I can admire the nuances running through spiritual references to the ‘Potter and His wheel’. Clay, with all its variables of texture, moisture and color, rising effortlessly in the middle of the spinning table, responding to the contours of the artisan’s skilled hands. And who can forget the scene in Ghost watching Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore taking the craft in a whole new direction? But the form of the potter I’ve enjoyed the most would be Harry Potter. I know I should feel something between the teen angst and the accolades from all manners of literazzi in their praise of JK Rowling’s tapestry of Light and Dark, Good and Evil and everything she’s woven in between the covers of all seven books that follow Harry Potter and his band. And I do. But you know what sticks with me still? The word ‘gob smacked’. I absolutely love it. Not pretentious, the phrase cuts straight to describing a moment we’ve all felt…two words and done. Gob smacked. Brilliant!
Murta is a formidable woman. Not mean or cruel, Murta could have been an East German border guard in a former life. I imagine her to think of the Marine Corps as a warm and fuzzy place. Though not Manager of Requisitions, make no mistake, Murta manages reqs. Co-workers moan when they have to go to Murta. “Can’t I go talk to Leslee, Lindsey or even John?” For some things, all roads lead to Murta. And I’ve sometimes wondered if she doesn’t like it that way. Superfluous requests for teal colored post-its or rubberized paperclips don’t even get presented. You don’t waste Murta’s time. For the last month or so, I’ve been working sixty-five hour weeks. From Seven in the morning to well after Midnight with four hours off in between. Sleep is more precious than gold and I’ve gotten very creative about catching it when and where I can. Nutrition is another concern. How many frozen breaded chicken patties can one man eat in a week? I withhold my answer except to say that with a microwave, a can of mushroom soup and some ramen, I get what I need and I eat it as quickly as I can throw it together. But I am not the Rock of Gibraltar. I can feel the cracks. ‘Normal’ has followed Elvis’ lead and left the building. I’ve even let Cable go. Why spend well over $100+ for a bundle I’m never home (or awake) to watch? Though I would have never foreseen it, I don’t mind a darkened TV. I don’t even miss it. What I hadn’t counted on was the silence in the house issuing from an absence of background noise. Compounding the condition is my sound machine being whacked (as you’ve heard) and my CD player? It has decided it’s done. It won’t even power up. Further exacerbating the silence is the transistor radio I bought, billed as the world’s smallest most powerful radio which is a lie. I should have suspected skullduggery was afoot when I opened it to find only three AAA batteries were required to power its magnificent billing. I’m lucky if it pulls in the student station at the nearby community college – and that’s only when the antennae is pointed just right on even numbered Tuesdays. So except when I’m going back and forth to work, there are no news bulletins or the sounds of mindless talking between well-manicured co-hosts. But at least before, I had felt connected in the scant moments when a bit of mindless distraction would have been nice.
But it’s time for bed. 3-hours are valuable and Ryan Seacrest can get by without me. A couple of weeks ago, bits of fruit started showing up on my desk. Bananas, cherries, apricots, a mango or two…and it was being delivered with no fanfare and not much more in conversation by no one other than Murta! We would speak. She would reference a local fruit market in her neighborhood. I would say “thank you” and that would be it, which I suspected was just fine with Murta. Why had she felt led to begin her fruit runs? Not a clue. How did she know my fuel intake had become so monochromatic? Not a clue. And why me? Still no clue. The other day it was a banana with a twist. “If I brought you something, would you accept it?” Odd question as the banana was already half peeled on its way to consumption there on the spot. “Sure, what is it?” “I didn’t say” and with that, she was gone. Now, I’m really scratching my head. Next day she walks up to me with one of those good paper bags, you know the kind with handles on them. “Here. We had a garage sale last weekend and my husband told me I had to sell these.” “And?” “And I didn’t. I had tagged one for $5 and the other for $10. I didn’t like the way this lady offered me $7 for both and I didn’t like the looks of her jerk for a teenager that was obviously going to be getting my stuff so I said, ‘No’.” With that, she handed me the bag and was gone. My pen just ran out of ink! Seriously? My Xeno 1.0 from Staples, my favorite pen has just run dry. What a perfect metaphor for the last month or so. I remember the old white-haired wise ones in my tribe saying we were never given more hardship than we could bear; there were lessons to be learned in the trials. “Nothing is meted out to us that doesn’t matter”. As a kid, I remember acting like I knew what ‘mete’ meant. So as soon as no grown-ups were around, I made a beeline for the dictionary: mete1 (meet) v.t. met•ed, met•ing. 1. to distribute or apportion by measure; allot; dole (usu. fol. by out): to mete out praise. 2. Archaic. to measure. [before 900; Middle English; Old English metan; c. Old High German mez(z)an to measure, akin to Old Irishmidithir (he) judges, Greek mḗdesthai to provide for] SOURCE: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mete Mete is all about measure (meter anyone?). Apportionment. And this week, I came to a whole new appreciation for the power side of mete…the part after the = sign in the equation. It isn’t what is dumped on our plates that is nearly as significant as how we rise to the occasion. That is the true measure. I have found gold in and amidst the grueling schedule that is mine for the moment. I have found a sense of honor in my sacrifice. I have not wilted away and I have enjoyed more wonderful fruits and the vitamins that come inside them than I ever would have on my own. And par for the course, what I’ve truly needed has come to me via avenues I could have never predicted; channels I would have never expected, unlikely portals like the one named Murta. In the bag, a brand new, still in its zippered pouch, a queen sized mattress cover…the thick comfy kind – Am I going to sleep well tonight or what? And the other? A robust, fancy name AM-FM clock radio with a big display, 2 alarm settings and crowning its’ gleaming gun-metal gray casing? A CD player on top. Gob smacked. How did she know? No way she could have – no way! She knows nothing of my Life. And of all the things that could directly improve my quality-of-life at the moment, these two were the two. They constituted nothing more and not one smidgen less than a perfect answer. Unforeseen, precise with no wasted motion or margin of error. I said, “Thank you. You have no idea how…” but she was already gone. So today, I sat at my kitchen table. Lit a white candle. Looked into its flame for a moment and picturing Murta in my mind’s eye, I said “Thank you”. Like me, you know your Life can get intense in a heartbeat. But in the words of the most unlikely high priest and cultural shaman Mick Jagger, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes well you just might find you get what you need”. I’m going to be particularly open to doing something for someone else this week. I don’t know who that will be or even if I will know them. The good news is that like the lump of clay on the wheel, I don’t have a clue how it’ll turn out. What I want is to be as tuned into the Cosmos as Murta was. I’m just asking for the awareness to go with the impulse to ‘pay it forward’ somewhere along the way, no matter how inane it might seem at the time. Like Murta, I probably won’t have a clue as to the significance of acting on a spontaneous hunch, but I know it’s my part to do it all the same. ‘Go play with the clay!’ That’s all that is being asked of me. That’s it. Nothing more measured than that and not a smidgen less. Cool, isn’t it? So let’s start some real trouble this week and go love one another. We can always blame Murta.
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission. Visit Eric and see his other work at: http://www.ericephoto.com
German Women After the War: https://dan4kent.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/67d00-truemmel2bfrauen.jpg ; Before it gets this bad from M Stagg, another WordPress Blogger: https://voluptuaproject.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/taking-a-break.jpg?w=950; Sketchbook challenge Patra’s Arts and Crafts Blog by Gina E – cool site, jump on over and visit-: http://patracatsart.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_archive.html; Cruellas pen goes dry pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/332070172496759713/; Haley Joel Osment in Pay It Forward: http://imallinsolutions.com/sobriety/15-signs-sober-person/
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