Will Anyone Notice?

by Cynthia Johnson on September 30, 2015

It was early Monday morning and as I sat down on the front porch, the cool air seemed to whisper as it wafted by me, that summer drifted away during the night as we all slept. I felt a bit robbed. Although I welcome the freshness autumn brings, on this particular morning I found myself saddened by the loss of summer as if the air itself was speaking to me, and I didn’t want to listen. I felt almost childish in my irritation that a more serious season was dawning.  The heat radiating through my coffee cup warmed my soul as I attempted to wake up from another busy weekend.  I sat quietly listening to the sounds of a Monday morning in suburbia; the sounds of car doors shutting and the soft rushing of the traffic by sleepy commuters. Children saying goodbye to parents being dropped off at the sitter across the street, the fall air rustling through the trees and the faint sound of the courthouse on main street ringing out to us all its eight o clock—yet this morning it sounded like time itself telling me it’s later than I think.

Dave and I had been sitting in the same place twelve hours before, when he mentioned that he had not seen the old man up the street (he rode his bike every day stopping everyone in his path) and, he added, his house was up for sale.  Perhaps I should say he stopped everyone in their path.  I am not proud to own this, but on many occasions I was in route somewhere else and found myself trying to get away from talking to him.  I think every neighborhood has that person who is the informant.  He was outside watching and reporting to everyone the suspected details the day our neighbor committed suicide.   I am really unsure just how old he was, probably not as old as he seemed.  If I had to guess, I would say he most likely took an early retirement for medical reasons.  He didn’t seem quite right; his reasoning was off although it was not really noticeable at first.  He always warned you of what was coming down the pike, whether the latest flu outbreak or trouble in the neighborhood, still he was friendly but more noticeably, he was lonely. As we sat there trying to remember the last time we saw him, I felt sad and admittedly ashamed.  I wondered silently how I could have been so calloused.  I drive past his house every day, and yet I never put two and two together or even realized I hadn’t seen him.

It seems as if each of us lives in our own little vacuum like the canister that gets sucked up inside the bank at the drive thru and I imagine we as people are much the same.  We get sucked back into our own life, each moment with its own mission; a direct route to something, someone or somewhere.

As I sat there pondering my unattended relationship with the rest of the world, I began noticing everything and everyone passing by: some fully taking in their surroundings chirping out a cheerful good morning to me, some walking by holding a leash with one hand and gripping their cell phone with the other.  People getting their morning workout, head phones pumping their blood with music keeping them in exercise mode—all plugged into their own private world like astronauts tethered to the space capsule while floating around outside of it.  I can’t say they are “unfriendly” they are just not where they are; they are somewhere else while they are somewhere else.  Just like I  am and probably just like you.

Still, I don’t think anyone should go unmissed if they don’t show up one day and especially not for months, but how do you know someone is missing if you aren’t there to notice?  I know full well the importance of being present and it is one of the main goals I encourage in others, and is the simple and fundamental definition of spiritual awakening; being awake and fully aware of what is happening in each moment, not just within, but all around us.

Time passes predictably yet what occurs within any allotment of time is not really very predictable at all.  We may know on any certain morning that we have a dentist appointment or a job to go to or that there is a high probability of rain, yet what happens in the crawlspaces between known occurrences often goes unnoticed.  Of course I am not the first to make this point, but life happens while we are on our way somewhere else or trying to make life happen.   Be sure you look up from your importance and the details of your own life every once in a while before you miss something, or more importantly before you don’t.

Until next time,

Cynthia

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It’s Not OK

by Cynthia Johnson on May 22, 2015

By Cynthia K. Johnson

As most of you know by now, we recently welcomed a new grandson who made his appearance two weeks early amidst carefully laid out plans by both parents and grandparents. We were preparing for the date of May 4th, however, complications set in and that plan fell null and void.  I found myself with not only a full book of clients but a three year old excited about the highly anticipated adventure we had been talking about for months.  Funny he was not surprised or disappointed by the change in plans, when you are three you live as you should, in the moment.

What was supposed to be three or four nights with grandparents, slid into six; all was fine until we traveled to the hospital to visit mom and dad and new brother. No one could have predicted three year old Gunnar would fall head over heels for day old Brokk.  Who knows what a three year old expects in a new brother, but whatever it was, the reality of his arrival exceeded those expectations he flipped and it hit him, the long wait was over, time to go home!  Upon explaining that he would have to wait another two days to take baby brother home, his joy turned to disbelief then sadness, and he buried his face in my son’s shoulder and sobbed; he was inconsolable.

