We Don’t Talk Anymore!

Image result for two people texting free

Today everything is done on the fly, so to speak. One day, I realized that I had not spoken to an old friend for years, though we email each another on a regular basis.  So, I decided to shock her. I picked up the phone and dialed her mobile number.

She said that she started not to answer because she did not recognize the city nor the number. She also said that she considered blocking it.  When she discovered that it was me, we both laughed and admitted that we have allowed social media to take over our lives.

Since we had last spoken, her land-line number had changed years ago and that says a lot about our current state of affairs when is comes to real communication.   When I used to call my older relatives, they would often say, “It’s so good to hear your voice.”

Nowadays, we shy away from actually talking to each other for a host of reasons.  We are too busy or though we may not say it, texting and emailing is a convenient way of not dealing with each others’ feelings and emotions.  When we shoot a brief message over to someone, we don’t have to deal with their being lonely, worried, sad, overly-excited or just too long-winded.

I recently saw a Twitter message where a woman basically wrote, “Text me or email me.  Don’t call because if you do, I will just look at the phone ringing.” I thought, “This speaks volumes and it perfectly makes my point.” People don’t have a lot of time or they are unwilling to spare it to listen to others.

I am currently reading a book called Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell which was written in the mid-1800’s.  Mary Smith, the narrator, has a bird’s eye view and she shares what is going on in the lives of the people in the town of Cranford.

Reading this book is comparable to taking a slow stroll in the park.  The reader gets to see the houses, the roads, the carriages and the gardens.   We feel the silk dresses of the women and witness the threadbare clothing of Captain Brown.  We smell the fresh roses and breathe in the frigid air as the townspeople commune with each other in a variety of settings.

The pace is slow enough where they truly get to know each other and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  Their visits often last weeks if they are visiting from another town.  They have real face time.

Today, we have allowed our little screens to dominate our existences and we are missing out on a large part of simply being human.  Talking and listening to one another are still vital to our wholeness.  It reminds me of Charlie Puth’s song, “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” Think about it!

Lynn M.                                                                                May 18, 2019

Advertisements

Britt-Marie Was Here: A Book Review

Britt-Marie

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman features a 63-year old woman named Britt-Marie who is determined to find a job after leaving her husband, Kent.  She helped him raise his two children from a former marriage and has never held down a job.

She doesn’t know her own value nor strength because he often criticized her and told her she had no sense of humor.  She leaves after he continually cheats on her and comes home smelling like pizza and strange perfume.

Britt-Marie goes to the unemployment office and the lady working there lets her know that she has nothing for her.  But Britt-Marie, who appears to be sporadic in her thinking, goes back everyday and almost begins to harass the woman. She even cooks for her and plants herself into the office worker’s everyday life.  She often calls the woman on her cell phone and the confused and exasperated woman from the unemployment office finally tells her that she has found one job.

It is as a caretaker for a recreation center in a town called Borg about 25 miles away. Britt-Marie packs up her car and heads to Borg and thus the story unfolds.  The author uses an interesting technique of making the reader wonder if Britt-Marie is mentally sound.  Perhaps this is Blackman’s way of sharing how broken she was from living with a domineering husband and being raised in the shadows of her preferred, now deceased sister.

However, Britt-Marie forges ahead and silently has a persistence and resolve that shock those around her.  She finds the recreation center after meeting the woman who ran the pizza shop which was also the main eatery, the post office and the car repair shop.  Borg had fallen on hard times after the trucking company left town.  It was where the men worked and most of the women work at the town hospital.

Borg has become a city of broken dreams and hopelessness. There are For Sale signs in almost every lawn. But Britt-Marie has a cleaning fetish and she keeps her baking soda and special cleanser called Faxin, on hand.  It provides her the therapy that she needs as she dives in and cleans the dirty and long forgotten Rec Center.  As she is going in the center one day, she is knocked unconscious by a soccer ball.

When she regained consciousness, there are children standing around her and this is how Vega, Omar and host of others make their way into her life.  Overtime, she cleans their jerseys, reignites their hearts and eventually becomes their soccer coach.  The town is inspired, and they too attend the games and the For-Sale signs start coming down

Britt-Marie also uses her cleaning frenzies to clean the dirty pizza shop.  She sets things in order in a variety of ways and even reawakens the town’s enthusiasm and interest in soccer. Subtly, her thinking processes seem to iron out and her confidence begins to climb like the mercury on a thermometer.

