is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Where'd My Patience Go?

Cracked a helmet playing peewee football,
got a hole-in-one at the famous Greenbrier
and broke records selling"Sucker Plucker,"
a tobacco chemical our father invented it for
Procter & Gamble.   He also met
Muhammed Ali, Arnold Palmer, all sorts
of golfers.  For me, he will always be
remembered as we see him here,
as the golden-haired, laughing jokester
who always made the Honor Roll, but
didn't really give a rat's patootie about
accolades.

I've been unsettled lately.  My job is going well, my choir is rehearsing the Requiem by Mozart, my health is stabilizing, but I cannot relax.  I can't chill.  I have unresolved thoughts that linger and sting my conscience.  I want something to happen...and I want it now.  Not tomorrow, not next week - now.  Now is the time.

Kelli, Marshall, Tom - front
Kimmy, Addison and Karen
Yet it is not up to me to decide the whens and wheres of life...it is up to me to stand still, hold on, have patience that God's will shall be done, in His time, not mine.  I have to give Time time.  It's advice I've given several times to my care receivers in Stephen Ministry.  Stephen Ministry, above all else, teaches the caregiver that we must let go and not think we can solve everything, or fix folks' problems.  The most important thing we can do is listen, actively listen, to someone whose transition to another destination is causing them pain, difficulty, anger, weakness.  We can be a spiritual presence, we can pray, and we can be strong, if we have patience. 

I think my Patience is on sabbatical or something, though, because I am in a rush...a rush to finish my work at the office, rush to get home and make music, to write blogs and essays, to help 'fix' friends who are groping in the darkness to find some light. Where am I going to find that virtue that eludes me so?  Will it come back to me?  Is this dis-ease ever going away?  I don't like myself when I'm in doubt, and I don't like myself when I see my flaws in the different roles I play in my life.  And that, my lambchops, is really why I feel unsettled.  I am imperfect, and make mistakes that I later regret. 
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My biggest regret today is that I have not always been the best sister to my dying brother.  He is in a hospital in North Carolina, I cannot travel to see him, and he's unable to talk on the telephone, unable to eat, unable to walk, weak from the cancer that has ravaged his once robust and strong soul.  His children are there, and are making sure he knows he is loved, and truthfully, that's a helluva lot more important than me feeling guilty about the snipes and quarrels that siblings sometimes have.  They're being strong; they're comforting me, which is ridiculous. I used to hold them in my arms when they were babies, fish and swim with them as they were growing up, and comfort them when their Mom passed away.  I always want to be the fixer; I don't want to be the one who needs comforting. I don't want to need anything, the only thing I desire is the opportunity to serve those I love by being the best Kimmy I can be.  Sure, I like food. I like cuddling.  I like singing and playing...but the one activity that makes the happiest is when I can help someone see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I wish I could be there to talk to Marshall, remind him of the hole-in-one he made at the Greenbrier (my Dad was with him, and that night we all had lobster and champagne...it was a glorious eveninig).  I wish I could be there to remind him of all the friends he made throughout his life. 

I wish I could remind him of the time I fooled him into thinking that there was a "treat" that I'd found in one of my mother's old purses (we were looking for her Will).  He was so delighted that I had discovered this item, he opened the bottle, took a sniff, and said, "Wow, Kim, look!  Mom left us a joint!  And it's good stuff, here, smell!"  Of course, I had snuck the doobie into the medicine bottle and slipped it inside the purse...it was all I could do to not bust out laughing, but the joke was too good to spoil it.  The look on his face was priceless...because usually, it was Marshall who was the prankster, and my Mother would have never, ever left us a "marijuana cigarette," as she called them.  It makes me smile to remember that even though there were some not-so-brotherly moments, it was Marshall who changed my tire when it went flat; it was Marshall who was the anti-bully and who would stand up for anyone who was weaker and could not fight their challengers.  Indeed, it was Marshall who I had to rescue several times from his bouts of trouble, and I was more than happy to do it.  I wish I could help him out of his troubles now.

So, I have lots of wishes, don't I?  As he lies in a hospital, unable to speak only two words:  "water" and "sick," I feel helpless, not helpful.  I should be there for him...but I am able to convey messages to my niece Olivia, who is at his bedside and tells him that we love him, tells him I wish I had been a better sister and that I am sorry for any feud or hurtful thing I had ever said to him.  I wish I could tell him myself...but that's just not logistically possible. 

My niece and nephew Olivia Thomas, Marshall Neal Thomas
and me at the PET MILK reception.

Marshall also has a daughter, Cora, and granddaugher,
Lacey. 
What is possible is for me to keep praying for patience, for understanding and guidance.  It is possible for me to somehow find acceptance that this soul -- this friend of 54 years, the boxer, the golfer, baseball/football/basketball player, this boy who used to play on the see-saw with me and climb the cherry trees to the very top and still scamper down before Mom caught us -- his soul is about to pass from this Life.  I want to celebrate those memories; and I want him to be in peace, knowing he is a redeemed and forgiven child of God.

I have no conclusion to this blog.  It has no beginning and it has no end, really.  Life goes on within us, and without us.  I do, however,
pray for peace,
Kimmy

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