star

As a child I truly believed a wish on the first star of an evening would come true, so I was very careful with my wishes. I later began to see my wishes were prayers, and God would hear them, not a star, meteor or a comet.

F6361A23-7E21-43F4-81A6-15031F46F2DB

Is sentimentality inborn or learned? Are some more inclined than others? Some call themselves romantics, some pragmatists. Some are just complicated.

People can be influenced by movies. Disney especially is heavy on making fantasy appear real. Or maybe it’s circumstances. Some so dire, dark or sad a child, by nature optimistic, desperately wishes for the magic.

0E4C7734-2E1E-45EA-86DA-70BDC1247D97

When I finally determined that power which I perceived as magic was gifted within each person I wanted it to change the world. I wanted love and light in every heart and, for years could not understand why I couldn’t create this. Which was when I learned where the gifts came from.

6C22AE1E-BF4B-4311-9B1A-2B6E5FD35CD3

I had to realize I did not create this gift, any more than I created me. I admired people who were so confident, so sure of themselves, so certain of their todays and tomorrows, and who could laugh at the mistakes and pains of their yesterdays.

I wanted that. Yet I realized that this, too, I could not create or change. I had to accept them first, all of it, before it could become manageable. And then I had to give the burdens to Someone else. There are days when I still feel the burdens, then I remember that I am promised  to never be alone with them. No longer impeded by them. No, they will never disappear. They are woven into the fabric of my life. But I have Someone who takes them for me because He truly and deeply loves all humanity and wants that no one will carry life alone. I am so grateful for this love, mercy. For this forgiveness that I do not deserve.

126B4C64-5015-4CBF-A46B-0EB47A1988B2

Because it’s not because of who I am, but Who He is.

So when I become anxious or frustrated facing a daunting task or challenge I remember I am not meant to carry it on my own. Willful, independent, self-sufficient as I believe myself to be there are some times I need His help more than ever.

D2141D7F-165E-497B-B1BB-EB8F64C5D9AB

No, this does not mean the task is easier. I still have it to carry. But He gives me strength. No matter what: clarity, stillness, peace, grace are gifts He gives.

I am still learning to turn to Him, to trust Him, to accept them.

CBFA264B-6E64-4A73-97E4-DC1E93C6927F

rain

Maybe having brushes with 3 tropical storms and a tropical system, but I cannot remember a year that I have seen so much just general rainfall.

019476AB-9F3F-49D1-8A82-EFD12B1ED753

I do not watch news programs, nor do I subscribe to the local newspaper. So I have no idea what the cumulative rainfall is. It does not really matter. I live in a coastal town so mostly the ground is sand. We have trees so we have leaves and pine needles that fall, decompose and form a thin layer of topsoil. Subdivisions and developments truck in soil to make lawns, landscape crews mulch at least once a year. So not actually on the beachfront there is soil. Not rich, it’s sandy, but soil.

38EA7CB4-0DE4-4DA6-BB97-59E6F1084B80

Still, the rain drains and soaks into the ground within an hour. Not much standing water so thankfully some areas have less mosquitoes. But the area where my neighborhood is was once a watershed.

D4F9CE4E-AE1B-4901-9841-B13343E5B3E1

Since we are also within 10 miles of the Cape Fear river everything from here drains there.

4A6D7D83-EA72-4697-8A7F-E7B70AFA926E

I have way overplanted my backyard. In maybe 20 x 80 feet I have three fig trees, two Althea, two hydrangea, a gardenia, two (baby) paw paw trees, a Daphne, beautyberry bush, pussywillows, tansy, 3 lemongrass, asiatic lilies, penstemon, wisteria, passiflora, angel trumpet, old man’s beard, butterfly weed, butterfly bush, iris, daylilies, Black-eyed Susan, echinacea, mint, rosemary, iron weed, elderberry, star anise, Carolina allspice, Vitex, clethra, daisies, firecracker flower and invasive monarda. It’s really hard to walk around back there. I have a few pots with herbs, tomato plants and some okra.

FBE45BD7-A675-41E0-8805-E9C84FBF70D3

I have seen two rainbows this week. One a few days ago and one this morning. Because they are a promise, seeing them always makes me cry which is strange. Gratitude I guess. Relief maybe.

2A770159-ADFF-4DD2-B646-E79B527108FF

Because it is July, and the rain, most plants are loaded with blooms, and bees and butterflies. I have often wondered where do they go when it rains.

AE96B1D3-19A3-4C93-B2BB-842471C5FC40

Wherever it is, they always reappear when the sun comes out and the flowers dry. And the spiders. Especially the ones on the water spout.

7752BF8E-408A-44E6-80CE-3D6C898A2324

E61107F8-86C3-4E1F-8303-0328D64C06C8

E831AD15-037B-46D0-B2CE-F456604010EB

identity

293A76D4-380D-4B2B-933D-E4C6823D4293

Flowers grow. A seed falls, it sprouts, takes root, blooms. An insect pollinates it, the flower goes to seed, the cycle begins again. This is what flowers do.

5765C6B9-B38E-4CF3-B189-1CB26D5DBDEB

Birds are hatched, fledge, find a mate, nest, lay eggs and the cycle begins. This is what birds do.

B92432A9-940C-479D-ACDE-BBE3EC5E0B68

I bought this baby grand piano when my father helped me buy my first house. It was a long-time dream to learn to play and enjoy hours of music. This was 23 years ago. I have moved this piano eight times, three different states. I have never taken one lesson. I have bought reams of sheet music and taught myself to plink out a couple of tunes (“Simple Gifts”, “The Ash Grove”) but never learned chords. My father had been proud of me for pursuing this dream. But he never asked was I taking lessons nor took me to task about it. I was proud of it. Just having it I believed added a dimension to me that made me feel important. A false dimension. I gave it tangible importance to a relevant yet never fully realized relationship with my father. I grew up believing I was the family screw up, joke, the useful clown diversion when things went south. So this piano I believed gave me a credibility it could never give, especially since I could not play it.

9776057C-599E-4CF0-9C55-9A5A7B618D10

So I have been burdened lately over this piano. Felt guilt, even. I have enjoyed it for these many years as a piece of furniture, covering it with smiling family photos, a favorite crystal bowl that was my mother’s, scattered pictures of rescue dogs. A musical instrument should be played, loved. Yet I had allowed it to be assumed into who I was, even extending the assumption to a connection with my father who passed away over 12 years ago.

Let it go.

I won’t say I hear voices but this was close. I had to disengage from a created aspect of my life that wasn’t real. It was hard. For a time as I mulled this over I regretted never learning to play. Disappointed that I may have even wanted to have it because my talented mother had played but because she had hated the years of lessons would not allow me as a child to have lessons.

Yet still, this was a piece of furniture virtually unused in any function except a superficial one of a very large coffee table.

After this grappling and deliberating, realizing this had to be a choice I made separate from anyone else’s wishes, and looking into the future— if I had already had the piano for so many years and never learned to play, how likely was it that I would ever learn?

Not very.

So I separated myself from the false identity I had created. I let the piano go to a family of musical people who had always wanted one and would play it and love it and enjoy it as it should be enjoyed.

3173C192-7F6E-4530-9FE5-E926BB0CED0E

I suppose I will always keep a wisp of the dream of learning to play and the place where the piano was still surprises me when I walk into the room and it’s not there.

But I am no less without it.

93F1BE92-9E35-48F7-80A8-66E34182B3DD