Many s take notice of her and she makes friends with the woman in the pizza shop who is called Somebody along with a few others.  This is the first time that she’s ever really had friends.  The local policeman, Sven takes a special liking to her. They start having coffee together and she trusts him to drive her around after her car is damaged.

And then, as she is recovering and growing, her husband Kent shows up.  He convinces her to come back home and promises her that the affair is over.  He comes to Borg and is first quite arrogant but backs down and appears to be somewhat reformed. She keeps putting him off until she can tie up some loose ends.

Kent uses his business acumen and helps her go to the city council and get a soccer pitch for the kids’ soccer team.

The book closes with Britt-Marie walking and thinking.  She had knocked on Sven’s door though he was not there.  He had asked her to do so many times in the past.  Kent is waiting at a hotel for her to knock on his door the next morning.  Yet there is a slight indication that he knew it might be too late for him.

The reader is unsure which door Britt-Marie knocks on to start another chapter of her life.  But one thing is certain; Britt-Marie left a big mark on the hearts on the people of Borg.

Lynn M.                                                                                         May 13, 2019

Because He Lives!

untitled

Perhaps during the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the gargoyles performed their duties well.  Though much was lost, much was gained and retained.  It brought the people out in large numbers as they cried, held hands and sang hymns in one voice.

Whenever the burnt-out interior was shown from Paris, the huge golden cross stood starkly for all to see.  During this Holy Week, I thought of the song, “Because He Lives , I Can Face Tomorrow.”  They said that even a well-known bee colony survived the fire.

The cross is still offering hope and serves as a silent reminder that it stands to address our wants and our needs.  It reminds us of our brotherhood because in times of great fear and sorrow, we cling to one another.

And as the gargoyles worked overtime, much was salvaged, and billions of dollars have poured in from around the world.  The towers still stand and much of the structure of this beloved building seems to be sound.

No matter how much we have gained materially, we still have a deep childhood respect for the church as a vital part of our community and civilization.  Some may not have sung hymns in years because we have allowed our busyness and social media to run rampant in our lives.

But this frightening event made us all pause and realize how far we may have ventured off course.  As we take things and people for granted, in times like these, we stop to reclaim our direction as we lean on what has proven to be tried and true.

Lynn M.                                                                  April 20, 2019

Compromised!

Thrown under the bus1]Though you may be set aglow,
With plenty of things in tow.

At night when no one is near,
Your pillow’s stained with a tear.

You have compromised your soul,
For glitter? A painted bowl?

You have sold those close-by out,
Climbed the ladder with a shout.

Woe, to you who are selfish,
Over time, you look elfish.

You threw some under the bus,
So you could ‘gussy up’, plus,

Hanging with those out to wreck,
Weren’t you thinking? What the heck?

Lynn M.                                                                                  April 13, 2019

Filling Up Space!

“… precept upon precept,
line upon line;
here a little and there a little.”
Isaiah 28:10

We can apply this quote as we wait on change.  The lull time between high activity and down-time presents a perfect opportunity to look around at our immediate surroundings. We may notice those things that have quietly fallen into disarray during our busy seasons.

So rather than worrying about the outcome of impeding situations, this is a good time to fill up those spaces with meaningful, mini-projects. We can start a to-do list of things that need to be done and not sit in one place adding more wrinkles to our brows.

Perhaps, those closets need extra attention.  Our wardrobes must be changed from winter clothes to spring wear.  Or are there boxes still sitting somewhere in our abodes silently waiting to be unpacked and discarded?  This is a perfect time to dig in and do some spring cleaning.

Many books are being written about becoming more of a minimalist.  We can use this special time to define what needs to be done.  It’s great chance to throw out surplus personal papers and organize whatever we decide to keep in our possessions.

As we stay faith-filled during our wait times, we can gain a tad of encouragement from John Burroughs’ poem Waiting.   He writes:

“Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more ‘gainst time nor fate,
For lo, my own will come to me.”

Amid the flying dust or the upheaval of rearrangement of our things, we might be distracted by a beep signaling an email or text or a ringing phone. We simply pause from our work to answer and hear that there is indeed good news. There has been a breakthrough! After taking the message, we can smile and wonder, “Wow! Where did the time go?”

