The Cusp

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November 27, 2018, Prescott-

As I look back on being 67, living my 68th year, there have been some delirious high points- The wedding gathering of my youngest niece and nephew-in-law, the marriage of my son and daughter-in-law, the deep, loving welcomes I received at some friends’ home in Mishawaka, IN; at Auberge Bishop, in Montreal; at the above-mentioned gathering, in Philadelphia; in my in-laws’ home, in Florida; at a friend’s house in Salisbury, NC;  at a family gathering of some friends, in Crossville, TN; at Convergence at Arcosanti.

These loving environments almost overwhelmed me, but they shouldn’t have.  I have been very well-treated, for many years now, by the vast majority of those closest to me.  I am not sure why the shadows, the relatively few dark episodes of the year now coming to a close, seem to loom so large.  In objective terms, they pale beside all the times I have been greeted by my dear friends, at regular events around our area.

My steadfast friends range from those I see daily, at work, to those I see 2-3 times a week, at faith events, to those who, for whatever reason, I rarely see or with whom I seldom speak.  Then, too, there are the thousand-plus fields of people who regularly read my posts, and who have showered so much love on me, some for nearly a decade.  There are those I have met, who have become friends for the long term and others who are nice enough, but whose inner pain has taken them out of my life, after just a few encounters.  I last saw one of those people, not two days ago.

As with any year, there were farewells:  My mother-in-law and her older sister; one of Penny’s maternal cousins; a dedicated staff member at a Baha’i Institute, northeast of here; a long-time friend in New Zealand and several friends and elders from my childhood, most prominently an upstreet neighbour, who was virtually one of my surrogate fathers.

There were also hellos, some fleeting- like the woman who got me to put Penny’s and my wedding bands on my right ring finger and another woman who got me to attend a Game Night at a local coffee house. Neither were very long in my life. There are also the hoop dancers of Phoenix and the crews at Ms. Natural’s, Cuppers and Rustic Pie, here in town. These friendships are more likely to last.

The year brought me to California, in late winter, and from Nevada -to Quebec -to Florida and back to Arizona.  I camped in both rain and clear sky, spent a night in a private condominium,   stayed in four hostels, a business hotel, seven motels, three comfortable homes and slept one night in my car.

It has been a year of risks and rewards, more so than some years. It has prepared me for more.

The Fast: Day 13- Radiant Acquiescence

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March 14, 2018, Prescott-

We each put up with a certain amount of nonsense, on any given day.  Whether it is following a ridiculous instruction, from someone who is in charge of us (parent, teacher, boss, police officer, or random Joe who has connections); waiting in a line, whilst the person at the head finishes a casual conversation or adjusts the money in his wallet; instinctively speeding up a bit, when the driver behind comes rushing towards your car’s rear end, or toots the horn or pumps his fist/shouts/point to her watch.

These are accommodations and we can either continue to put up with them, get our backs up and “fight back” or get creative, as in the person who responds to an impatient person behind him, by slowing down to the posted speed limit. (Oh, the HORROR!”)

The Divine, however, may test us with these scenarios, or with far more serious woes (disease, bankruptcy, divorce, ostracism- catastrophes of a Jobian magnitude).  Job was a model of radiant acquiescence.  He could see the eventual end of all his troubles, as horrific as they were.

Those who’ve been here a while know that I have been through several such troubles.  They’ve been balanced, of course, with good fortune: A stormy, but loving, marriage; a fine young man for a son; a stable, and basically loving, extended family;  a checkered, but honestly driven, career; a small, but stable, financial base;  a wealth of experiences, both at various Home Bases and on the road/trail.

Radiant acquiescence means enduring the downs of life, whilst knowing the silver lining defines the cloud.