Friday, December 12, 2008

Standing Knee Deep In a River and Dying of Thirst

I have long been a fan of Kathy Mattea. I have loved her music since her first song on the radio "Where Have You Been". I enjoy her music because she has a clean pure voice and she is an authentic person(no frill or airs) she is just who she is. This is one of my most favorite songs of hers.It speaks to a place I am at in life and a place I think we all must someday go through.I encourage you to go to YouTube or I Tunes and listen to some of her music.I admire her most recent work Coal because like me she came from those Appalachian Roots and she has never forgotten that.

I thought of this song today for a variety of reasons today. I have found it hard to get into the Christmas Spirit this season.I think it is because with each passing year there are fewer faces of those I love here and more on the other side.I don't think I have had the Christmas Spirit since my mom died.She loved the holiday and it just isn't the same without her. You know people say loss gets easier with time and it does but the holidays always make you feel it more acutely. I may sound like a bit of the Scrooge but it is just how I feel.I know my husband feels it too for even though he still has me all of his family(sisters,parents) are gone and it does make you feel quite alone when you know between the two of us all we have left of immediate families are my sister and her children.

The other reason I thought of this song is because like much of the country we are going through some rough times financially.I have never in my 24 years of nursing faced being laid off or cut backs and the largest hospital in the state which employs 13,000 people is facing lay offs and hiring freezes for the foreseeable future.It makes me sad that I can't give to those I love what I want to be able to.I pray that the new president like FDR before him can find a way to get the country on its feet again.It makes me so irritated at the state the previous 8 years of the present administration has gotten us into.I know that there a loads of families like us who are just trying to get through one day at a time.

So back to the song. I think this song made me think as I have for the past couple of months about what I do have and where we go from here. So I hope in the coming year to live a life that makes me feel my thirst is quenched. I think I can do that by understanding that life is a series of ebb and flows and that like the seals I see at my favorite Oregon Coast beaches I just have to ride the waves.I will remind myself that gratitude is the key to seeing this all through for if I am grateful with what I do have then I find myself being more content. Gratitude for me quites the "wants" and makes me understand that there is very little I truly "need".I have also found that the things that give my life meaning cost very little and/or nothing at all like books(from the library),music,and nature. In the past couple of years I found that I feel the most near to god in nature not in a church and luckily I live in one of the most beautiful regions of the country where beauty and nature abounds at every turn. I plan this coming year to take full advantage of the Northwest's natural beauty through picnics,hiking,camping etc.If I need reminding of the majesty of the Creator I need only look at MT.HOOD in the Alpenglow or at sunrise on my way to work.
I feel a stirring in me right now that I hope awakens in the coming year. I want to be more creative and more open. I tend to be reserved and I want to open up and develop some good long lasting friendships with many of you who visit here. I feel a special kinship with you all.I think friendship is the one of the best "thirst quenchers" around.How about you? I have found that very often I don't reach out to people or let them see the real me for fear I will be rejected as I was growing up but I have to understand that their are lots of people out there just like me searching for someone to walk with them along the journey of life.Isn't any journey more fun and easier with someone to go with you?
I plan to follow the book Simple Abundance (that I found at the Goodwill)in the coming year as I attempt to live a life of Simple Abundance. I would love it if of some of you would join me on this journey.

I leave you with another of Kathy Mattea's songs.SEEDS.

Sometimes I stop on my way home

And watch the children play

And I wonder if they wonder What they'll be some day

Some will dream a big dream And make it all come true

While others go on dreaming Of things they'll never do

(Chorus)We're all just seeds In God's hands

We start the same

But where we land Is sometimes fertile soilAnd sometimes sand

We're all just seeds In god's hands

I saw a friend the other day I hardly recognized

He'd done a lot of living Since I'd last looked in his eyes

He told his tale of how he'd failed

The lessons he'd been taught

But he offered no excuses

And he left me with this thought

(Repeat Chorus)

And as I'm standing at a crossroads once again

i'm reminded we're all the same when we begin

And in the end?

(Repeat Chorus)(Tag)

We're all just seeds In god's hands


Willow said...

Me? In the years I have lost my mother and father and aunts and uncles, I've focused on my children and husband and loved them more. I hope that you will find close friends (and your sister and her children) and hold them close. Some years it's ok to be 'simple' in your celebration.

It's easy to encourage someone with a smile- just a simple smile.

Have a good weekend!

oh said...

Hi, Yolanda, This is a beautiful entry, full of truth. And personal honesty. I haven't read the book you mention but it's title sounds "real", sounds good.
I think the country is about to heal, about to rebuild in a lot of ways and to heal.
There is hope. Whenever there is hope, there is good.
And I enjoy stopping here to read you; I hope you continue blogging.

Happy Holidays!!!!

Kathleen Grace said...

You are so right. Part of my problem is the fact that my husband has been laid off since Sept. and we are feeling the pinch, part is just things changing. I wish you the best, you are in a field that I would have thought would have a lot of security, but I guess if people don't have insurance they don't get medical care unless its life or death. I wish you the best. Keep trying, Ihave found there is some joy in making the effort, even if we don't always feel like it.

Marg said...

Thank-you for introducing me to Kathy Mattea. Very fitting and soothing.
I understand what you said, about your MOM. My mom has been gone now for 8 years and my sister and I call weekly reminding ourselves how we have to continue to stand in the gaps. But the gaps get so big sometimes....
Bless you.

Shelby said...

If I do move out there soon, we will do stuff together and walk on the beach and talk and talk and talk. And laugh and cry.

