Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Rock solid encouragement

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse
South Lubec, Maine
Needing some inspiration and encouragement right now, I am going to return to a happy time last summer. I spent a weekend with my sister, niece and her family Downeast in Lubec, Maine and on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. We stayed overnight near West Quoddy Head Light in South Lubec and trundled around the area, while I told stories of our mother who grew up there. What a treat it was to spend time in such a special place with such special people. An additional, all be it unexpected treat were the lessons I learned from my sister, a rock hound. There are a number of years which separate us in age, and one of the casualties of this gap was I wasn't aware my sister had minored in geology in college, I just knew she was a teacher. As I consider my current state of discontent with winter lasting so long and life being a daily struggle, I am going to look back on that trip and to the rocks to give me encouragement.  

Gabbro, an Igneous rock
Campobello Island, NB, Canada
First, did you know there are only three different ways rocks are created: Igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary.  Igneous rocks come from the fiery center of the earth. They are called into being from a coalescing of minerals in a molten state; born out of creative fires, which harden as they cool. Sedimentary rocks are born from the dust of the earth, built from the skeletons & shells of sea creatures, from the particles left behind from weather worn rocks; particles pressed together until they become one. And lastly, metamorphic rocks were once one thing but through heat and pressure have become a totally different being, taking on a new likeness.

Most people recognize granite, it’s an igneous rock. Almost everyone knows Limestone a common sedimentary rock, which when subjected to heat and pressure becomes marble, a well-known metamorphic rock. I love gneiss (pronounced “nice”), it is probably my favorite of all metamorphic rocks. Gneiss is formed usually from igneous rocks; I want to be a piece of gneiss. But to be a piece of gneiss, to be metamorphic, I have to be heated to the point of malleability, and undergo pressure. Oh, do I hear trials & tribulations?

Con Robinson's Point
Campobello Island, NB, Canada
Have you ever wondered why rocks are shaped the way they are? There is beach on Campobello where most of the rocks are round or egg shaped and fairly uniform in size and shape. I asked my sister, how did this happen? Once again, I was faced with trial and tribulation; for those particular rocks got their shape from being tossed in the ocean, rubbing again each other. We’ve all seen rocks with hollows in the side. The hollow was formed while the rock was in a heated state and it had another rock or other hard substance lain against it, creating an impression.
Cutler, Maine
 So here I am writing about rocks and seeing a parallel with my current life. It all comes back to heat & pressure changing me from granite into gneiss, from limestone to marble; rounding my sharp edges by rolling me around in the surf, rubbing up against other stones. Did I say I was going to a happier time?

There are many other parallels to be drawn later, but let’s end this tonight by saying I wanted some rock solid encouragement, and I got it. Heat and pressure making me into something new, something better; now if I can just survive this winter with all my minerals intake. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The hopes and fears...

I awoke this morning to my basement being very, very cold as the downstairs door had been ajar for most of the below zero night. Once again I started my morning in a state of rage; rage born of fear. I have developed a very keen sense of danger almost to the point of compulsive. I am fearful of driving in bad weather, fearful of not having enough money to buy food or oil or gas for my car (which is how I get to work.)  Right now my hot water isn't working right. It hasn't been right since the house froze at Christmas, I fear I have to find someone to assist me in fixing it, which means spending money I  may not have.

I have often found GOD speaks to me through song, preparing me for a lesson. I get an idea for a song, start writing it, even finish it, thinking it was for someone else only to figure out it was for me.  This past advent season, the Christmas carol “Oh little town of Bethlehem” caught my attention, specifically the last stanza of the first verse “…. the hopes and fears of all the years, are met in Thee tonight.” While starting to write a song, I had the sense (at the beginning of December, mind you) GOD wanted me to learn what that line meant. And as I sat in my literally freezing house on Christmas day, all that would come to me was “the fears of all the years are met in Thee.”

It is a well documented fact that the most debilitating mental health issue in America today is Depression, with Anxiety disorders along side it. Anyone who bought stock in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically those companies who manufacture anti-depressant & anti-anxiety medications have done well for themselves financially. I’m not “down” on medication, sometimes life is better lived through chemistry. My point is our advanced, first-world, industrialized society has some unresolved emotional issues; most of which stems from fear. Fear of failing to attain our hopes.

I decided in celebration of the Lenten season to make a commitment to devote my attention solidly on a person when I am speaking with them, foregoing the temptation to look at my phone, computer or TV while talking with them. In my opinion, we are so driven as a society to do more in less time, we are driving ourselves to exhaustion; physically, mentally and emotionally (body, mind and spirit), attempting to “multi-task.”  As was evident from my previous post, I have been without inspiration for a few months. Life has “taken it out of me” so to speak, I've been plagued with doubts; given to moments of intense fear, I have felt the pressure to do more with less time and resources; fearing I would fail in this venture.  I have divided my attention in so many directions for so long, trying to keep all the balls in the air; I fear I have dropped one. As I come out of the icy mist of the winter of my discontent, I will add another item to give up for Lent: fear. I will seek to ignore the distractions and devote my attention solidly on Christ, in whom “…the hopes and fears of all the years are met ….”

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A year of …..

I have lost count of how many people I have attended funerals for. I can’t even really tell you where 2013 and the first three months of 2014 have gone. I just know the last time I posted to this blog was April 2013. I went so far as to look back at my calendar to see what captured my attention for all that time. I know my mom had eye surgery, I spoke at a women’s group, sang a few times, attended funerals and went to work. I had a week off at Thanksgiving, which I happily spent with family. I was supposed to spend the entire week of Christmas with my family, but due to a nasty ice storm I didn’t make it home until December 26, once my house was safely thawed from it’s frozen state after being powerless for 2 days and even that trip was made in a nasty little snow storm.

This post was going to be named “A year of discontent,” but that is not really an accurate portrayal of the last year. The past 12 months haven’t been all that bad, really; there have been good moments. I had opportunity to go Downeast with my sister and her family. What a wonderful time we had discussing rocks and geological formations. I started to write about it to post to the blog… but you see how far that got. Mom & I went lighthouse hunting down on the coast of Connecticut, ultimately finding the lighthouse an uncle tended.  I made it to PA in the spring and saw daffodils in bloom, while Maine was still frozen. And I did write a couple of songs, one was a funeral song, which got sung a few times too many for my liking.

The clocks are due to be turned ahead this coming weekend. It is supposed to be spring, you know the old adage, fall back; spring ahead. You could never tell it was spring by looking at the thermometer or the depth of snow I still have in my yard. I never did make resolutions or goals for this year. I think at the time I was too busy worrying about the cold, snow and oil bills.  I did choose a “word” for the year; one I chose while driving on icy roads once again!  The word for the year is “glide.” My intent is to learn to let go and to glide on the wind currents. Tipping my wings to maximize my lift above the earth and guide me safely around the sharp mountain outcroppings.  How am I doing with this?  Not real well at this time, but just like the coming of spring, I can always have hope of change.

I don’t have any magical words of wonder to write, I am frankly at a loss for insight. This post will go up, even though it is more perspiration than inspiration. But maybe this is what it is meant to be, just a humble attempt to regain some of my frozen creativity and thaw the ice that traps my brain.