Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pity Party and then the Through "Another's" Lens Solution

Today I find myself having a pity party. I find myself worrying about too many things I cannot change for too many people. I find myself worrying about things I can change but that would change me forever in a way I fear would be for the worse. I am exhausted and depressed and whatever part of me felt like I was doing the right thing before is definitely questioning if I am the right person to be doing this. And then I think about alternatives. Imagine scenarios, mostly bad, so then I add guilt to my pity party. I no longer feel like my choice (or my life) is something to be proud of, a self-less act for an innocent. I now feel unsure and lost. 

I see quite a few of my good friends going through hurtful dilemmas of their own right now and suddenly the world I felt I was on top of a few months ago now seems to be spiraling out of control before my very eyes and I feel completely powerless to change anything about it. 

It makes me feel like that curtain blowing in a cool November breeze in an abandoned house. I don't know when to expect the next gust of trouble, or happiness. I don't know how long I'll have to recover before the next burst and will it be smaller or bigger? How much will it take to completely blow me away? Or will it first calm and I will return to the place I was before, quietly doing my job and not being subjected to such turmoil? I pray that I'm doing the right thing every day while feeling more and more in my heart that it's the wrong one. 

So here is the second installment of "Down Memory Lane" from January 1990. It gives me a new way to look at things, just like she always did when we visited. So maybe it will help some of you out there who are having problems and stresses that seem beyond your control. I know Metta would feel infinitely blessed if she helped even one of you. That was the person she was.

January 26, 1990
Down Memory Lane 
         By Metta Miller 

I think I will leave the beaten track of Memory Lane today, forgetting to remember, and be a bit philosophical. Hope you, the readers are not too bored.  

Our son sent a bulletin from Chaplin Service, Veterans Center, Temple, Texas. I like a certain extent. It is: Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow. 

"There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension. One of these days is yesterday, yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone beyond recall.  

The other day we should not worry about it tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and perhaps its poor performance. Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn. 

This leaves only one day...Today. Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.  

Now my philosophy is, while we cannot change yesterday, we can tell that older, or neglected person we ignored yesterday that we love them, Today (and mean it),  perhaps erasing part, or all of the hurt. We cannot erase the careless, thoughtless words of yesterday, but we can say, "I am sorry" TODAY. (Not prefaced by, "if I have said or done", just "I am sorry") Today we can repay a kindness we received in our yesterday, by being kind to others TODAY. 

Today we can forget the hurts of yesterday by remembering the good times, the fun times of Yesterday.  

My memories, Down Memory Lane, the pathway of Yesterdays, has made me what I am today, Good, Bad or Indifferent.  

We came to our Today by walking the pathway laid for us Yesterday, whether rocky or smooth, by our forefathers. I feel it is my responsibility to help make TOMORROW better for my thirty plus great grandchildren and three great grandchildren by striving to fill each new day with pleasant memories as stepping stones to their TOMORROW. 

I cannot turn back time or control the future, as the writer states, but I can learn from Yesterday's mistakes, using what I have learned, to pattern a better Tomorrow.  

Today is mine to make a lovely memory for tomorrow's Yesterday, to be cherished in the future. Tomorrow will be influenced by the way I live and think, and yes, by the way I speak TODAY. Therefore I ask God to control my tongue, TODAY. 

May your smile brighten someone's life TODAY to be remembered in all their Tomorrows.  

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Through "Another's" Lens- "Down Memory Lane" by Metta Miller (The Premiere Post on This Blog)

Through "Another's" Lens Preface:

