It had long since come to my attention
that people of accomplishment rarely sat back
and let things happen to them.
They went out and happened to things.
~ Leonardo da Vinci ~
[Quotes from “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams]
Some days, getting older is a real drag (literally and figuratively)…the graying hair, the middle-aged spread, the skin spots, the forgetfulness, the sense of being either in the way or invisible to the younger generations…
…and on other days, getting older is tempered by the Velveteen Rabbit.
Let’s face it — I’m wearing down to the Real.
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.
“It’s a thing that happens to you..
When a child loves you for a long, long time,
not just to play with, but REALLY loves you,
then you become Real…It doesn’t happen all at once.
You become. It takes a long time.”
It has taken a long time, but sometimes it feels like overnight. Wasn’t it just a short time ago that I graduated from college, then optometry school? Set up my practice, got married, became a mother? In fact, when did I become my mother when I look in a mirror? (See: When Did I Start to Look Like My Mother?)
I’m wearing down to the Real.
“Generally, by the time you are Real,
most of you hair has been loved off,
and your eyes drop out
and you get loose in the joints
and very shabby.
But these things don’t matter at all,
because once you are Real,
you can’t be ugly except to people
who don’t understand.”
My hair is getting gray at the roots, my eyes haven’t dropped out but night-time driving in the rain is risky, and there’s a certain delayed reaction with certain joints — I get up but my body lags behind my head. If my joints aren’t cracking, they’re stiff.
But I’m wearing down to the Real.
Only authentic goods here.
My heart is bigger, my insight deeper, my tolerance wider, my amusement heartier, as I get worn down to a well-loved vehicle. And I hate to admit it, but I even have some shabby – or is it flabby – matronly moments, too.
“When you are Real, shabbiness doesn’t matter.”
But it’s taken me a long time to get to the Real Theresa…the reason-for-being, meaning and purpose in life, I can die and will have made a small positive difference Theresa who is comfortable in her own wearing out skin.
And that’s a good thing, because in wearing down to the Real,
“Once you are Real, you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
I’m wearing down to the Real.
I’m steeped in readiness.
And I am blessed, indeed.
SAN DIEGO – Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman to complete a marathon in today’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, at 92 years, 93 days old.
Thompson, of Charlotte, North Carolina, completed the 26-mile, 385-yard course in seven hours, 24 minutes, 36 seconds.
The previous record was set by Gladys Burill, who was 92 years, 19 days old when she completed the Honolulu Marathon in 2010.
Prior to the race, Thompson said of the attention she has been receiving: “I’m going to be disappointed if it stops. I’m enjoying it! I love being pampered.”
Thompson began running when she was 76. Today’s marathon was her 16th. She is a two-time cancer survivor who entered the race to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Her husband died of cancer in January and her son just began his own round of chemotherapy.
She has raised more than $90,000 for the society, according to race organizers. Donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on behalf of Team Harriette can be made here.
“I’ll be praying for him the whole time,” she said before Sunday’s race.
“Harriette is an inspiration to all of us,” said 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, a San Diego-based runner. “To finish a marathon at 92? Wow, that’s impressive.”
So what’s Thompson’s secret? Apparently, it’s just keeping it simple.
“I put one foot down and then another one. I love to run,” Thompson said.
Thompson finished the full marathon in an unofficial time of 7:24:36, with a pace of just under 17 minutes per mile.
Thompson is a former concert pianist who played at New York’s Carnegie Hall three times.
“I do think the discipline required to play the piano has helped my running,” Thompson said.
There seem to be more endings than new beginnings as I get older. And one starts to wonder just how many endings can continue until there’s nothing left.
This train of thought started with a Facebook post by my ex-husband, notifying his world that our house was finally sold. Finally. Good news about not having to carry two mortgages anymore in today’s difficult economy.
But this was the house that we built 27 years ago, after years of scouring house plans for just the right one. The custom-built house that we watched become a home from the ground up…the footers being poured, the walls being erected, the sheet rock hung, the roof laid, the rooms painted. We went there every night after work to check on the progress, showing Alex, at one and a half, his future home.
Everything happened there – a marriage, raising a son, bringing in 2 cats (Peanut and Freddie) and a dog (Misty), birthday parties, Easter celebrations, Christmas dinners. Alex’s Communion and Confirmation, his driver’s license, his high school and college graduations. And our divorce.
So many memories, so many years, so much laughter and so many tears. The house breathes them. Inhale peace, exhale hostility. Inhale love, exhale animosity. Inhale hope, exhale despair.
I hope that a family bought the house, and that their dreams are fulfilled within its sanctuary. I hope the walls ring with their joy and laughter, and that the years bring them all that they deserve, and more.
For it is a good house, with good bones, with a heart that has known love. Just blow the dust of the years away and bring in the fresh air of hope and new beginnings.
For this is sacred ground. A family lived here, loved here, lost here.
And may a new family be found here.
How many endings until there’s nothing left?
After a 22-year-old Sikh man removed his turban to help an injured boy, a handful of friendly strangers acted quickly to return the favor.
Harman Singh, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, heard screeching wheels and ran outside to find that Daejon Pahia had been hit by a car.
“I saw a child down on the ground and a lady was holding him. His head was bleeding, so I unveiled my turban and put it under his head,” Singh told The New Zealand Herald. “I wasn’t thinking about the turban. I was thinking about the accident and I just thought, ‘He needs something on his head because he’s bleeding.’ That’s my job — to help. And I think anyone else would have done the same as me.”
The turban, or dastaar, is an “integral” part of the Sikh faith that is typically only removed in the privacy of one’s home, according to the Sikh Coalition.
As television news crews traveled to the Singh’s home for interviews, the world saw a peek into the man’s accommodations — which were plain and lacking furniture.
Inspired by concerned comments from viewers, the staff at New Zealand television program ONE News got in touch with a local furniture store owner and surprised Singh with a truckload of new furniture for his apartment. Singh said, through tears, “This the biggest surprise of my life.”
The Huffington Post by Antonia Blumberg