Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Silver linings and wounded knees

This is from Peru Indiana Today last year. 
Last week, I read my column aloud at a writers’ group meeting and one of the members mentioned how positive it was. It was, I agreed, and there were a couple of things about that. One was that I hadn’t been feeling positive at all when I wrote it—I’d had to dig myself out of a deep pool of poor-me. The other was that if I’m the one writing it, it’s going to be positive. Because, while I believe wholeheartedly in clouds—I’d better this spring, hadn’t I? Clouds are nearly all we’ve had—I believe even more strongly in silver linings.
Photograph by Simone Viani
 Sometimes it’s really hard.
          Sunday afternoon, we went to a long-term care facility to see a family member who is ill and needs care and treatment but who wants only to go home. Who isn’t the person I know and love anymore, but yet he is. Each visit is like re-scraping a wounded knee that never fully heals. You limp in, and when you leave, the limp is more pronounced, the pain more intense.
          Today it’s cold and snowing, bitter white flakes that make your eyes sting and water. April’s cruel wind is whipping around in true “gotcha” mode. I’ve heard this morning of yet another illness, another death, more regrets over a reluctant life change. If there’s blue in the sky, you couldn’t prove it by me. It is a melancholy, cloudy, sore-knee kind of day.
          There are times in nearly every relationship, be it marriage, friendship, or family, that the connection wavers. When the bond must be reinvented to be either tightened or broken. Things that you wanted to always be the same are not. Things you wanted to change might do just that, but not necessarily in ways you’d hoped for. Whatever the outcome, it’s never painless.
          But, before Sunday afternoon was Sunday morning. We went to see our
youngest grandson receive his first communion. It was a lovely service and the eight-year-olds looked—give me a Nana moment here—so stinkin’ cute. Little girls in white dresses and little boys in vests and dress shirts and ties. The front of the church was crowded with parents and grandparents. Lunch afterward was my daughter-in-law’s most excellent lasagna and good conversation. We left with exuberant little-boy hugs and reluctant ones from his adolescent brother. As grandparent days go, it was an extraordinarily good one.
          After these days of cold and wind and all-consuming clouds, the sun will shine again—I hesitate to say it’s guaranteed, but history indicates it. For those of us who need light more than others seem to, we’ll see and feel hope with every sunrise.
          Relationships will be what they will, but even ones that end leave good memories behind. They continue to occupy the “places in the heart” we all have. I can’t, no matter how many Susie Sunshine columns I write, make all endings into happy things—that particular knee is going to hurt regardless—but there are new and wonderful beginnings, too. The trick is in finding them.
          Plenty of writers (and meteorologists) talk about the clouds. They define them, differentiate between their types, and predict how long they are going to last. They do it well, and if you’re in a bad place, it can undoubtedly lend comfort to know someone else is there, too.
          But some of us are going to continue to search out the silver linings, to find positivity when, like I said above, it’s really hard. We will continue to make lemonade out of the proverbial lemons and find something to laugh at even before our tears dry. We’ll wear flip-flops in the snow because tomorrow will be better. I’ve been three days writing this column, but as I wrap it up, there are deer playing in the side yard and the sky is blue. It’s going to be a good day.

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