Moz Still with Me

Scott grabbed an old climbing ice axe out of our garage to take on a hike with us a couple weeks ago. We both assumed it was one of my dad’s old ice axes until we got up to the parking lot at Artist Point. Then Scott really looked at it and saw that it had belonged to my mom, Moz. It made us happy when we realized that we were bringing Moz along on this hike with us.

My dad is a well-known, big name in mountaineering – he’s climbed and painted on some of the highest mountains in the world – and people sometimes ask me to share some of his mountaineering adventures with them. But what maybe most people don’t know is that his wife, Moz, had her share of adventures, too – she’d climbed Mount Rainier twice, accompanied Dad on hikes all over the Pacific Northwest – on their honeymoon she’d climbed this humongous straight-up spire with him that looked like it was some made-up thing from a Hollywood set. Here’s a picture of her climbing over a fence to get to the spire…

Moz climbing on her honeymoon

In early 2017, when Moz was lying on the hospital bed in my living room, in and out of consciousness, struggling to breathe because of congestive heart failure, one of the hospice nurses asked if Moz had COPD – had she been a smoker? No, I told the nurse, Moz had been a singer – a professional vocalist – and the kind of singer she was is the kind that doesn’t smoke. The nurse looked at me kind of skeptically. So then I told her that Moz had climbed Rainier twice when she was young, and I saw the nurse look back at my mom with a new respect. The nurse said that she usually only gets to meet her patients when they’re  ready to pass – and that it’s nice to know something about the lives they had BEFORE she meets them in the person. I think knowing something about Moz’s adventurous past made her more real to the nurse – it gave Moz’s humanity back to her, if that makes sense.

There are certain pieces of music that always bring Moz to me. One of them is Allison Krauss’s version of I Will. As soon as I hear the first banjo chord come through my car radio I feel Moz’s presence in the car with me.

Yesterday I was driving from LaConner – I’d just paid my cable bill and picked up the folks’ mail from their old assisted living place (most of their old mail is from non-profit organizations wondering why Moz hasn’t donated to their causes recently and sort of chiding her for that – I’ve tried sending the mail back with “deceased” written on the envelopes, but the organizations don’t seem to be getting the message). I was passing the spot where Moz had once told me, as I was driving her home from one of her stays at the hospital, that she would really like some cream cheese dip and smacked her lips together – I always smile when I pass that spot – and Krauss’s I Will started playing on my CD. Instantly Moz was with me. I could feel her hugging me and wrapping me all up in her love. I started tearing up. Those of you who have lost people dear to you will understand the feeling I had, I think – it wasn’t sadness that I was feeling –  it was something deeper and more beautiful and more poignant – it was just… it was love, I guess. And I wished I still had her with me in the person so that I could hug her with my human arms, and talk to her with my human voice – but I knew I still had her with me in another form – in a form that couldn’t be taken from me.

Moz is still with me.

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart…
– John Lennon and Paul McCartney

“…individual good derived from God, the infinite All-in-all, may flow from the departed to mortals…”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

 

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As I Wait for My Breve

So I’m at Fred Meyer’s waiting to get my breve. This woman comes into the produce section next to the Starbuck’s stand. I’m sort of fascinated by what she’s wearing – what looks like a towel with flaps is wrapped around her head, and she’s got this really loose, comfortable top and what looks sort of like jammy bottoms, but not really. She glances my way and I smile at her. She’s hesitant to smile back. And that’s okay.

I turn my attention back to the espresso stand. But I catch some abrupt movement out of the corner of my eye and turn my attention back to the comfortably-clad woman. A bunch of grapes have fallen out of a grape bag she’s holding and she’s a little flustered by this. I come over to help – crouch down and start picking grapes up for her and handing them to her – I’m in no hurry – my breve isn’t ready, yet – I have time.

“Oh! Thank you! Thank you!” she says, in what I’m guessing is a Spanish accent. I smile at her – and this time she smiles back.

And then my breve is ready.

The end.

