you promise us a child
who will establish a household of love and justice.
May our hearts receive the Christ child
and leap for joy;
may our mouths be filled with songs of praise
and announce glad tidings of peace;
and may our lives reflect our hope for this new, peaceful household.
This has been an extraordinary week. I lost my friend, Mary, to cancer; and my brother, Marshall is thankfully home from a week at the hospital after treatment. He entered the hospital at death's door, the doctors determined he was in the process of dying, his children were called in to say their last goodbyes, and we all began to grieve our oldest brother, even though he still had breath and life in him. Accordingly, as Fate goes, Marshall began to improve each day until my brother Addison arrived, and then ... well, not long thereafter, he was discharged and is now resting at home! Our family is grateful for what could possibly be another year with him, if all goes well. We are hopeful, yes, we are.
I am also grateful for knowing Mary Smith. I met her about ten years ago, through a mutual friend. Mary introduced me to good friend Tom Phillips, who has always been there for me when I needed someone to support me emotionally and artistically or when I needed someone with whom to argue politics...and like Mary, from whom I took political advice every now and again.
Mary also introduced me to Rhonda Reeves from Ace Weekly, with whom I had a thriving writing association and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for the opportunity to cover the arts and activism here in the Bluegrass and for the chance to develop my writing skills for public consumption.
Mary brought me other blessings, too. She gave me her Christmas cactus before she left to move out west, and it thrived and bloomed and grew -- so much so that I broke off a piece, at Mary's request, and mailed it to her so she could enjoy it as well. Another aspect of my relationship with Mary was that she appreciated all religions, she adored the music of Christmas, the meditative value of Buddhism, and was truly someone with a heart that would make God happy. She taught me the theory of feng shui, that is, to rid myself of 'stuff' in my life in order to allow good things to come in, to happen. I sort of bickered with her about that theory (I really don't like to throw anything away, and will hold on to bitter memories and resentments forever due to my refusal to discard bad reminders of bad times), until one day, I cleared ten garbage bags full of papers and clothes and not-so-sweet memories out of my closet...disposed of them all properly, gave the goods away to those who needed or wanted them, and then I had more room in my closet. My closet was happier, and I was happier. Soon thereafter, things began to turn from grim to giddy in my life. I met new people who brought laughter and romance and music into my life. I got a new job, one that actually pays enough for me to pay my bills. I also was given the opportunity to write, sing, play -- all the things I love -- for a little bit of money and a whole lot of smiles. Every time I'd confess such purging to Mary, she would just encourage me more; she was not smug about her knowledge. I like that in a person...I treasured it in her.
Mary also shared my love for my choir, she would show up at rehearsals to listen (especially dress rehearsals with orchestras) and sit up in the balcony, right in the 'sweet spot' and enjoy the loveliness of our Glorias and Requiems and Hallelujias. She would remark about each performance, enough so I knew she was paying attention and also was cherishing every moment.
Mary also appreciated my role as a Stephen Minister and when a dear friend passed away suddenly, Murty (that was my nickname for her) called from her home out west at midnight to break the news, and asked me to help with the arrangements because our friend's family was devastated and needed some assistance.
|We had great lobster-fests, Mary and I did - and her dogs|
were ever so happy when we did. They waited until we were
done before they got the leftovers, which they took to like
She was a huge UK sports fan but had adopted the Oregon Ducks in her stay there. However, once (while she was living in Eugene), UK had a football game going on and she could not view it on television, so she asked me to text her updates. Knowing her mischievous nature, I proceeded to text every down, every call, everything detail of the game to her, totally overloading her with information. She finally said, "Jeez, Kim, you lost your calling; you totally are a better sports commentator than anyone on television!" My texting fingers finally gave out and I started to slow down the messages, and Mary, being Mary, just finally wrote back: it's okay, honey, take a time out and just give me the points as they're scored!" That was Mary. She appreciated life, and she lived her life like a candle in the windmill. (She would've liked that lil saying, me thinks :)
|I just can't pass up posting this pic for any reason at all,|
but today, am posting it because it was one of Mary's
favorite ridiculous photos...and she loved her doggies so...
I could say a whole lot more about Mary, but my tears are staining my Holiday blouse, and so I shall leave you with her essence of aloha, namaste, love, contentment, forgiveness, peace, balance, and most of all Hope.
I hope you all come to know someone as brash, hilarious, loyal and honest as Mary Smith. I hope you have the opportunity to stretch out of your comfort zone and find the music, the song, the wonder of all that is glorious.
peace and hope,