The drive from York back to our house was heartbreaking.  For over an hour he cried out his mantra, “I want to go to my house!”  We pulled over and I got into the back seat to attempt to mend his heart.  I tried diverting and making other plans, I assured him he would be home with his family very soon, so on and so on.  Nothing helped, and in fact he amped up.  Feeling overwhelmed I sat back in my seat turned away and stared out the window through my own tears that had begun to stream down my cheeks.  After a few minutes, he became less vocal, his shoulders still heaving as his lungs sucked in some air between sobs.  Peace began to return not only to him but to Dave and to me.  As we drove in silence, we turned and looked at each other, as he recognized my sadness and his still quivering lip, I realized in that moment, that’s all he wanted.  Be with me Me’me’, I am sad.  It’s not okay—-and I should never have tried to make it okay.   When we pulled into the driveway he reluctantly came back inside, and it wasn’t long and we were making plans for the next day.

How often do we do that to people we care about?  We seem them sad, upset, suffering, and our first response is to make them un-sad, not upset, not suffering.  Who are we to decide that they shouldn’t feel pain, or pretend they don’t?     Gunnar’s story was a small example and one that had a very good ending.  But what about those whose lives are not okay and will not be okay?  When someone dies we are not okay.  When someone leaves a relationship, we are not okay, when someone is sick and in pain, it is not okay.

The day after we reunited Gunnar with his new family, the Baltimore riots began.  I couldn’t help but relate what Gunnar taught me over the weekend.  It’s not okay.  Glossing over decades of injustice, oppression, presumptions and ignorance is not okay.  Violence arose and the cries from the city were inconsolable.  Enough——Look at me!  I am here and I am hurting, be with me in my pain, at least acknowledge that it exists.  Reach out your hand so I can have the hope there is a way out.   The unique personality that is Baltimore City seemed to become the raised voice of the ignored that is tucked and hidden in the pockets of cities across our nation; hands being kept warm in the dark deep pockets, lined with soft bigotry.

As long as we choose to separate ourselves from pain, we won’t feel it.   Ignoring something doesn’t make it go away; instead it grows like cancer.  On the other hand, acknowledging something is wrong forms a bond that becomes the bridge out of it.  I don’t think many people expect you to fix their problem or their pain—and in fact it is often insulting to suggest you can; they just want to be heard and seen.  When a secret is shared it becomes real.  What we keep hidden deep down is the fear that it might be true.  A resolution must occur before a solution can. Many times the solution becomes obvious when it is determined there is indeed a problem. How far are we from that?  I truly don’t know.   What I do know is a lot of people are suffering, have been suffering and continue to suffer.  As long as those more fortunate whether through hard work or simply through privilege ignore those suffering — the underprivileged will continue to draw negative attention to a negative situation.

Until next time,

Cynthia

To be neutral in a situation of injustice is to have chosen sides already. None of us comes into the world fully formed.  We would not know how to speak, walk, think or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings.  We need other human beings in order to be human.  I am because other people are.  A person is entitled to a stable community life, and the first of these communities is the family.  ~ Desmond Tutu 

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Shadows In The Snow

March 1, 2015

It was early afternoon yesterday as I stood gazing out my office window.  The sun was bright and intense across my snow covered back yard. The snow had a sheen that made it look more like marshmallow crème then snow.  The street side of my house is lined with five poplar trees that are nearing […]

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PERFECT LOVE CANNOT BE FOUND

February 16, 2015

 Sometimes when I am sleeping, my dreams become visions and wake me suddenly.  Typically they are of future events and at times are unsettling. I take it as an opportunity to visualize the situation healed, and to ask the Angels for their help.   I have no control over the images that play across my mind, […]

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LOST AND FOUND

January 14, 2014

I don’t know about any of you, but this particular holiday season seemed thick and slow.  Not in a negative sense, but literally; relating to the passing of time. Perhaps it is because I don’t get on the crazy train anymore, looking at the date and wondering how I will get everything accomplished.   I learned […]

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Incremental Change

November 5, 2013

Most of us gauge life by the major changes and events that occur.  The crash of the stock market, a change in presidency, loss or gain of employment, marriage and divorce, birth and death; yet all of these events actually occur in tiny increments.  How often do we become frozen, remaining focused on the event […]

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I Miss You Already

August 18, 2013

Have you ever found that the thought of missing something was worse than it actually being gone? I miss summer already. In fact I have been feeling for weeks that summer was passing too quickly, as I sat with the window open this morning, my cat cowering from the cool air floating in, this thought […]

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Family Fathers and Hot Dogs

June 12, 2013

It was early morning and I was on my third load of dishes from a family barbeque last Saturday that stretched well into Sunday.  Odd as it sounds, I love that part of a family get together; when everyone has gone and the only thing left, are the dishes.  I normally hate to do dishes […]

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Doing The Right Thing

June 3, 2013

Have you ever found yourself walking into a public place on an average day doing a mindless task and  a stranger grabs your attention and it seems you go to the same aisle or you end up in the same checkout line, and from the very first moment you see them, there is something almost […]

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A Week With Myself

April 23, 2013

Last Monday afternoon began a difficult week. I was taking a break to eat, turned on the television, needless to say, I found myself watching what was unfolding in Boston. Being on a bit of a time constraint as usual, I continued to try to eat, and I remember thinking…this is making me sick. I […]

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