You are already a friend. Thank you.


Leenie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. And, yes, holidays after a death are tough. My mom went to be with Dad in July. Thought I was doing okay until I pulled out her little tree still decorated from last year. I just keep thinking how happy they must be together again. Like Matteah too.

Border Explorer said...

I loved that video. Thank you! I love your reflections, Yolanda.

Paula said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt post. You have such a wonderful writing style and said elegantly what so many of us are thinking and feeling this year. My Mom is gone as well, and I am very thankful of our large family. We have held us all together as needed. I can't imagine how only children deal with the loss of a parent, or, like in your husbands case, being the only one left. It's got to be terribly hard.
I'm raising my tea-cup, toasting to your post on being a creative being and finding solid lasting friendships in the year to come. I was a shy, awkward girl growing up and that girl stills seems to raise her head quite often, so I truly sympathize with you on this.
Blessings, my friend!

SandyCarlson said...

Oh, this song gave me the chills. Thank you for introducing her to me. All new!

I can relate to what you say about the holidays. When my Gram passed 26 years ago, she took Christmas with her. Sad but true in our disjointed family. But she taught me love, and she left that here. The holidays can hurt. I wish you peace.

Mimi said...

as we get older (much older) our Christmas celebration becomes much less about the decorations and gift giving and more about the reason for the season...
our Christmas is very simple at home...but we so enjoy the Cantata and all the Christmas programs at church...

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

You don't sound like a Scrooge. I lost my brother on St. Nicholas day of 2000 and by December of 2001 my dad was dead too. Not a year goes by when I don't think of them while putting up the tree. The losses are hard this time of year.

I'm not familiar with Kathy Mattea. I've jotted her name down. When I get more time, I'll have to check her out.

Karen said...

This is such a lovely post--it feels so real. I will hold you in my thoughts, and pray that you won't be laid off.

Our world is so scary right now, but I'm feeling such hope. I believe that things will get better, and that good change is coming. And your plan to spend more time among the beauty that surrounds you sounds wonderful--now more than ever, we need to focus on beauty and gratitude...

sizzie said...

Hi, This is the first time I have seen your blog, I noticed we like some of the same books and authors. Thank you for the Kathy Mattea suggestion, I'll go listen. Thanks

Jules said...

I have really enjoyed reading your post - food for thought!!!

Rocky Mtn. Girl said...

I am not much into the Christmas season but I never have been. My story is really complicated but I'm sure you have read about it on my blogs. It's only my husband and I in life and he tries to make Christmas for me because of all the child abuse I have gone through but honestly, I just cannot seem to get into it but I don't want to disappoint him and I just don't think I can't get that spirit that had been shattered so many times over the course of my life.
What really makes me happy is to have a friend. A true genuine friend that isn't afraid of who I am and what I am. Because of my epilepsy, I have so many that can't handle that and will only stay for a little while until they witness the first seizure and they run away. I guess I can't blame them but still, it hurts.
I'm an outcast and have been for years. I just want to be accepted.
It's sad and the only best friend I have in the whole world is my husband. I don't know what I would do without him. He has been there always for me when everyone else had walked away, or teased me...

I hope all goes well for you.

Connie said...

Hi Friend! Thanks for visiting my blog! Looking around on your blog I see we have many things in common.

My father passed away on Christmas eve 26 years ago and I still get sad. My younger brother passed away 5 years ago in November. My Best friend last December. The holidays are bittersweet. I miss them and remember them with great love and fondness!

Best Wishes and Blessings. Peace & Love, Connie

yolanda said...

YO! landa! (im sure you've never heard THAT before ;-) )

this was a beautifully emotive piece. thank you for sharing your feelings. ive really enjoyed reading your blog. ill continue to stop in :-)

thank you for stopping by mine. wishing you peace and love this season.


Cloudia said...

Gratitude . . . . Aloha-

PERBS said...

Enjoyed reading your essay. It only takes one other person to share friendship. I wish you a wonderful Christmas season with many blessings and no lay off.
Beautiful words to end your blog.

You dropped by today and asked me about the snow. We got some but it all blew away and by afternoon, who knew it was ever here? On the other hand Portland and other cities across the river had so much that every school was closed today after Sunday's snowfall. I am really sad because I didn't get a chance to take photos because I was at church and then it stopped except for scattered showers that melted quickly.

Hope your Christmas is a blessing! Both my parents and grandparents, twin sister, oldest sister and two brothers are already celebrating in heaven.
I have a brother in Idaho, a sister in Michigan and me and three children far away and 4 grandchildren not close either. I am going to make the best of it and remember the good times and the not so good and how we got through it anyway.


tipper said...

Love the song-and this very thoughtful post. A scary time for us too-financially. And I agree holidays makes us miss those who aren't in our lives any longer with a fierceness that can sometimes be pushed away at other times of the year.

Mary Ann said...

Life is full of ebbs and flows. Thank you for this posting. I needed it today. I hope you have a good day.

susanna said...

Beautiful post. As my mother and my husband's parents have been getting older, I've been appreciating those moments when we are together. I don't want to imagine a time when they won't be around for the holidays. That thought in the back of my mind makes me so grateful to have them in my life now. I guess that's also why having family traditions during the holidays are important, too. Little reminders of certain people and places.

And yes, I hear you on feeling frustrated with our current economy and tense about the upcoming year. We're not sure what is going to happen with work, either. Your plans to spend more time in nature (deep breaths of fresh air...ahhhh) and appreciating what you already have are good ideas.