Feasting on Distances

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My new normal is sitting in a waiting room at the lab draw facility surrounded by the very young and the aging. I am drawn to the older patients. They are the ones who look up from their devices and want to chat. They talk about their grandkids, “The Bachelorette”, clipping coupons, and gardens cucumbers. They seem unfazed by diagnoses and blood tests.

Luci Shaw’s wry humor and poetic finesse at 84 years young is captivating. She tells it like it is.  Her book, Adventure of Ascent: Field Notes from a Life-Long Journey contains countless gems of wisdom. In an American culture that often views seniors as out-of-touch or problematic, Luci Shaw is evidence that not only are our best years ahead of us, but life is meant to be lived well, even to the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few insights that stood out to me above the rest:

1. No one is an unbiased reporter when it comes to a memoir. We cannot be outside of ourselves to see clearly. So we do our best to be honest about the rough parts of our lives. This is a necessary turning away from narcissism that is prevalent in  first-person writing that saturates our blogs and books.

2. We can mourn the “loosening spring” – the loss of physical abilities. As our bodies fall apart, patience develops through asking for help and having to wait. There is security in knowing who you are apart from your ability to perform.

3. We are “enough” but we don’t feel “enough”. These aging heroes often wonder out loud if they did the right things, the best things.

“Feasting on distances” means not being afraid to look towards the end of life – and to those who are nearing life’s ending. To live well today means that  we have the courage to look toward where we are going.

I would like to infect my contemporaries, both young and old, with an openness that frees us to talk about unknowns , muscled by faith, with joy as fluid in me as the blood in my veins. Feasting on distances. Yes.

- Luci Shaw

(Pictures – Lechworth State Park, NY)

Explore

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This summer I am going down a new path. Just as I am opening windows and cleaning house, I am mentally due for the same. A needed breath of fresh air.

I recently realized that the ONLY stuff I had been tuning into was written by authors close to my age. Instead, Dorothy Day and Luci Shaw have been expanding my horizons. Their books are filled with tenacious wisdom that only comes with seniority. Such perspective has been real gold.

This summer I am exploring -

Outside my circle

Outside my city

Can’t wait for you to come along.

(Picture – Storm King Art Center, NY)

Delight

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I’ve wintered with my friend, Dorothy. My chronic illness flared up for months and kept me half buried under its avalanche.

In between the haze of work and fitful almost-sleep, I turned to a book, The Duty of Delight – Dorothy Day’s journal entries from 1930 until her death in 1980, carefully compiled into a complete work. This small-statured single mom in New York accidentally changed the face of her faith.

Read the rest at Charity Singleton Craig‘s space.

soLovely 2.0

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Another year with a new Valentine’s Day Challenge.  Years past we’ve made love bags, candy bags, and wire flowers.  This year I wanted a flat design that could be mailed.

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A brunch pitch-in kept the food prep simple. The heart garland decor was made from inch paper strips.

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The project consisted of a simple braid with embroidery floss knotted at one end and anchored with a clipboard.

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Some girls tried their own variations.  Darcy knotted hers (see the first picture).

Rachel and Charity doubled the length and twisted it for a fatter braid.

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Lindsay used 6 strands instead of 3 so the braids were thicker.

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I used this thicker braiding below for my students’ bracelets.

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This braid  was created to be a bracelet, but can also be a bookmark or zipper pull. Dandee-designs also offers a pdf for the tags. Adjustments and supplies are listed in my instruction guide pdf.

Most of us are not crafters. The focus is not on artistic perfection or even a party. Give something. Your time, words, or a small gift will go a long way to encourage someone who needs it this week.