“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

5.09.2009

Flowers for the House You Live in NOW

Live.

The sound of the television is not quite loud enough to drown out the cheering, screaming, racing crowd out there on the street. Not my street, but the bigger street at the corner, less than a house away. Today is the Susan Komen Race for the Cure and there are pink ribbons everywhere, and no doubt pink wigs, and pink hats, and even pink heads belonging to those who have lost their hair to chemotherapy, but are still out there in this sticky, muggy morning. Live, they are saying. Fight.

My block of the neighborhood is roped off - we cannot drive in or out. The race encircles us, as do other races throughout the year. Used to be, we were near the beginning of the route, but last year the Komen race changed directions, and now we are near the end, and for some it is a tough end. They sneak through the neighborhood, down our street and emerge nearer to it all being over, laughing with each other, teasing, knowing it matters not that they've had to take a shortcut. I sit here on the couch and laugh with them as they go by. They are tougher than I.

Last year I sat on Rodney's front steps and took pictures - new to the blogging world, I was determined to steal images from every event in town, sure I would have a story to tell. I don't think I used one picture. But this year I have this detail from an art piece - an altered sign. It is actually more than a detail - if you add a few more inches of different paper to the bottom, you have it all. Live.

And I have a phone call from last night in my memory, a friend sure she is wasting her life, sure she is not living - ironically, she, too, is a cancer survivor, though a different cancer - sure everyone else's lives are better, sure that just this day to day stuff she does is not life. I know what she means, or at least I know what it would mean if I said it, and I would not be quite serious, but she is. It feels to her that this career path she has chosen encircles her; she is roped in, she says, she can't get out. It is the career she chose, the career requiring years & years of schooling, degrees, a PhD., but she feels trapped, feels overworked, feels it is not worth the money she makes - which is substantial, 4 or 5 times what I earn in a year. She wants to move to Italy or Spain, where life is really led, she says, and will, in fact, spend most of her summer there, all expenses paid by her job, with nothing to do but look at paintings and sip whatever she chooses to sip at outdoor cafes, and yet, it is not enough. My heart goes out to her, but I don't have any magic to fix this - of course, the magic is all around her, but she can no longer see it. I have told her before, in moments of frustration & pettiness, and yes, jealousy, that I haven't had time off from my job in 12 years, and that was just a week, and it came after not having any time off for the 3 or 4 years before that, and that vacation was just a week also, and dear Lord, I would kill for that much paid time off, but it matters not - she is miserable, she wants a life. And I remember that's what I used to think about life, about being an artist. I thought it was what everyone else did. It wasn't this everyday stuff, this doing the laundry, this buying the groceries, this rounding up the cat and taking her to the vet - how does one make art from that? I thought, how is that living? When of course, it is. All I have to do is walk up to the corner and ask any of those sweaty, pink clad women to define life, and I'll bet that being able to go to the grocery store & stroll down an aisle & compare this chocolate to that chocolate would make their list. I'll bet those small moments are the tops of their lists. I am sure their priorities have changed also - I am sure now that they are determined to do what they want, to make sure the lives they lead are the lives they want to lead. And the funny part is, that's exactly how my friend ended up where she is, ended up with those degrees, that PhD., that job - after her first bout with cancer (I love that word bout - I think of boxers & I think of her as a winner when I say that) she was determined to live the life she wanted. 16 or 17 years later, 2 more bouts with cancer later, her priorities have changed, and she thinks her life is not a life. She thinks my life is, she thinks your life is, she thinks we are all happy except her. And I understand - I, too, want to live by the ocean, I want my own little home, I want time to paint, I want dinner in the evenings under little white fairy lights strung from tree to tree, a white tablecloth on my baby blue table, vases of flowers everywhere. I understand. But I cannot stop living now for the hope of then or when or if. I have to buy flowers now for the house I am in now, for the life I lead now. Live.

And so, if she is reading this (though I suspect not) I say to her Go to Italy.

Go to Spain.

