Ready to Face It?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is READY. A very useful word that should give oodles of responses.

“Are You Ready to be Well?

The Gospels relate an incident where Jesus met a man who’d been a cripple for many years. Jesus stopped in passing and asked the man, “Wilt thou be made whole?” In other words, “Do you want to be well?”

The man was lying by a miraculous pool where an angel troubled the waters occasionally and the first one in after the turbulence was cured of their affliction. Many folks had gathered there, hoping for a cure, and this particular fellow had been lying there for years. He explained to Jesus how he could never get to the pool fast enough when the water started roiling. Someone else always beat him to the cure.

Jesus question seems very odd, but I see a number of undertones here:
“Are you ready to be well? To face the real world?”
Are you ready to leave behind all these friends you’ve been commiserating with for so long?
Will you give up the sympathy and charity of folks who pass by and start earning your own living?

There are many kinds of sickness and dependency in our world, and perhaps physical ailments are probably the easiest to say good-bye to. It may be hard to see the sympathy of friends dry up, but how wonderful to be able to move and breathe and function. No wonder people who’ve been cured are ready to sing and dance for joy.

Folks can get in a rut that’s uncomfortable or painful, but what they can see over the top looks pretty scary, too. One day a friend was lamenting her dependence on tobacco. She admitted that it was a costly, controlling habit. “It’s got your life,” she said. “I just can’t make it without my smokes.” Being a believer in prayer, I asked her if she’d like me to pray with her that God would give her the strength to quit. “No, I guess not,” she said. Either she didn’t believe God could help her leave this habit — or she was afraid He really would!

I think Jesus’ question is as relevant for us as it was back then. If medical science could come up with an amazing drug that could instantly cure people of substance dependence — replace all that dopamine the body’s lost so the person could truly start fresh — how many would accept the cure? Leave their old life, their friends? Or would the real world be too scary? As fellow blogger Martha K said not long ago, “You can’t get a person into rehab. If they don’t choose to go in of their own free will, it won’t do them any good.”

That First Step

We all have issues we put off as long as possible because they’re hard and will likely have unpleasant consequences. But finally we’re ready. We’ve circled this hill too long. Crossed the bridge emotionally dozens of times and still aren’t over. So we grit our teeth, square our shoulders and march forward.

Health issues. Quitting a habit, starting a diet and sticking with it. Undertaking a new and possibly risky treatment. Deciding what to do about your parent or child in a coma. The doctors are pressing for a decision.

Moving. All that packing and loading, unloading, rearranging! Moving away from home, having to stand on your own two feet, maybe having to support yourself financially. Moving elderly parents. Sorting out a lifetime of stuff. Moving an unwilling elderly parent. Facing the prospect of physically removing a parent with dementia from the home where they think they’re coping perfectly well. Taking away Dad’s driver’s license and/or car keys.

Tackling and finishing a project. Mending a fence when you know someone’s upset with you. Making that apology you know you should make. Backing up. And so on.

What “first steps” have you taken lately?

Hope is a Thing with Feathers

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is HOPEFUL. Which brings to mind this classic verse by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words 
and never stops -- at all.
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me

I wonder if she got the inspiration for this verse from seeing birds on a winter morning, waiting hopefully for the arrival of someone with seeds? Or pigeons in the park waiting for the old guy that always feeds them?

We regularly feed the birds in our yard, but sometimes forget to refill our bird feeder until it gets totally empty. The local sparrows understand their source of food, so when I look out our living room window in the morning there they all sit in the shrubs to remind me, ever hopeful.

Image by GLady at Pixabay

Lately, if we’re too slow getting the signal, some of the bolder ones will fly onto our front step, either on the deck railing or the stairs. Then when I round the corner of the trailer toward the east side with a cup of birdseed in my hand, you should hear the rousing chorus of “Here it comes!”

Yes, our yard sparrows epitomize the thought that “hope is a thing with feathers.” Unlike Emily’s poem, however, these birds in their extremity (or not) are always asking crumbs from me. Especially on such a frigid winter morning as this.

Hollow Tales

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was the word HOLLOW

My first thought was that old novel by Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I suppose in his day it was quite the horror tale; in our day zombies have replaced the Headless Horseman as a source of fear and revulsion. Or are they passé by now? Every era has its terrors.

Giving rein to my curiosity, I did a search on Amazon for HOLLOW to see what books would pop up with that as a key word. The first one I came across might well have done Washington Irving proud. Or rather, Jules Verne with his Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. This indie writer is informing his readers – and intends to use the Bible to back up his idea – that the Earth is hollow. A paperback, the book is listed at $25 US. The title gives the game away:
World Top Secret: Our Earth IS Hollow!: The Scientific, Scriptural and Historical Evidence that Our Earth Is Hollow!

I wonder where all that lava comes from? I suppose he can explain.

In a lengthy, rambling blurb, with terms a physicist would understand – and hotly dispute, I’m sure! – the writer suggests, “Perhaps the stories of explorers going into the interior of the Earth, the Sun and other planets and finding human populations living there are based on a truth that God creates planets to be inhabited, not so much on their exteriors, but on their interiors. The Lost Ten Tribes are rumored to have found an entrance into the hollow of the Earth in the North and explorers who have been there through the North Polar Opening report that the people there have built a fantastic civilization with flying saucer technology, long lives, perfect health and an economy of abundance.”

If this were true, the folks inside can’t be human beings. We here on the surface may dream of a Utopia, but we sure haven’t been able to build a world like this!

For example, another book listed is A LONG WALK TO WATER by Linda Sue Park. This is apparently a short but poignant adventure based on the real-life experiences of one of the Lost Boys in the Sudan and his sister, caught up in, and divided by, the Sudanese conflict. “A powerful tale of perseverance and hope,” one reviewer writes.
The writer “interweaves the stories of two Sudanese children who overcome mortal dangers to improve their lives and the lives of others.” The #1 Bestseller in the category of Children’s Historical Fiction on Military & Wars, it’s been highly rated by its readers. I’m not sure how this story connects with the word HOLLOW, but doesn’t it sound intriguing?

Thinking again of the prompt word, I’ll close with this oft-quoted Irish blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

October Passes

Hello Everyone. I suppose in many parts of the world, the month of October has passed into history, while we have only five hours left in this month. But I didn’t want to see it disappear without sending a note to those of you who are still following my blog.

As I said, for many of you November has started, and with it NaNoWriMo. I wonder how many of you are participating in the National November Writing Month this time around?

No NaNoWriMo for me this year. Rather, I’ve been painting landscape scenes. We’re having a little Luncheon and Craft Sale at the seniors’ residence where I cook part time and I’m planning to get a table there to sell some of my amateur paintings. Each vendor will look after selling their own stuff, whatever handmade crafts or baking they may do. This will take place one day toward the end of November, so I still have a few weeks to paint up a storm — and some calm seas, some mountain valleys, a few prairie scenes, the odd bird.

Other than that, life is going on as usual for us. The chillier weather has come; last weekend the ground was wet three times from passing cloud sprinkles. (Can’t really say bursts.) We’ll welcome whatever comes, and the frost in the mornings has helped to settle the road dust.

We celebrated our daughter’s 50th birthday on Thursday, then I invited the family here for dinner today and we celebrated again. Fifty is quite the milestone on the highway of life!

Now I shall leave you with this quote — and try to think of next month in this light. 🙂