Filled Slate

Another page turned,
365 days of memories
fresh in my mind;
like too-thick paint
on an oil-slicked surface.
I wake to the problems
of so many yesterdays,
yet resolve to remain resolute
in my desire to see hope
where I once saw darkness.
It’s hard to lift my chin
and I search my heart for praise
clutching a half-full glass,
trusting it will never be empty-
rather, overflowing with counted blessings.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post- it just makes me smile :)
This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post- it just makes me smile 🙂

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As I do with poetry, I’m going to explain the thoughts behind the words I chose.  I wrote this poem on the first day of the year.  I admire those who approach the new year with such a strong sense of hope and excitement for what the next 365 days might hold.  I want to hope- I really do, but if hope was a candle’s flame, reality would be the wind gust gathering the strength to snuff it out.

I woke up on New Year’s Day, hoping my heart would feel giddy anticipation for the promise of a new year; a clean slate of sorts.  Instead, my consciousness noted the fact there is no clean slate – my slate is already filled with the stuff that’s happened the last year, and it’s too gunked up to be wiped away.  Before the end of the year, I received a confirmed diagnosis of the culprit of my younger son’s pain:  juvenile arthritis, specifically, ankylosing spondylitis.  (He is an amazing kid who happens to turn 10 this week.)  The new year doesn’t change the fact I’m left with choices that don’t feel very much like choices at all.  The first seven lines of the poem speak to this.

Even under the weight of reality, I still want to hope and remember the ways I am blessed.  I spent most of 2015 in a suffocating darkness where I could see no reason for my next breath.  I don’t make resolutions, but I do resolve to do everything I can to not go there again.  Praise is a chore at times, but I want to trust with all my heart that under the thorns of my burdens lives a joy I couldn’t fully appreciate without the struggles.  The last part of the poem is a pep talk to myself to not let my past hog-tie my future and take away my ability to experience joy.

May you find peace today, tomorrow, and the days following- even during trying times.  Have a beautiful Wednesday!

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An Optimist By Any Other Name (Just Might Be An Idiot)

My younger son thinks an “optimist” is this:
Optimus Prime

It would be cool, but sadly, I am neither a robot, nor a vehicle.

Anyone who knows me, or has visited my blog very often knows that I search for the positives in a bucket full of negatives.  I stare at the clouds until I see a sliver of sunshine.  I don’t abandon hope even when all reasons to hold onto it have vanished.  You can see for yourself here, here, here, here or here.

For all of this, some may shake their heads and call me an idiot.  I think I am an optimist.  Even though I recognize the challenges in this world, I see hope rather than despair.  Good thing I can’t be objective because I might find that I’m a little of both…and an idiotic optimist is not what I aspire to be.

Here’s an example of how my optimism works.

During the first week of October, I scribbled out a short story on scrap paper.  I carried those pages around for four weeks before I typed them into the computer.  (That story is under 1,300 words.)  It’s been nearly two weeks since I typed it but still haven’t had time to read and edit.  I *might* be able to sneak some time in over Thanksgiving weekend, but with family obligations, I don’t know.  Best case, this story will be polished by the end of November.

This works out to 1,300 words every two months.  Let me show off my math skills (double-checked with a calculator, of course) – that’s 650 words per month; less than 22 words per day.  If I continued to write at this snail’s pace, it would take me almost nine years to write a 70,000 word novel.  Eeeps!

Seeing the unexpected

The good news is that this calculator-crunched number was better than I thought it would be.  Working it out in my head, I figured my novel would be done by the time my grandchildren were grown.  (Given the fact my older son is only nine, I’d better not have grandchildren for a loooong time!)

So, not only am I relieved by the nine-year estimate to complete a novel, somewhere in my heart, I believe I can finish it sooner.  I’m not discouraged that during the same nine-year period, Nora Roberts will have churned out something like 63 novels (okay, I am a little bit.)  Maybe it’s more jealousy than discouragement!

The optimist in me refuses to give up.  She keeps reminding me:  it’s not a race.  It’s not when I finish that matters, it’s that I begin and end, and breathe every moment in between.

(All the while denying the possibility that I could be delusional, an idiot, or anything other than a pure optimist.)

Do you look on the bright side, or are you drawn to the reality of adversity?  What is it that you are most optimistic about?