Live.
and then quit your job & get back to Texas

21 comments:

  1. are you in my head?
    seems so in some of the things you express
    ...
    thanks for writing is so eloquently when all i can do is click
    ...elk

    ReplyDelete
  2. LIVE. four little letters that say a world of things. A very powerful post. Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for an incredibly powerful, touching post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very great outlook! I understand how your friend feels sometime, but you are right.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your writing is commendable. I completely agree with Gabby. This post is truly touching.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for this. For reminding me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well, if someone needs a yardstick they are certainly welcome to measure against my zestily-armed, immacuately-girlfriended, haughtily-felined life!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well, Robert first - You do lead quite a wonderful life. It is a tough yardstick to measure against. And you have real art laying about the house. But I have a big white bed, an even snootier cat, and the ever-wonderful Michael in my life, so it's not too bad. I need more windows, though. :)

    ELK - Eloquent is a mighty nice word to hear on this Saturday evening, Batman on in the background, paintings & parts of paintings strewn hither & yon. There is paint on the band-aid wrapped around my finger - a sign of a pretty good day. Thank you!

    Karen - 4 pretty powerful letters. And we do live every day - we just forget how wonderful things are until we are reminded. Thanks for the kind words.

    Gabby - Thank you for such a kind comment. Sometimes I get real honest! :)

    Randi - Oh, I understand how she feels all too well - it is a struggle to appreciate those small moments when things are overwhelming. I am getting better at doing so. Baby steps. :)

    Shweta - Many thanks. I felt inspired this morning by women who are fighters, running in the miserable humidity, saying to the world that they live! It's very humbling.

    Valaine - When I remind you, I remind myself. :)

    Thank you all.
    :) Debi

    ReplyDelete
  9. AMEN to that!!!
    Go.
    Live.
    Well said, Debbi!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a great words for reminding me. You really rock, girl!

    Have a wonderful Mum's Day.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love your creativity ~ you inspire me. Have a wonderful day.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's all about gratitude. And the little things are, in my humble opinion what make up a truly wonderful life.
    I understand her pain though...I have thought this way too. Sometimes I feel as though I am sleeping through my life and everyone else is living full rich happy lives. But I know it's an illusion...I am not sleeping...I have a wonderful life and no one has got it perfect. The more grateful I am, the more wonderfulness I see.
    But oh, how I wish for the fairy lights thing too. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is all too easy sometimes to get caught up in the "grass is greener"scenario. We do only have this moment and if not now, when? thank you for this reminder.
    xo
    S

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well said honey....and thanks....for reminding me. I need reminding. Love you you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. i'm so glad i read this. now stepping outside for my meditation my heart feels in the right place.

    your words just rocked my heart setting it back on course.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love this, it's beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Brilliant. Gorgeous. Perfect.

    Thank you.

    xo, Graciel

    ReplyDelete
  18. we all get caught up in the what ifs of life...when it is really that
    simple.
    L.I.V.E.
    thanks for your words today!!

    just BE.
    robin.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lovely blog...found you through Maddie.

    ReplyDelete
  20. there is a distinct sort of
    glow which occurs when magic is
    present ...you have that glow

    everything we have ever wanted is
    already within....
    and your knowing is
    present within you so beautifully

    i say this gently.....
    and i never know anything for sure...

    contentment and happiness comes
    from within....it is a choice

    spain is lovely of course...
    possbily however you have to
    choose happiness

    Go to Italy

    Go to Spain

    Choose happiness...gratitude...
    and share it:)

    exactly the way you share it....

    ReplyDelete
  21. I am so late in re-connecting with you all. Forgive me!

    Paula - Thank you. If I could only do it as easily as I say it! LOL!

    Richie's 2Ts - :) I don't think anyone's ever said that to me! Cool!!!

    Catherine - I feel pretty humbled to hear that I can inspire someone. Bless you.

    Jaime - Oh, I do too! I understand so well! And I, too, want it all, but. But. I have to remind myself that this right nowness is indeed life also & remember that the flowers outside my door are no less wonderful because they're Texas flowers, not Italian or Spanish flowers. Some days are easier than others. :)

    Christy - And you back! Thank you!

    Hele - I am glad I helped. I hope things are easing for you, that Mithril's memory is settling gently into your heart.

    Stacey - You are so kind! Thank you!

    Graciel - You, too, are so kind! xo back to you!

    Just BE Robin - Yes. This is what you talk about every day. Just be. Just Live. :)

    Yoli - Thanks for dropping by and for the positive vibes!

    Maddie - You are so wise & so right. Wherever one is, choose happiness. Choose gratitude. Share it with others. That is living.

    Thank you all!
    :) Debi

    ReplyDelete

come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .