My mother, Rev. Dr. Jane Claypool, made her transition out of physical form on 10/31/14. I was lucky enough to be with her, so I know it was an instantaneous event – for which I am grateful. However it was very unexpected, as she had just conquered pneumonia once again. After writing her daily gratitude list, she finished up this blog before deciding to go the emergency room. We had been laughing with a friend about Halloween and were having a good morning. She had a new drawing too…..(I will post more of her drawings later). A lovely Celebration of Life memorial service was held on 11/15/14. Please call the Center for Spiritual Living Carlsbad at 760-434-9579 if you would like more information. The website is http://www.CSLCarlsbad.org. All Love To You…. Kate DuVivier
I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about my life because Amanda, one of my dear helpers, asks me many questions. I suppose any life is fascinating when the audience is sixty years younger.
Amanda can’t imagine growing up without TV. She can’t imagine doing the wash before clothes dryers, or heating up food before microwaves. She is fascinated with black and white movies.
Since I am on a diet of happy stories, we often choose old movies. She loves the 1930 screwball comedies we watch in the evening and says they are better because the stories “have more talking.” I agree.
Of course, the very best movies were made in 1939, when I was only six years old, and Hollywood was at its triumphant height. I’ve told her that my three siblings and I went to the movies every Saturday afternoon and paid 12 cents to be admitted but I haven’t been clear on the dates. I started going to the movies alone in the 1940’s after World War Two. The films we saw as children included nasty propaganda pot boilers. I had nightmares about Germans chasing me until I was a woman in her thirties.
Turner Classic Movie channel skips many of those horribly prejudiced flicks. I use my DVR to skip all the war pictures. We all engage in some form of censorship, I suppose.
I imagine Amanda’s idea of my war years in the movie house is filled with Clark Gable tap dancing in a European castle just before World War Two breaks out. Or maybe her favorite is Cary Grant taking prat falls before World War Two breaks out. Then there is Charlie Chaplin impersonating Hitler just before World War Two breaks out.
We know history is unreliable. For starters, it is written by the winners and winners see the picture from their viewpoint.
Our personal histories are also unreliable. We tend to romanticize our memories. When I talk to Amanda about my early years during the Depression, I don’t remember much but I speak as if it were a charming story. My parents become delightful young kids who struggled to keep their four children alive. I say things like, “They kept us together in the midst of the Troubles. They kept us alive!”
That’s true, of course and it is a fact that plenty of men left their wives and children behind to become hoboes. It is also true that some women starved to death and many children were sent to orphanages because their parents couldn’t feed them.
In the current version of my childhood, there is nothing about the humiliation of poverty and nothing of the shame when relatives brought groceries and deposited them on the table without a smile. That was also there but the story of the Depression years skips straight to a happy ending. World War Two broke out and there were plenty of jobs!
When I told this personal history story during my twenties and thirties, my story sounded very tragic. The reasons why my life was so tragic piled up until they took the form of a long, and twisted litany of despair. In those days I believed I was marked for tragedy.
It is true I had a difficult beginning with the early death of my young husband but it was also true that I had sixty or more years ahead of me. I wasn’t doomed to anything. I had plenty of choices along the way. In my twenties, I thought my story was over but it was just beginning.
That’s a common mistake. We tend to see wherever we are as the end of the story even though the story goes on and on. And on Life is always presenting us choices and if we miss the brass ring the first time, we usually get another turn to catch it again.
One of the most delightful discoveries about my current age is the fascinating changes and insights that present themselves. I’ve enjoyed many personal discoveries as I’ve moved along life’s pathway. In fact, I am now at a place where I understand that life is always presenting possibilities.
There is a famous poem by Robert Frost called the The Road Not Taken and it talks about taking the road less traveled. It ends with, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
It’s a great poem that says you always get more than one chance. If you have the consciousness to attract a choice of true love, you will have another chance later. Same is true of making a fortune. You’ll have more than one big chance.
I missed my chance to be a famous writer in the 1960’s but the chance returned in the 1980’s. The same pattern was also there in my search for true love. Life is a series of wonderful repetitive choices.
My life still offers plenty of choices. Last week, I wrote a blog about my stay in a nursing home. I had a choice to tell it like it was or simply be grateful to be home.
I might have skipped over the whole experience and written about any number of subjects including gratitude, or the power of supportive friendships. That would have an expected road for a retired minister of a Center For Spiritual Living Center.
When I started these blogs, I promised myself I’d be honest, as positive and helpful to readers as possible, and that my essays would be mostly about Science of Mind.
Most of all, I promised myself I’d be honest. All of those choices would have been honest. However, the stay in the nursing home was top of my mind and I was full of energy about how dreadful that place was.
I had some other choices that would have been slightly less honest; I could lie and say everything was wonderful, or I could write about some unrelated subject.
I chose the road less travelled by! I didn’t want to skip the subject because I was still steaming full of energy about my stay so I wrote what I wrote. You can read the blog, Miss Me?, in the archives.
I had other choices. I could have named the place but my understanding is that it is one of the best so the issues were generic. I could have called the nurses lazy but I could see they were trying hard and overworked. As of now, I have received more comments about that blog than any I’ve ever written. They were all in agreement and several were interested in participating or starting a drumming circle. If you get a chance, take a look at the comments since they are truly honest and intelligent.
Looking back on your choices is always interesting. As I look back on the choice I made last week, I can see that I made a good choice and I’m glad I did. Maybe several readers will work on starting or participating in a drumming circle. I do believe that will help clients, their loved ones and nursing homes.
While we can’t always predict the outcome of our choices, an honest, well meaning choice can be effective. And if it doesn’t turn out well, you always have plenty of other choices to follow.
Am I looking at any difficult choices now?
What do I have to choose?
What do I want to do?
Are my possibilities honest?
Are my possibilities well meaning?