My auntie just lost her husband to an ailment that made him bed-ridden months before he passed. Though he was very sick, the loss is still hard for her to bear, having lived with him for some 58 years. Her loss brings to mind my own raw grief upon losing my husband in December 2015, after dialysis of four and a half years. Last night, I exchanged messages with my auntie. She was quick to respond to my comments. This exchange followed a video that I forwarded to her – a warm presentation about how to age graciously, mostly sound advice applicable to living life joyfully. One of the suggestions, however, intrigued me, as it did my auntie. It said – “If worry makes you happy, then go ahead and worry.”
That comment did not fare well with me.
I believe worry means lack of faith and trust in the Lord. I mentioned to my auntie that while I admit that worrying is a common human tendency, I fight that tendency by praying instead, and lifting to God whatever matter that worries me. I ask Him to deal with it for me. Always, I told her, my worry abates with prayer, and the matter that worried me gets resolved one way or another, though not always instantly but eventually. So why waste energy worrying.
Faith, trust and hope – they work for me, I told her. A simple “Jesus help me,” that works for me, too.
Faith, trust and hope – they could work for you, too. My auntie responded, that was exactly what a priest advised.
I am very thankful for features on the phone that warn about sales calls. A voice announces the telephone number or name of the caller. When they’re not familiar to me, my impulse is to ignore the call. However, of the many sales calls I get, there’s one that always tickles me to laughter. The warning voice declares that the call is from “unavailable”. Now what person would be unavailable to call and still call! Ridiculous, isn’t it? But that never fails to trigger a chuckle from me. I thought, I could pick up the receiver and say – “Sorry, I’m not here.” Not just a recorded message of unavailability but a response in person.
The truth is, I did just that. I picked up the phone and answered: “Hello unavailable caller, I’m unavailable, too.” Then hung up.
Remember my blog about Ms. Daisy last year (a takeoff from the old movie, Driving Ms. Daisy, with Morgan Freeman) – I was Ms. Daisy for a while, but not anymore. Well, this Ms. Daisy that ain’t Ms Daisy anymore got flustered by a dashboard message about “low tire pressure”. I never put air in my tires before. Up until the last weeks before my husband passed, he drove Ms. Daisy. When he passed, my son enrolled me to re-learn driving, and grateful for that, I’ve been driving for almost three years now. But not on freeways. I’m sure I can, but I simply lack the confidence. I know I will someday, because I’m determined to do so. Just don’t ask me when.
But this Lola driver learned something new. Just last week, I learned to put air in my tires. Fortunately for me, a work colleague carried an electric air pump in his car. I watched. He put air in my tires and bingo! There was air. The right level of pressure was restored. And the dashboard warning light disappeared. Relief! I think I now know how to pump air into my car tires – with an electric air device. I’d like to buy one.
Right after that, something else concerned me. Isn’t my car due for an oil change? So, I called the car shop where I had my car serviced last year, and asked if I should have an oil change. The last time was in August last year. The polite service representative said that oil change is needed every year or when the car has driven 10,000 miles. She asked how many miles I’ve driven since August last year – I said, less than 2,000 miles. She smiled at that, I could feel her amused smile over the phone. She then said – just wait for the dashboard warning light, Ma’am. I think I will. Nice rep.
After cooking, cleaning the kitchen and laundry, I watched Pocahontas, Sleeping Beauty and Mulan all in one weekend afternoon. I loved the stories and the music. I even memorized a few of the songs. I immensely enjoy musical films, animation or not. But these Disney films so inspired me to continue my project of a musical fairytale. I’ll allow you a peek into my story. It’s about a kind and gentle giant who helps three youths to return to the stars where they came from. So, he hurls them to the sky. Now, wait, I’m confused here. I intended to make my jolly, benign giant (if there’s such a one) to be my protagonist. Now, I think I’ll change that – I’ll make one of the youths my protagonist.
I’m sharing this with you because I’m “venting”. Creating a good story is far from paltry. I don’t find it easy to arbitrate the direction for a compelling plot. But I’ll get there. Eventually, there’ll be a direction, a clear perspective, a goal, after all the changes I make. What I’d like to say to aspiring and would-be writers: just get on with it. The story will shape, will form, will complete. Just persist. What would help would be a basic outline. I admit, mine changes every time I touch the project. I trust, though, that it would morph into something beautiful. A dream that someday, you’ll be watching the musical tale on the screen – and perhaps, singing my songs.
Now, what about the music, the songs? I’ll tell you a secret. I’ve composed a few. Maybe I can use some for my musical tale. or maybe not. Hmmm … I’m glad I “vented”. I’m now very excited to get on with my fairytale. But I think I’m sticking with my giant hero.
Last night, I listened to a friend pour out stories of personality struggles in her workplace. Total misunderstandings and some of that control syndrome in the other person, it seems. The fact is, however, this friend has been suffering. I suggested a heart-to-heart talk between her and the other person, baring her thoughts and hurts in a polite way, but being honest with what she feels about the apparent “unfairness” of the other person. She listened and accepted the advice.
Before ending the 2-hour conversation, I confided – whenever I have difficulties, I speak to God – Jesus — about them and ask the Lord to help me. She’s an atheist. So I said, I will speak to Him about her, meaning, pray for her and her problems. And I did just that, many times.
She was surprised by my offer; thought it generous of me, and thanked me with an incredulous smile on her face. I’d like to think she understood.
Back to my auntie. She shared that before bedtime, she would whisper “good night and “I love you” to her late husband, plus a few more comments. But she also adds in her monologue to him – “you don’t need to respond.” I, too, shared that I would relate stories to my husband’s big handsome picture in my living room. I tell the picture, stories will keep pouring out on the condition that he doesn’t answer me back. My auntie understood.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Lovingly funny and silly, I say.
Now back to the friend who vented about her problems at work. I said to her that I speak to Jesus about any difficulty I have. I have horned in the praxis of sharing stories or just about anything with Him, and seeking His agreement. So, in these instances – unlike speaking to a loved one gone beyond – I would like to hear an answer. Speak back to me, I plead. And I believe He does, through the Holy Spirit that indwells, in my thoughts and in my heart.