Sunday Morning ~ Boosts

Sunday Morning ~ Boosts

January 13, 2019

Hi Everyone,

I’ve kind of put my life on hold for the year hoping to be able to go back to Malawi to push this midwifery ward a little further toward the goal post. I believe in this. I have a fantasy that it will take hold and be a model for all over the world. I said exactly that when I was presenting it to a class of interior design students at Jefferson University in Philadelphia this week. I started out saying it is a model that could easily be replicated, and someone asked, “Where? Africa?” I said, “The World!” at which point there was a little twittering about my delusion of grandeur. But it could! It should!

I’ve been waiting to hear about returning to Blantyre and was getting very discouraged about it’s chances of becoming reality. It seems our country’s plight right now is overshadowing everything that could be done to improve life on a global stage. I was starting to lose hope and steam. As I was driving to the University with my friend on Friday morning I said, “I woke up this morning thinking, ‘What the fuck am I doing?’ I’m not getting a salary running around the country pitching this. I’m having fun, but at some point I need to get a little compensation to pay my bills and see something tangible come out of it. I was starting to think I should just go find a job and say I tried. I was also feeling like the energy surrounding the book had run it’s course and maybe I should think of some other place to set my focus. 

Then I had a conference call that was productive and encouraging. I AM going back to Blantyre for two weeks and will see what we can get accomplished as far as writing up policies and procedures, finding a project manager who will be responsible for making the wheels turn, and set some goals for the rest of the year. It was a little booster shot. Then I met with the students and got a huge injection of boost. Their response to the project about picked me up out of my seat. It’s thrilling for me to see a new generation of responsible citizens who want to use their talents and energy for the good of mankind. I felt totally energized again. I am going to give this everything I’ve got and reevaluate after this trip. Two weeks away! Yikes! It’s so often like this, wait wait wait, then hurry up and go!

I left Philadelphia and headed toward Reading, Pennsylvania where a book group consisting of four couples read my book and invited me to come to their discussion. Another booster shot was waiting for me there! It makes me so happy to hear someone say, “I felt like I knew all these people by the end of your book. I cared about what happened to them.” That is the absolute pinnacle of what I’d hoped for. The book group consisted of people in all walks of life, varied professions, both male and female, and had similar feelings about reading it. A couple of them said they could see it as a movie, which, of course, I’ve already mentally cast. I’ve got my dress picked out for the academy awards (the author gets a ticket, right?), and I’ll finally meet Meryl Streep when she plays me!  Ok, let me reel this in a bit, and think of a few more ways to get book groups to read it and recommend it to others. Back to earth.

My hosts were over the top with hospitality: introducing me to people, showing me the surroundings, taking me on two hikes and one run, a wine tasting, dancing, dinner in a castle, and great conversations. I’m exhausted! For me there is much more reward in all this than money or fame…but I’d still like Oprah to get her chops into it.

Now I’ve got to get my shit together to be ready to head out in two weeks. Packing should be pretty simple, hopefully the weather cooperates so my little plane leaves Bar Harbor on time, then back to a place that pulls at me, though I have some trepidation about “you can’t go home again” syndrome. I’ll try to be realistic, try to achieve some goals, try to help midwifery take one more step up the mountain, and pray that women’s lives improve because of it. I’m giving it a try. It feels right. Plus, I can’t wait to see my colleagues again! I love those women!

And in the meantime, I’ve got lots of women friend energy coming my way this week and I’m going to soak up every bit of it. 

Love to all,

Linda

Sunday Morning ~ Epiphany

Sunday Morning ~ Epiphany Sunday

January 6, 2019

Hi Everyone,

Epiphany. Revelation. Twelfth night. I love the way that sounds. Shakespearean. Another holiday, a celebration, a remembrance of three kings arriving across a desert to honor a hopeful future and promise of redemption. I think of the story in a literal sense and acknowledge this probably did not happen exactly as the story is told, but I love the symbolism. I love the idea that a star guided people of means on an honorable mission. They brought gold as the symbol of majesty, frankincense for spirituality, and myrrh as it was used in embalming the dead–– probably a useful gift at the time.

Epiphany Sunday for me is the day to take down the tree and put away most of the decorations. I scrolled around the internet to see what special customs were common around the world for this day and I came across one I rather like. In Ireland, Epiphany Sunday is known as “Women’s Christmas” where women get the day off and men do all the housework and cooking. They might gather together in a pub and have a meal with friends and drink wine. (Ok, for lots of us that’s like…Thursday, but I like it being official.) I’m not sure how old this tradition is or how it started, but it seems very fitting this week.

Women’s Christmas strikes a chord as this week feels so much like the best Christmas ever. Our first woman governor was sworn into office at a ceremony that took my breath away. I sat at my kitchen table, painting my Christmas cards, focused on chickadees and pine boughs, listening to the event on the radio. As the announcers were describing the scene I started trembling and had to see it. I ran for my phone and figured out how to watch it live (such a modern miracle!). I liked listening to the radio description, so muted the video and listened to them describe what I was watching. (I thought of my father who used to do this with the Celtics games because he hated the TV announcers.) My heart was racing with, what can only be described as, joy.  Alone in my kitchen, I actually stood up and cheered. I squelched the feelings of envy I had for those who’d been invited to the event, but felt a wonderful bond with those who were posting about watching at home and expressing the same emotions I felt. This is Maine! A fairly homogenous state, and the celebration seemed as diverse and inclusive as possible! I was overwhelmed with pride and excitement. My state! Hooray! It gives me such pleasure to be proud of my state again. Eight years of apologizing for our governor is behind us! Hope for the future! This light seems even brighter because the eight-year tunnel we’ve been living in was so dark. Please God let this be a sign of the future for the country. Two young immigrant girls sang to the absolute heavens “This Girl is on Fire”. It just doesn’t get better than that. 

My women’s writing group met here yesterday. I feel like the house is being rechristened with their energy. It felt wonderful, like a Women’s Christmas. The living room was a bit crowded, especially with the tree still up, but I wanted to leave it, the hot colorful bulbs warm up the room and make it feel even cozier. Dear George made sure all the firewood was split before he left so I have ample atmosphere and as we sat, and wrote, and read aloud, I reflected on the bond I have with these women. We’ve gotten to know each other mostly through our writing and reading. Some of it raw and painful, much of it funny, lots of it full of simple detail that comes out as poetry when read aloud. One of the group had been invited to the governor’s inaugural celebration the previous night. I was green with envy, hanging on her every word. She wrote of the event and the feeling of being part of such a joyful celebration. She described the outfits, the music, the smile on Janet Mill’s face, the dancing, the camaraderie. I feel like we’re entering the age of reason and we all have a chance to be a part of it. It feels like a lingering sickness is starting to resolve: the cough is diminishing, the breaths are a little easier to take, and the fever is gone. It’s like when you know you’re still sick, but have turned the corner and can see now you really are going to get better. You couldn’t see it before, but as you improve each day you get more and more sure you’ll be right as rain again. Patience. Good food, plenty of fluids, moderate exercise, and soon you’ll be running again. That’s what this feels like. 

So, Happy Women’s Christmas, everyone! The Irish really have so many good ideas!

Love to all,

Linda