Peace in Differences

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A few weeks ago we had an interesting moment when I noticed a beautiful difference between our sons. The magic of their strong comparison made me pause and feel gratitude.

My husband’s aunt was not doing well and had been sent to the hospital. We thought we might lose her and felt the weight of grief bubbling up as fear took over.

The next morning, Hubs was not feeling super and took his time getting ready for the day, while I prepared breakfast and started the kids on their routine for school. When our middle son asked where Dad was, I explained he might need a little extra love and space, since our aunt wasn’t doing so well.

My gentle insinuations were immediately picked up on by LM1. “Mom,” he said, “if it’s her time to go, there isn’t anything we can do about it.”

His words were honest but grittier than I wanted to hear. He saw the situation for what it was and tried to remind me not to feel sad for things we can’t control. He is our thinker, a boy who works hard at acting from a place of knowledge and understanding.

LM2 reacted differently. He went to his happy place: the pantry cabinet where all of our art supplies are housed. He decided to make Daddy a card and a portrait of himself crying. Maybe he wanted to show Daddy that it was ok to cry. Maybe he wanted Daddy to know he saw and understood him. The card said “Feel better,” spelled in typical 1st-grader fashion.

The most incredible thing in the world to me is how two humans, both of whom were raised by the same parents, in the same house, could react to the situation so differently. Neither of my sons was right or wrong in his reaction. That’s the thing about life. We’re allowed to feel however we feel, whenever we feel it. When we are being ourselves, it’s beautiful.

The real peace came upon my heart when I realized how extraordinarily lucky I am. I get to bear witness to our differences and love both of them. I don’t have to choose between right and a wrong, good or a bad. My job is simply to see, love, and acknowledge.

My heart sighed a gentle breath at this fact. Because differences can exist in the same space and bring a sense of comfort. How extraordinary.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace and Love In My Thirties

I’ve recently become obsessed with a reality show on Netflix called “Indian Matchmaker.” It’s about an Indian Matchmaker named Sima Taparia. She’s from Mumbai and is, according to the show, the top matchmaker there.

This lady is clever, kind, and seemingly very good at her job. She understands something about people that they don’t understand about themselves. Or at least she knows something about the nature of relationships. To me, that might be one of the most interesting and useful skills a person can have. To really see people and see how they will successfully or unsuccessfully interact with others.

It’s like watching magic.

My husband laughs at me.

“You like the show because you never dated in your 30’s,” he says. “Simple as that.”

He’s right. We met in our twenties and we’ve been together ever since. I’ve known and loved Hubs for over 16 years.

“You like imagining what you would do on all those crazy dates,” he says.

Sometimes I yell at the screen.

“Oh, come on!” I say. “That’s not what love is about!”

I say this when the people on the show share what they’d like to find in an ideal mate. They want a person with a certain height. A certain physique. A particular set of hobbies.

“I want her to be introverted but also extraverted, also,” one guys says.

That doesn’t make sense to me and I wonder if he knows what he really wants at all.

I’m also fascinated to watch some of these people fall in love. Because they do! Some of them find their perfect someone and it is awesome. It makes me think, “what is love?” and “where does it come from?” and “how do people click?”

I also think about how love changes. When we were young, love was the giddy excitement of seeing each other and getting to know each other. It was the fascination and awe of feeling surprised to learn some things and relieved to learn others.

Now that we’re in our thirties, love is about other things, too. Like remembering not only each others’ favorite ice cream flavors, but which brand and grocery store we prefer.

Talenti Pistachio from Target? Was it on sale? NICE!”

High fives all around.

Love is also about cleaning the nasty rotten meat juice from the fridge, after it spoiled and spilled into every crevice of the fridge.

“You have a sensitive gag reflex. I’ll take care of it.”

When you’re on a reality tv show, you can’t ask if the other person is willing to clean rotten meat for you. I mean, I guess you can, but will they be honest? Wouldn’t everyone just say “yes?”

I’ll keep watching my show and wondering about the folks who are learning about love. But peace always finds me at the end of an episode. When the show is done and I have that knowing calmness on my heart. Because I picked a good one. And I somehow managed to have him pick me back.

Peace in a Rose Bush

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I was sitting on the porch a few days ago, taking in the breeze and trying hard to focus on absolutely nothing. In the winter, Hubs and I pulled our porch railings off and mused at how nice this was.

“We’ll be able to see more of the roses this way,” Hubs said.

It was a funny thing to say in the middle of winter, but that’s how Hubs thinks: ahead.

Since our porch is pretty low to the ground, it doesn’t require railings. Seeing the porch in a whole new way was awesome. And now that summer is finally here (practically) and the roses have come in, it’s feeling especially lovely.

Today I noticed the roses and thought how much they are like people. The bush is a community. And each rose, each leaf, each tiny part has a purpose that makes the entirety of the rose bush stunning. I was so thankful, looking at the roses, and even more thankful to notice how much I loved the entire bush: the green, oval leaves, the brilliant blooming pink petals, the buds not yet ready to open, but eagerly preparing themselves, and even the dying buds. Truthfully! I love the tactile process of deadheading– it’s so satisfying, though I can’t explain why.

Everything about those beautiful rose bushes amaze me. This year, I had to move one of the five we keep. I uprooted it and did a pretty poor job of the task. And yet….the bush is slowly growing in its new spot. And next year, it will be nearly back to itself. Not quite, but well on its way. I know this. Because plants are resilient and roses are as tough as they come.

I’m so thankful to have learned at least a little about plants to know what to expect each year. And some years, when a bloom is not performing, or a plant needs something else to help guide its growth, I know how to help, and I know that even if conditions aren’t perfect this year, there will always be next year.

All of this makes me think of life. Those roses are so much like people. And what’s pretty cool is this: it’s possible to love every bit and every part of something. Because each part of the bush serves a critical function to make the entirety as beautiful as it is.

I’m not much of a religious person these days. But if there is a “God” or some kind of master creator, I’d like to think she planned things this way: to give each part of a greater whole some incredible purpose, merely to create beauty and wonder. I’d like to think there is some force out there that loves everyone, no matter if they’re a rose or a thorn, because they all work together to achieve something magnificent.

I’d like to think there’s something down inside of me that can love everyone, from petal to thorn, because we’re all working together in some mystical, unexplainable way.

Thinking these thoughts brought me peace this week. What about you? What brought you peace? Share the peace.

Peace in “Just Wait”

“Just wait,” she said.

I can hear her voice like it was yesterday, and her words were not the ones I wanted to hear.

“Just wait,” she told my pain, my frustration, my dismay.

“How long?” I wanted to know.

But she didn’t have an answer for that.

And she was right.

After Baby #2 came into our family, life got really tough. I was unhappy. I yelled a lot. I cried a lot. I was depressed. “Fun” seemed a thing of the past that I’d banished forever to replace with poopy diapers and a cycling of nap time. Then we added Baby #3. And suddenly, everything made sense again. I knew what to do, how to be, and came home to my peace.

Today I sat under a pine tree at our local pool club, where, mystically, all of the kids are satisfied. There is something to amuse every age and I feel a surge of peace warming the toes I dipped into cool water moments earlier.

I waited and all of my dreams came true. I believed and said to myself, “just wait,” because she told me to and I listened because I love her so much.

Today, I mused on the peace I’ve found in the phrase “just wait.” Because sometimes things cannot feel perfect or even close to it. But I can wait. And time will pass. The pain will pass. The frustrations will pass, and it will have been worth the wait.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!