Lynn M.                                                                              April 6, 2019

Oh, Freddie!

thRODGMBKC

If there is such a thing as a resurrection, I can safely say that Freddie Mercury has arisen.  Ever since the movie Bohemian Rhapsody came out, people cannot seem to get enough of this icon.  He is on the Internet everyday as people look into the many aspects of his life.

I saw the movie after The Academy Awards and since that time, I have been looking at and watching his interviews and concert videos.  He is both fun to watch  and listen to on  YouTube.  His energy level was up there, and few can ever touch his showmanship.

In one interview he basically said, “I don’t give a damn what people think.  We are putting on a show and each audience is different. I am a totally different person when I am not on  stage.”  Believe it or not, his band mates said that he was a quiet person when he was not performing.  How interesting!

I can’t seem to get some of his lyrics out of my mind.  Lately, I find myself in the middle of some task and before I know it, I am singing some of his tunes.  Take the line, “Nothing really matters at all.”  What a brave and cavalier attitude to have towards life!

As most geniuses, he seemed to understand that he was here to do something and then ready to move on.  In another interview he said that he did not know how much time he had, but he wanted to make music while he was here.  He stated that long before his illness.  He lived with a zest and at times, he lived like there was no tomorrow.

As a writer, I feel somewhat incapable of expressing what Freddie Mercury’s talent means to me.  He said that the words just came to him and I can truly relate to this aspect of his artistry.  He even had a keyboard installed in his headboard so that if lyrics or tunes woke him up, he could immediately commit them to memory.

I do the same by keeping plenty of paper and pens close by because I never know when the inspiration will drop from above.  I have written at stop lights and pulled the car over to jot down ideas as they flow; so, I totally understand.

I keep the rock station WXRT 93.1 Chicago playing softly in my kitchen to give me that little kick as I prepare meals.  Some of the songs that I have stopped to turn up were “Another One Bites the Dust, I Want it All or We Will Rock You.” I had no idea that these songs belonged to the band Queen because I had not heard of them until I saw the movie.

Freddie Mercury’s songs touch the heart and rejuvenate the dancing of the feet.  Any song that starts off with, “Momma, I killed a man,” will make anyone sit up and take notice.  Who is closer to the heartstrings than one’s mother?  It is an instinctive call even for grown adults when danger is near.  He goes on to say, “I wish that I had never been born.”  Wow.  What a deep admission of raw emotion!

Freddie Mercury died in November 1991.  Or, I shall I say that his body died in 1991.  Perhaps, he was spending time in purgatory talking and sorting out the details of his life.  We don’t know what happens in the afterlife.  But obviously, the angels gave him the green light and reset button because right now in 2019, he has returned to reclaim his position as true front man of the band Queen.

Queen is about to go on tour and coming here to the States soon.  I don’t know who will try to imitate Freddie Mercury but all I can say is “May the force be with him.”  And though we wish that brave soul well, we all know that there will never be another Freddie Mercury.  A humble thanks for allowing me to attempt to write the depth of my feelings and gratitude and  I give a hearty thanks to You Tube for keeping Freddie’s memory alive!

Lynn M.                                                                        March 30, 2019

Openess!

Lake 3-16-19

Waves crashing against the shore,
I sit here writing my lore.

Cool, sunny March Saturday,
Looking for the next best way.

Pensive thoughts- clearing the mind,
Clarity.  Not a in bind!

Lynn M.                                                                                      March 23, 2019

Understood!

th[7]

I left the theatre today feeling a sense of euphoria after seeing Bohemian Rhapsody.  The life of Freddie Mercury was masterfully portrayed by Rami Malek.  Malek was a perfect fit for the look and artistry of Freddie Mercury because Freddie Mercury was of Indian descent in a British setting and Malek is of Arabic and Egyptian heritage.  He fully captured the essence of the exotic-looking Freddie Mercury.

The band Queen’s lead singer had just quit, and Freddie offered his services to them.  He auditioned in an alley and he also let them know that he wrote his own songs.  He told them,” The words just come.”  They teamed up and ventured on a long journey together filled with its ups and downs.

The eccentric Freddie Mercury met a girl named Mary Austin who helped him develop his risqué style.  She worked at a women’s dress shop and let him try on some women’s pants that he liked.  She even added a scarf to add to his flamboyance and put a touch of make-up on his eyes.

They become confidants and lovers and he proposed to her as his career began to take off.  He gave her a ring and made her promise to never take it off. But over time, it became clear that he was drawn to a gay lifestyle and he finally admitted to her that he was bisexual.

