Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wrong time, wrong place

Since I was a child I have been quite certain that I was born in the absolute wrong era. I'm absolutely fascinated with Ancient Egypt, Revolutionary America, Georgian England, the entire Victorian period and the Ante-Bellum South. I would have loved to have visited the temples of Amarna in their glory, witnessed America in it's pristine state, wandered the grounds of Pemberly (yes, I know it isn't a real place), experienced a Diamond Jubilee, and wandered the grounds of Monmoth before there was a CitGo across the street. There just seems to be a simplicity, an innocence and a purity that have been slowly chipped away at as the years have slipped past. Our chaotic daily pace must have been unimaginable to those who were willing to wait for weeks for the written word of a loved one to arrive by rider, or to never travel further in a day than your coach and team of four could carry you. I can't imagine how pure the air must have been, how strong the bonds of friendship, and how passionate the heart. If our ancestors had sat, transfixed by the television, would we still labor under the bonds of colony-hood? It's a point to ponder to be certain.
BUT-ah yes, that nasty little word-BUT... Had I been born in any of the above eras I would have already died no less than five times. First by ruptured appendix at 7, then by a nasty case of strep at 9, a horrific bout of the flu at 10, a ruptured gallbladder at 33, and a nasty heart condition at any old time. And of course, that is only if I hadn't been offed by yellow fever, an abscessed tooth, a rusty nail, or any myriad of ailments that I no doubt lived through but didn't realize ought to have killed me. AND, had I been fortunate enough to survive all of the above I'd have been nothing less than atrocious to look at. Cross eyed and buck-toothed does not a diamond of the first water make. Yes folks, born even 100 years earlier and I would no doubt have been a tombstone by 7, but if not, a spinster knitting quietly at home. Far more Jane Eyre than Elizabeth Bennett...
So where does that leave me? It leaves me quite content, thank you very much. I may fantasize about chivalry and gentility, but I can experience friendship and love in a time of technology and medical miracles. I can wander the grounds of Longwood, while talking on my cell phone. I can wear my bracelet circled by ancient Scarabs, while perusing the internet. I can sit on my settee, and text my sister on my iphone. I can read Pride and Prejudice for the 500th time, while flying to Oregon. And, I get to do it all with Mr. Big Prize, who didn't show up on this spinning ball until the mid-part of this century. So, it really is the best time to be alive.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You just never know how your dreams might come true

I am not what one might call a lucky person. In fact, were I to add up all the events in my 30 some odd years of living that might be attributable to "luck" I doubt we'd need all the fingers on one of my hands. In things both grand and small I seem to be entirely luck-less. On the significant end of things, I do not win lotteries, or even raffles. I think it is quite possible that I could be the proud possessor of 99 tickets out of 100 in any given raffle, and I'd still lose. On the smaller end of luck's measuring stick I will invariably be the first to catch a red light, always get in the wrong line at the grocery store, and if my path is crossed by anything of the feline species it's bound to be black. Don't get me wrong, I don't have BAD luck, I just don't seem to have any at all of the good variety. I suppose, given a choice, I'd rather have none of the good than all of the bad. And it isn't that great things don't happen to me, they do! However, they can all be traced back to years and years of really hard work, determination, and loads of prayer. I'm not one of those people that Karma just seems to smile upon. And you know that type too, oh yes you do. They are the kind that things really do just seem to fall from heaven right into their lap, all the time, at any given moment. They are the type that we all see and say to ourselves "How on earth did he/she get/win/find/know that?" Well, I'll tell you how-LUCK!! Luck, karma, whatever-call it what you will, it doesn't seem to know I exist.
However, there is one area in my life where I do seem to be far more fortunate than some, and that is in my friendships. I have been so incredibly blessed by the people who have touched my life, and I hope that they feel the same about me. My most fortunate event to date is of course the winning of Mr. Big Prize-he's given almost 14 of the most amazing years imaginable, with only time and God to call it all to an end. I've had the same best girlfriend since high school, and we have seen each other through thick and thin. My sister has morphed from sibling to sustainer, and keeps my head screwed on straight. My girl Robin has my back, and makes me giggle at the most inappropriate moments. And I have been blessed with literally dozens and dozens of other amazing people in my life who have contributed positivity and happiness in more ways than I can recount. Recently, I made a new friend, one who we will just agree to call Outrageous. Outrageous has been an almost constant source of encouragement and support for me, and seems to sense the days when I most need an encouraging word or thought sent my way. Outrageous also has an unerring sense of selflessness, and truly wants to give to the world and to others, knowing it will be repaid a hundred fold, and is ever encouraging others to follow their dreams and never give up on them. Outrageous has just made one of my almost forgotten dreams come true, and for the first time in my life, has made me feel lucky too.
Let's rewind some 20 odd years in my life, back when I was still a gawky adolescent-the anathema of the Christian Heritage Academy's seventh grade class. Too tall, too thin, with glasses far too thick, for once in my life I found myself almost friendless. My primary escape was through books. I read voraciously, and still do to this day. But back then, I discovered an author whom I loved, and I devoured her books. My favorite of hers was a mystery/murder surrounding a mysterious and beautiful rare gemstone. I was HOOKED, and dreamt of the day I would have one of these amazing pieces for myself. Years went by, and I re-read the book a half a dozen times over. I searched for these stones, but found them incredibly hard to locate, and when found, out of my realm of possibility. Mr.Big Prize can attest to the fact that I'm rarely attracted to the simple or common. So, I'd all but given up on that dream. I still have that book, but the idea of the gem was long forgotten.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. After months of friendship with Outrageous I find out that the occupation of choice for said person is that of gem and gold dealer...specifically, my rare gems. I shared with Outrageous the story of my book, and my search, and my dream, and asked if I could possibly buy one of those pieces laying around. Three days later, on a snowy February afternoon, a box arrived for me. Inside that box was a dream come true, a stroke of amazing luck in the form of an incredibly giving friend. There was my gem, and it was magnificent. A gift from a friend, and a forgotten dream fulfilled.
How do you say thank you for a gift like that? Seriously, those things DON'T happen to me. I'm not lucky. Then, I realized, luck had nothing to do with it. I realized two very important things. First, friendship really is the best gift we can give one another. To show someone unconditional support and encouragement costs you nothing, but can be returned to you in unimaginable ways. Secondly, it taught me to never ever give up on any dream. Life is far too short and far too fragile to let any of life's opportunities pass you by. Dream big, plan big, and take the actions necessary to make your dreams a reality. And, with a tiny bit of Luck, and a lot of hard work, your dreams will come true in an Outrageous way!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Let it Snow

I think we are all now well aware of my feelings for winter. I would be blissfully happy to live in an area where there are only two seasons; warm and warmer. But no, God in all His greatness has seen fit to place me in the mid-south. We do have four seasons, and I am ever grateful that winter seems to be the briefest of these. The worst part of this, our typically shortest season, is that it generally feels like some sort of seasonal purgatory. Neither cold enough to keep one indoors roasting chestnuts and the like, nor warm enough not to have to wrap ourselves in multiple layers and drab colors. No, winter in my home state, brief though it may be, tends to be grey and wet. For us there are no post card winters, where the boughs of the evergreens hang slack under the weight of newly fallen snow. I love the idea of sleigh rides, jingle bells and snow plows. Snow shoes are cute, toboggans are great accessories, and could there really be anything more darling than ice skating on a pond? But for us, none of those are ever part of our winter scene. Nope. We get soggy socks, muddy pants legs, short grey days.
But this year, something all together different has occurred. We've been visited by Jack Frost not once, but twice. As I type this the sky is shedding layer after layer of fresh snow, and the ground is piled with almost eight inches of it. The sun has set, but the white glow of the snow reflects what little light the moon is casting through the clouds, and sending out an almost eerie winter aura. It's gorgeous. It's unique. It' spectacular.
I know I wouldn't feel this way if every winter in my little home town was like this. If every morning dawned on a fresh blanket of newly fallen snow the wonder would cease, I'm sure. If our streets were constantly piled with exhaust covered piles of snow, the bloom would certainly be off the rose, as it were. However, here snow is something of a winter anomaly, and for that reason, I'll enjoy it. Don't get me wrong; I am more than ready for the first blooms of spring to peak their sleepy heads through the frozen ground, to don my gardening gloves and to break out the flip-flops. I'm really really ready. But, this snow is just another way that the universe tells me to stop, and enjoy. Enjoy the unique and the glorious in things that are really rather mundane and ordinary, and to most of all, relish every single moment of life! Spring will be here soon!