Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Tuesday Slice: The best things are invisible

The Book Nook rocking chair has been pulled over to the "learning side" of the library, where I can sit in front of the YouTube fireplace on our big touchscreen. Our usual schedule of story or lesson, then checkout, is flip-flopped each half-hour, allowing me to start reading a bit earlier while stragglers are still searching for books. 

I've been reading Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas by Elise Primavera to my older students this week.  Most remember the first book from last year, and are happy to hear the sequel.  I do my best to make Auntie Claus sound eccentric and wise, the unbelieving Christopher a bit whiny and snarky, the Head Prune and Santa full and booming.

Christopher's motto is "I'll believe it when I see it."  Auntie Claus counters with "Sometimes you have to believe in order to see."

We have to believe in order to see...

Believe in the freshness of a new day, in order to see opportunities.
Believe in ourselves, in order to see our strengths.
Believe in our students, in order to see their possibilities.
Believe in our loved ones, in order to see them as individuals.
Believe in the value of all people, in order to see their worth. 
Believe in the magic of Christmas, in order to see the best in us.

The best things are invisible, until we choose to believe.   

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Tuesday Slice: Lyrical memory

Fundraising on public television is purposefully, successfully annoying.  I became a member decades ago during a telethon, and with threats of government funding cuts looming once again, I understand the need to drum up support.  Oh, but I was annoyed at the breaks during the recent airing of a modern take on "Jesus Christ, Superstar".

They were interrupting a memory.

It was the late 70s?  Early 80s? The cassette was a gift from my mother's brother, a classical music aficionado.  I remember the plain brown liner paper with the yellow logo--the 1970 recording.  He copied off the lyrics for me, too. I must have played that tape a hundred times on my boombox, singing along, thrilled when I could match the tempo of the fast-paced songs.  

Despite our near-regular attendance of Sunday Mass, it was my first real introduction to Mary Magdalene.  I remember wondering why we heard so little about her in CCD classes; I see now that it planted the seed for my search for Feminine Divine in the patriarchal trappings of the conventional Church.

So yes, I was annoyed at the breaks, even as I compared these latest singers to the soundtrack in my head (and found them lacking; the 1970 recording is still my favorite).  I may just have to hunt down a new copy and relive a memory or two.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tuesday Slice: Liberation

I have found that among its other benefits,
giving liberates the soul of the giver.
--Maya Angelou

It was so easy to get caught up in online shopping last week.  Without my usual work prep or hours in the library, I could and did spend hours clicking through sale emails, typing in coupon codes, perusing the piles of catalogs that arrived daily.  

Without fail, at some point within each shopping excursion I found myself looking at gifts not for others, but for myself.  Oooh, those shoes would go great with the sweater I just got, and now they're thirty percent off...  Free shipping limits prompted the rationalization of "something for them, something for me", just to save eight or nine dollars.  

I realized just how much online shopping I did when I made a list and counted the packages to be delivered--nineteen, in all.

I should feel liberated, with the pile of gifts to be given growing with every visit from the USPS, UPS, FedEx, and Amazon delivery people.  Several purchases were made to support friends' small businesses, and that did feel good, buying gifts while furthering their pursuits. But that doesn't stop the twinge of guilt I feel as I open each box and realize how much is staying right here, these items that lured me in with their double-digit discounts.

This morning, I'm focusing on the moments of liberation I have experienced these past few days:  giving a gift card to a stranger in need; unsubscribing from dozens of retail email lists and deleting hundreds of emails from my inbox; realizing that items I purchased for myself really aren't working out, and knowing just the right person who would enjoy them.  I've joined a "clearing space" Facebook group started by a friend, and threw dozens of catalogs in the recycle bin.  My New Year will bring a renewed effort to curb needless spending.

I'm feeling liberated, just thinking about it.