Saturday, February 21, 2015

You Have a Story to Tell

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church,
Berlin, Germany (photo attributed
to Wikipedia)
On a main thoroughfare in Berlin, Germany, there stands the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (or as the Germans know it, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedaechtniskirche). The structure in its Romanesque style was constructed in the 1890s and seated over 2,000 parishioners during its original incarnation. Its spire reached 371 feet (113 meters) into the air and was a fine example of architecture of its day, welcoming worshipers for the next 50 years. As it stands today, however, it is a mere shell of its former self, though not to be mourned.

I thought of this church again while having dinner with a friend earlier this week. We don't get to spend too much time together but on the odd occasion where we share dinner, she is sure to give me a laugh while our conversations move through a myriad of topics. 

We spoke about some difficult times we had each endured, times that had thankfully passed, when she surprised me with a question regarding my choice to endure the difficulty until it improved.

"Why did you stay?" she asked. I was taken aback by the question, not because I did not have a answer but because no one had asked before. The situation I endured was not hidden, and I had commiserated with a few friends on the issue, and yet not one other person had asked me why I stayed. Why didn't I cut and run? Why did I chose to stay in a situation that was so difficult for me?

Without hesitating, I told her my story. This deeply personal reason I endured some miserable conditions in the last few

Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Thousand Tiny Threads

Yesterday, I received a sweet surprise in the mailbox. A simple postcard send from Berlin, Germany, and bearing a few short sentences that brought a smile to my face. The author is a teacher from whom I took an online class a year or so ago. Since class ended, we've traded a few cards and internet messages, mostly steeped in encouragement and gratitude, two things this world could be the better for would we only practice it more often. My mood immediately lifted as I read her words and stepped happily through the making of dinner a few moments later.

It only took  a few words.

The circle of friends and supporters around me has changed over the last two years, primarily by expanding rather than contracting, and the change is both comforting and surprising. It never fails that when I have a rough day or begin to feel

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Marked on the Bones

I have a faint bruise on my left shin. It's been there a year now, ever since that nasty tumble I took outside my back door last February, a fall I wrote briefly about last winter, and one I still remember each time I open that door. The bruise, in its long-present reminder of missteps of the past, is much like any indelible mark of time, quietly awaiting in the peripheral for a moment to raise its hand and say, "Hey, remember me? I'm still here."

Each time I step out the back door, I remember that night. I had just finished watching the movie Nebraska and put the leashes on the dogs to go for a walk in the backyard. The dogs were first out the door and toward the one brick step that leads to the  concrete slab of a patio. Stella went first, followed by George, and then me. Something must have caught George's eye and he hesitated as he approached the step. I didn't see this hesitation and proceeded in our normal fashion. My left foot caught George's back end and I stumbled forward, losing my balance, bumbling down the step and onto the patio. I tried to regain my footing but I was pitched too far forward and landed just off the side of the concrete.

I could see the last moments in slow motion. My hands were outstretched and the green grass was coming up close as I fell forward. Worst of all, I could see that George was right below me, in direct line of my fall. I remember this being in slow