The Really Important Things

When I’ve read memoirs about the Holocaust it’s always struck me how – as the insanity played out on the political stage – people continued to go about their lives – going on walks, going to work, going to school, getting married, celebrating birthdays, celebrating life. It always struck me as kind of odd. But today, as I was corresponding with a dear friend, I had a kind of epiphany about it. We are, right now, living through a time that will probably be considered “historic” at some point. And we continue to go on our walks in the sunshine, and go to work, and go after our dreams, and get married, and celebrate life. And we have to, don’t we? I mean, this is our one chance at life. And if we let it all be dictated by politics – if we focused all our time and attention on the stuff that’s going on in Washington, DC – we’d never get a chance to have the sunshine, and to dance and laugh and sing and do all the really important things.

So, while we’re battling all the insanity in DC, let’s not forget to also make time for ourselves to do the things in life that bring us joy.

 

We Are Made of God-Stuff

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
– Genesis 1: 27

…God is love.
– I John 4: 8

Morning prayer –
All we can be is what God, Love, made us to be – all we are made of is God-stuff. If it isn’t a part of Love then it can’t be a part of us. It’s not possible for even the teensiest tiniest piece of us to be unlike our Creator – we are perfect and beautiful and joyful and love-filled and free. Amen.
And now a hymn and a sunrise…

sunrise on the way to work (2) this one

Sunrise over Bow, WA

He Made My Day

From yesterday

So when I was getting ready to pull out of the Sisters Espresso parking lot this morning another person got out of his truck and started walking up to the espresso stand. He looked serious and grim. From appearances he was pretty much everything I’m not: male; tall; young; of a different ethnicity. And as I was thinking these thoughts, and feeling a little intimidated by the serious expression on his face, he glanced my direction. Without thought I smiled at him through the car window – and he smiled this beautiful charming smile back at me – totally took me by surprise!

He made my day.

“…Love is reflected in love.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

The Rebirth Ring

I wore my “rebirth” ring the other day. A barista ringing me up complimented me on it and asked me about it. I told her it was my “rebirth” ring – that I’d bought it after I’d come through a really challenging time. I pointed to the sapphire on one side – “I was born in September – and that’s the stone for September” – and the pearl in the middle – “pearls are created from struggle – something beautiful from something challenging” – and the sapphire on the other side – “I came through the challenge and was reborn.” She said that was really beautiful, and I thanked her and nodded, and remembered, again, my Year of Insanity…

Ten years ago I went through a massive depression – I’d never experienced anything like that before – I’d always been a kind of naturally happy person – but I went through a year that was, literally, a life and death struggle for me. I couldn’t eat, contemplated ending my life, had a constant dialogue going on in my head, seriously doubted if I would ever feel happy again. It is not an exaggeration to say I wasn’t sure I’d make it through.

It was during this time that I discovered I had a wealth of friendships and love and people who cared about me. It was during this time that I also discovered how strong I am. I gained a confidence that I hadn’t really had before. I came to appreciate what’s really important in life – not material stuff – but love and kindness and integrity and the ability to laugh at ourselves. I have never felt impoverished since going through this. I’ve come to see I’m wealthy beyond anything I’d imagined.

People sometimes talk cavalierly about “choosing joy.” During the Year of Insanity it didn’t feel like joy was a “choice” for me. But now that I have my choice back – yeah, I choose joy. I’ve come to realize that life really is a matter of perspective – of how we look at things.

People have told me that they want my life – or that they love my life. And I guess I should feel flattered by that maybe. But…the thing is… love your own life. Make something of that precious gift you’ve been given. By saying you want my life you discount my struggles, and you discount your own possibilities.

I’ve never wanted to be anyone else. Never. Not even when I was going through my Year of Insanity. I knew, even then, that EVERYone has challenges in their lives. I knew, even then, that most of the challenges in my life were ones I’d created for myself and that it was my job to learn from them.

You – yes, you – have the power to bring love and kindness to someone else – even when you’re going through your own times of insanity. You have a purpose, and a reason for being here. As long as you can love there’s a reason for you to live – I realized that during my challenging time – and it helped me get through it. Let me repeat that: AS LONG AS YOU CAN LOVE THERE’S A REASON FOR YOU TO LIVE. There are people who need you here. Please don’t give up on your life.

You are loved. ❤

“Humans can be very cool sometimes.”

Two lanes full of traffic coming down from school to College Way. An ambulance approaches from the other direction. And somehow our two lanes manage to merge with each other into the farthest lane on the right – everyone accommodating each other and making room for each other to help the ambulance get past us. And there was something in that brief moment that really inspired me. Humans can be very cool sometimes.