison changes everything.

Flannelette jamies have been really doing it for me lately. Who knew $11 spent at kmart could make for such snuggy appreciation.

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” 

Normal Peale 

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

Helen Keller

Wednesday, June 5

words for wednesday {page 6, wait}

“He also serves who only stands and waits.”

John Milton

But I want to be on the frontlines, I say. Can I at least work part time and cook dinner for my husband? I’m sick of just drinking tea and knitting things and recovering from things.* I'm so over this. I want to do something which doesn’t feel like nothing.

I think those things as I grapple with the way things are, my lot.

* You may think: but drinking tea & knitting is my idea of paradise, as is not having to go to work. All I can say is that several weeks of rest each year is beautiful, but indefinite waiting is hard.

And then I heard the above quote by blind poet John Milton - and stopped fighting.

I’m not the General and I don’t know what the plan for the battle is. I’m one of the troops, and if I’m sent here or there or not sent at all, that is where I am meant to be.  This is my role at the present, and by patiently waiting and accepting it, I am serving. It re-dawned on me how sufficient that is. God hasn’t forgotten my assignment, and if I can bear it well, that is a life well spent. 

“To be blind is not to be miserable. Not to be able to bear blindness is miserable.”

John Milton