I decided a while back to embark upon a project journey that interested me very much. Long years ago, on several separate occasions of working for Home Health through the Nocona General Hospital  Home Health in Nocona, Texas, I was fortunate enough to have the same patient each time I worked. Not to say she was my only patient. We had many ranging from the low days of maybe 60 to the high days of maybe 120, but this lady won a space in my heart that no one else ever had and to this day hasn't. 
I'm not sure how old she was when I began seeing her. She was born 8-8-14 and I began working in the home health care system in 1997 or 1998. Time already gets away from me. I could do the math but I don't want to. I'll just say she was a tiny sweet little white haired lady with the most infectious smile and eyes that glimmered with mischief even though she was legally blind. 
When I say tiny, I mean tiny. Thanks to osteoporosis, her height had diminished through the years. I'm not sure where she started, but she, to my estimate, stood about 4 feet 10 inches. Her shoulders were frozen, meaning she could not lift anything higher than shoulder height. Her closets all had special hangers that were popular back then for "space saving" but really they just hung really low in her closet so she could reach to hang up her things.
She was one of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. I don't bestow that title on just anyone. Even now, after she's been gone close to ten years, I still think of her often, especially in times of strife or emotional turmoil and wonder what her "take" would have been. I wonder this because I never saw her experience any situation that she didn't turn it all around and find the silver lining despite all the storm clouds. 
My little hero...or would that be heroine...wrote an article for the Saint Jo Tribune for many years. I don't know how many, though I intend to find out no matter how long it takes. I want a copy of every single column she wrote. For myself, I shall make it into a book or an ebook. I am not sure yet. I just want it because I miss her and her stories and I am always inspired after reading one. I would like to pass them on to my children and my grandchildren for a few reasons. I want them to see what it is like to be truly selfless. I want them to read about what life was like back in her day. And I want more than anything, not that I really believe it is possible, for them to learn to find that silver lining like she always did. 
So I checked with the Bowie Public Library because they have an amazing genealogy/ local history section that people travel from all over to visit. (Did I mention I once worked there for about 8 months til I was wrongfully terminated by an insane librarian? I was found by a panel to have been wrongfully terminated but the city never gave me my job back or any compensation for that.) The nice young lady asked if I had inquired of the Saint Jo Public Library. Honestly, I didn't even know they had one. So I came home and called and the nice man I spoke to, Terry, told me that they did have copies of all the papers BUT they were in the back in boxes. He said I was more than welcome to come and look and do whatever I needed to do. 
I went that day and to the surprise of both of us several years were actually "bound". I had no idea where to start. So 1990 was the first bound one I saw. I didn't even know if she was writing then, so I grabbed it and we took it to the table and began to look. And sure enough. There it was. My first "Down Memory Lane" by Metta Miller.
I had this bright idea about some cool trick my Microsoft One Note was supposed to do which was to take a picture and pull the text from it. Ha! Nothing like that ever works for me but I did use my Microsoft Surface back facing camera to take pics of each of the columns that I could find. I was so excited to be finding so many. 
I went back the next day started in on 1992. I can't FIND them, but I know I had a good six months worth, but no worries. They've been there this long. I will get back over there to get them. 
Meanwhile...I pulled up the picture on one side of my screen and One Note or Ever Note on the other side and I read and typed them out. It's quite possible that I enjoyed doing them more this way. Because that way I was reading and absorbing them and remembering her eyes and her smile and her unflinching optimism in the face of all obstacles. I found myself learning so much about her that I didn't know and so wished I could go back in time to our many conversations during my nursing visits and ask her more.
I got to the point that I would schedule her visit at lunch time and I would order my lunch from somewhere and eat it with her at her kitchen table. She was always so filled with at the least acts of kindness. My act of eating with her made her very happy she said. She said she always ate more when she had someone to visit with as she ate. And I understand that because I don't like to eat alone either. 

So without any further adieu... I will begin throwing in one of her columns here and there in my blog. If I happen to have a picture that I feel like goes along with her story, maybe I'll post it but mostly I will post the picture of her column from the paper. I took the liberty of spelling a few things correctly. Mostly she was an excellent speller, but I didn't change the words at all. 

January 12, 1990

Down Memory Lane
         by Metta Miller

When I was young and in my prime, I welcomed winter time.
Now, I am old with creaky knees and have to enjoy the season in
Before the era of school buses, school was never closed on account
of the weather, especially winter weather. Why should they have
closed the schools, then everyone lived in walking distance, and the
State did not pay on the basis of how many times a pupil attended
Classes. If there was no school the kids were out in the snow anyway.
Besides, this was the only time some children who lived two or three miles
Out of town got to come to school.
On pretty days these children had to work on the farm. On snowy or rainy days,
When they could not plow, hoe or pick cotton, they walked to town to learn the
Three "R's". Really, I think those were the ones who studied the hardest, for most
Of them knew they would not be able to complete high school and wanted to know
How to read, write and add their future days earnings.
No lunchroom then. Every one, except those who lived near the school, took their
Lunch and on bad days (the only time I took my lunch) we ate at our desks. I used to
Envy the "upper crust" kids. They brought their lunches in shiny lunch pails, which held
Such goodies as sandwiches made from store bought bread. My lunches were toted to
School in a small, beat-up syrup bucket. (It was beat -up because I hit my brother over
The head with it.) It held biscuits and home cured ham or scrambled eggs. Instead of
Fresh fruit, I had a small jar of canned fruit, or maybe berry cobbler. Little did I realize
Then that I had the better lunch. Not as eye appealing, but better for me, and it
Was certainly packed with as much love as could be crammed in a bucket.

Then I thought nothing of the fact that as the fruit ripened Dad would put a big box in the
Little, used to be red but rusty now, wagon and take all the kids too little to work to a local
Orchard to pick up the wind falls. If Mama was not washing for someone that day she went
Along. We were forbidden, by my parents, to pick any fruit from the trees, that fruit was
For sale, the windfalls were free. I really think Mama enjoyed those days, they got her
Away from the wash tub. Mom would work far into the night canning the days gleanings.
Dad and each child big enough to handle a knife was put to work peeling. Mom and Dad
Liked Indian and cowboy stories or sometimes they would tell of how things were around
Callisburg when they were young. This is where I got my small jar of fruit in my lunch
Bucket. I did not find this way of life unusual, for it was our way of life. It was up to each of
Us to improve on it, if possible. Above all, no matter what our station in life we were to be
Trustworthy, always keep our word and help others.

In fact, I think, "Help Somebody Today" was not just a song but our parents slogan which they
Practiced daily.

The love instilled in me by my parents go out to all of you, wherever you are. God loves you and
I do, too.