Tag Archives: gratitude

Oprah and Me…

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Dear Oprah,

I saw you on The Talk the other day.  You, once again, moved me.  You talked about leaving a legacy, and how Maya taught you that you never know what that legacy is going to be.

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Let me back up.  You would have loved the Picture Day at my school, back in the 80’s, when I stepped up to have my photo snapped.  As I posed, one of my first grade boys called out, “Mrs. Horton, you look just like Oprah!”  I can’t tell you how I loved that spontaneous remark.  I’ve held you in my heart as a Sister ever since.

My connection with you became stronger, and much more spiritual later, when I heard you tell on your show, about how much you wanted a role in The Color Purple.  You told about how you just finally surrendered to God, that if it be His will, you would get the role.  By the way, you mentioned on The Talk the other day, how badly you wanted that role.  God meant for me to hear of your surrender, because not too many years later, I told God, “I’m out of ideas.  God, I’m giving his to You,” and He put into process the events which changed my life, and led me to His door, literally.

For years, I have tucked into my journal, a page called “Ten Things I Know For Sure.”  You know it.  You composed it.  I have read it over so many times, I have it memorized.  One of them is about gratitude.  I am practicing it everyday.

Here are some other connections:  I live in Winston-Salem, NC.  You know that’s Maya’s town.  I subscribed to your magazine.  Okay…those are stretches, but, “Hey!”  I love road trips.  I think Gayle is great, too.  Still stretching.

So, let’s get back to the legacy…Oprah, I am so happy you impressed the women of The Talk that they have a responsibility.  We all have a responsibility.  We all say things.  I can only pray that the Holy Spirit guides me, and has guided me to say something helpful, and not hurtful.  I just pray my legacy has empowered others in a small way, the way you have empowered me. 

And we will never really know, will we?

Love,

Your Sister/Doppleganger

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Blue skies, nothin’ but blue skies…

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Haven’t seen any of those for a week, but last Saturday was the perfect Wisconsin almost-summer day. The sky was that blindingly brilliant blue that is so sharp it hurts your eyes. In the south, we like to call that color Carolina Blue, but in reality, the Wisconsin sky sort of out-does it. At least it did last week.

The temperature was in the mid-seventies. The wind was up, and so I was tricked into thinking the brown-red tone my skin gets from my Mediterranean heritage was was just my imagination. I had been clipping the low suckers off the trees in my sister’s yard so I could mow closer without getting my corneas scratched. I then hauled the bountiful armloads of branches across a deep clover field to a burn pile, my feet dragging through the grass trip after trip.

The dogs were out running their traps, the little ones chasing each other and nipping ankles, each other’s and mine, and the “mothership,” Rosie, was standing with her nose to the wind. Brush collected, I found a spot under a maple, laid down right in the grass. I watched the leaves flutter and the branches bend above my head. Before too long, I had a puppy laying on my head and another tucked under my arm. It’s been a very, very long time since I let myself go like I did that afternoon. It was simply glorious.

What is your superpower?

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My brother has “recognized” a superpower for each one of his children.  One child’s is compassion, one’s is the ability to remember unimportant trivia, and one’s gift is the ability for quiet and individual, imaginative play.  When I was staying with his family, and because I had lost my sense of self during that time, I asked him to identify my superpower.  I can’t remember what he said, but it seemed to fit, and I was satisfied.

Now I am in a better place, emotionally, and I have recovered more of myself, and I can recognize what my own superpower is.   It is optimism.  Last week, an acquaintance observed, “You always look so happy.  Every time I see you, you seem to not have a care in the world.  Seeing you makes me happy.”  What a generous gift that was of her to give me, and a tribute to how far I have come from being the woman standing behind the pillar in church sobbing uncontrollably one Sunday morning!

Like everyone else, I do have cares, but I can find the best of any situation.  My brother said of me once, “If the ship was sinking, and we were standing in water, you would say, ‘At least we have plenty to drink.’”  It sounds kind of silly, but that is SO me.

If it is raining, I am happy for the plants.  If it is cold, I am grateful that it isn’t too hot, too early in the season.  If my dog chewed up a tissue, I’m glad it isn’t this morning’s paper.  If my hair won’t behave, I’m glad it’s cool enough to pop on a hat.  I am pretty much just a grateful person.

And why not?  I have plenty of food, more clothing than I need or can actually wear,  my tiny house, my faith, my health, my family and friends near and far/old and new.  Optimism is an incredible superpower.  I’m going to keep it.

Beacons of light…

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I go to Daily Mass.  It is not quite like going to a Protestant Church service daily.  For Catholics, Mass is at the very center of our interior life.  It is a private, peaceful, prayerful time to reflect.      

Two mornings a week I walk to Mass, this time of year, in the dark.  I leave my porch light on.  My neighborhood is hilly.  I return home down quite a steep hill, and this morning I noticed that I could see my porch light glowing from a block away.

My heart was struck by this glow.  I felt such a sense of welcoming peace that I came to a full stop just to look at my porch light at the top of my own little street.  Here, beacons draw me, and once again, I am overcome with gratitude for my place, safe and surrounded by love.