She moved on with other men but their allegiance to each other was unshakeable and no one was ever able to take Mary’s place in his heart.  In real life, though he had lived with a partner for years, he left his house, large amounts of money and part of his publishing house to Mary.  She still lives in his house and it is said that Mary is certainly cashing in upon the success of this film.

She went on to marry two times and he had a long line of male lovers and one partner, Jim Hutton, who stayed with him until his death in 1991.  I digress.  This movie showed Freddie Mercury’s climb to the top of high success and an almost tragic ruin.  His lover, Paul, was not delivering his messages from Mary, his family nor his agent.  He ended up firing his manager, disintegrating his band and almost drank himself to death until Mary showed up at his house  She told him that he needed to go home when she saw the mess in which he was living.

He finally saw through Paul and put him out of his life.  He was able to contact his agent and book a last- minute slot playing The Live Aid Concert.  He asked his members to forgive him and after some tart remarks, they knew that they needed each other. They reunited, practiced and he told his band members that he had AIDS.   They were tearful; but when they saw his resolve to move on, they supported him and their performance at the Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium in 1985 was a huge success.

He went home and made peace with his estranged father who never understood him.  Freddie Mercury brought his friend Jim home to meet his family and the father finally accepted him as an openly gay  man.  We later see the father sitting down to watch his son perform on the television and we see tears of joy in his mother’s eyes during the telecast.

Bohemian Rhapsody was tastefully done, and the band Queen had us swaying to songs such as We Are the Champions, We Will Rock You and Another One Bites the Dust.  I had not heard of Freddie Mercury nor the band called Queen, but I certainly know these songs. As a lingered to view the movie credits, I noticed that another woman remained as well.  I told her that I had totally enjoyed it and she said, “This is my 12th time seeing it.  I answered, “Maybe you should just buy the movie.” She responded, “I already own it!”

We laughed and parted ways and I thought of Emerson’s quote, “To be great is to be misunderstood.”  Many people who have left the greatest gifts behind for us to enjoy were misfits during their lifetimes. I now understand why Bohemian Rhapsody won so many awards and nominations.

The script writers did a remarkable job by sharing this man’s genius without depressing us nor taking us through the pain of his final days.  This artistic piece remained focused on Freddie Mercury’s talent, energy and natural ability to electrify his audiences and bring them to their feet!

Lynn M.                                                                           March 17, 2019

March Sprouts!

untitled

Sprouting buds are bursting through,
Winter’s almost gone. It’s true!

March 20 for a start,
Snow and ice must fall apart.

The weather should lighten up,
Place those daisies in a cup!

Birds are singing. Trees turn green,
St. Patrick’s Day will be seen.

Women’s History Month, too,
Much info on which to chew.

Look up at the rainbow’s hues,
Collect gold. You’ve paid your dues!

Lynn M.                                                                        March 16, 2019

Straight & Narrow!

thIW7984UM

We have heard that the way is straight and narrow.  As we age in maturity and wisdom, this appears to be truer and truer with each passing day.

Think about traveling on an open highway and we approach an overpass that gives us the option to go in a myriad of  different directions.  If we have a map, we can carefully look for the proper exit in order to reach our destination.

However, if we are unsure of which route to take, we simply sigh, “Oh, my!”  We must make a quick decision and at our earliest convenience, pull over to a safe location and check our Map Quest.  Then, we can get on the road that we will take us where we are trying to go.

As in life, if there is only one narrow route, it’s easier to stay on course.  Yet, if there are multiple choices, chances are that we might lose our way.  If we find that we are indeed lost, we may have no idea of how to get back on track.

Recently in the news, two young girls (sisters) became lost out in the rough terrain.  The older sister recalled what she had learned from her 4-H Club. She was told that that if she became lost, she should stop and stop wandering.  Wandering could only make her more lost.  So, she and her younger sister, stayed where they were until they were fortunately found within two days.

This is such a great life lesson for all of us.  If we find ourselves feeling lost and off-balance, we need to simply stop like the young sisters. We should take the time to think things through and allow the fog to lift.  Eventually, we will see with a vivid clarity, if we don’t give in to despair.

We can graciously fall back into alignment with the natural order of things and trust the Holy Spirit to put things aright again.  Then, we can climb back onto our straight and narrow path as we make our way to our comforting home base.

Lynn M.                                                                         March 9, 2019