Yellow Roses for Roger

August 11 marked the 2nd anniversary of Roger’s death. I bought some yellow Roses, took two tied with ribbon, and placed them on the memorial plaque below the fountain in our church courtyard.  A friend went with me.  We sat on the bench nearby, and talked of Roger.  I read the poem about the Swan by Rilke, she prayed for me.  We honored Roger in that quiet way, then went to dinner at one of the restaurants that used to be of favorite of Roger’s in Menlo Park.   It was nice to be where no one else knew us for this private time of remembering Roger.  I realized how different my feelings were from a year ago.  I am in a different place emotionally now, altho I will never forget to mourn his loss.

Perhaps some of the change is due to the silent retreat I had the week before; it was not coincidental  that it occurred at the time it did ( Aug 1-7).  A line from one of the poems read there sticks with me:  “I open my heart to possibility”. I can feel that in some ways I am doing that. I have closed the door on some things, and the way I do many things is so different from when Roger was here. And while I can’t really see my life several years from now, I can see the present, and make tentative plans for the future that will probably include more group-type trips, and fewer timeshares. This weekend I went to an ‘update weekend’ for donors at Mt Hermon, and at first I felt rather isolated as so many couples and families were there. Then I heard the report of 6 widows who attended family camp as a group this summer and I thought, “I could do that”, and I heard about 5 military wives who attended as a group( with their children) because their husbands were all in Afghanistan, and my heart was warmed with how God can work in spite of things not being the perfect scene we imagine.

Travel is still a struggle, as Roger always ‘had my back” making sure I hadn’t left something in a motel room, or on the plane, and he did 90% of the driving, almost all if we rented a car. Who does this now? Me! That’s why I even have a sign on the inside of my apartment door, “did you remember your key?” So while I still miss the way it was, I dwell in the possibility of life as it is, for whatever time I have left on this earth.
And particularly for now, when I am still mobile and able to be active. May you dwell in the possibility of where your life is now, in this present time, too.

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The Silent Retreat

While I’ve had experience with brief periods of silence during a retreat, this was to be my first 6-day local retreat ( altho I was a daily commuter) involving about 5 hours in the afternoon each day  of what they called ‘white space’…time to think and pray. Also, no talking at mealtime!

I had a challenging time before arrival, as I’d stopped nearby to do some errands, and tripped and fell on the sidewalk while returning to my car.  Thankfully a helpful young couple picked me up off the ground, and ascertained that nothing was broken.  I hobbled down to the drugstore a couple of blocks away, bought some bandaids and checked the damage in the drugstore restroom.  My knees hurt more than they were bleeding, which was a good sign, and my palms were only slightly bleeding.  So patched together with bandages, I continued on.  Falls truly are the  bane of older persons lives!

A well known speaker (Sister Macrina  Wiederkehr from Arkansas) was the retreat leader.

Thankfully she was just called ‘Sister Macrina” and I never did earn how to pronounce her last name! She’s a great speaker, though, and based most of her meditations on two of her latest books.  Silence among others is one thing, but as anyone who has tried meditation of any kind knows it’s quieting the speakers in your head that’s the real challenge!  As a commuter, I was there from roughly 9 am to 9 pm Friday thru Tuesday, with  only a preliminary session on Thusday night ( I was glad of that, as I was in need of some Tylonal by the end of the evening! ) Each morning and evening I barely had time to feed the cat and check for urgent email before repeating the process again the next day.  Portia, my cat,  was not pleased with the limited attention. By about Tuesday ( the last full day), I was falling into the rhythm of the day, and writing in my journal, and gaining some depth.  Now to continue some form of this practice in ‘ordinary days’ as they say.  I leave you one comment to chew on: “what if we’re eating the shells, and not the peanuts?”..and here is a brief poem I wrote:

 

Noonday Bells

Bong, Bong, Bong, the bells at

Corpus Christi Convent rang out.

Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong

Replied the bells at the retreat center,

Then a chorus of bells

ringing in  conversation—

And then silence.