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“Dwell in Possibility”

 (It has been months since I’ve posted, and I find I must write—something…anything! So here goes…)

Blog Post #35

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I dwell in possibility.” – Emily Dickinson

pos·si·bil·i·ty

ˌpäsəˈbilədē/

noun

  1. a thing that may happen or be the case.
  • ” the state or fact of being likely or possible; likelihood.
  • “a thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternatives.

My First Blog Post EVER!

I have always associated Possibility with positive things—with the hope for better things waiting just around the corner. However, it occurs to me that Possibility also has a negative or dark side to it. A prophet of old once said, *“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.” It makes sense, then, that Possibility, like “The Force,” has both a good side and a dark side.

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Darth Possibility sometimes sneaks up from behind, or lies hidden around a corner, waiting to startle or take you by surprise (e.g. a loved one discovers he or she has cancer). Sometimes, Darth Possibility lurks in the shadows of time, and surreptitiously tosses a banana peel in your path causing you to slip and fall (e.g. an unexpected job loss). Sometimes, Darth Possibility stealthily eases through the backstage door, and waits in the wings. Then, disregarding any cues, descends on center stage, villain-like, upstaging all other bewildered actors, playing a loudly dramatic role, then swiftly exits, flourishing its black cape for effect (e.g. the untimely death of a loved one). Darth Possibility likes to throw around its weight, employing other often ill-mannered cohorts from The Dark Side: Probability, Risk, and Consequence, to deal their hands into the game called Life.

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When things seem their blackest, Darth Possibility’s kin, Possibility Skywalker, appears and opens a portal to hope. I have noticed that Possibility Skywalker is so powerful that even the tiniest pinprick of the light he carries within him can obliterate the fear of the Dark Side. But one must carry the light saber of faith to ward off Darth Possibility’s depressing influence. Possibility Skywalker is like a bright shoulder angel reminding you that you can get through whatever comes. He whispers that there are always opportunities for learning and growth buried within each trial, and urges you on a quest to seek out the beauty and joy amidst the difficult. He fans the flame of courage in the face of affliction, and shows you that you may rise up and conquer fear and despair. He spreads a feast on your table, encouraging you to taste a variety of flavors, rather than remain in a rut of mediocrity and melancholy.

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When you step out your door and encounter the unknown faces of Possibility, pay attention—you may be surprised to hear birds singing,  to see white puffy clouds floating by, and flowers blooming abundantly around you—as if the whole world is oblivious to the hard things that are happening in your world. How many battles have taken place on a meadow where birds sang, and the sun shone brightly–where men fought, lost in a mindset of war, while carefree birds dipped and soared around the melee?

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When death is at the door, both Darth Possibility and Possibility Skywalker rest comfortably on a porch swing nearby, waiting. Good can come from even the very throes of death itself. In a very real sense, that which we embrace–the dark side or the light side of Possibility–depends very largely on our own choices, and what we decide to do when that moment of reckoning comes.

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Recently, my father was staying in a rehab center after breaking his femur, and I was feeling particularly overwhelmed by Darth Possibility. I walked out of the door to head home for lunch, and was stunned at the brightness and beauty of that winter day! Surely, those twittering birds didn’t understand that my father was feeling despondent about his situation inside that building I had just exited. Those happy children and adults laughing and playing at the park nearby, whose voices wafted to me on the winds of hope, had to be unaware of my mental, physical, and emotional fatigue, or else they wouldn’t have had the nerve to engage in such activity! Or were they really the many faces of Possibility Skywalker coming to save the day? The looming question was: Would I allow myself to be rescued, or would I choose to wallow in the oppressive grip of Darth Possibility? The tall Palms lining the drive of the nursing home stood stately and firm; their rustling fronds professed that nothing had changed. Not really. “Life goes on. Joy continues all around. Stand firm, and wait on the Lord,” they whispered. “In His time, all will be resolved. Look up and be of good cheer.” I could choose to partake of that joy, no matter what other turmoil may be churning within or around me, or I could choose to ignore that joy—relegating it to a shelf marked “someday” or “never.” That the joy was always there, I have no doubt. That I had but to embrace it, and allow it to soothe my aching heart was entirely up to me.

I chose Joy.

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I have discovered that Possibility Skywalker may at any moment rush in and save the day. Just when you may think all is lost, new and transcendent light obliterates the darkness and wonderful new Possibilities appear, if we’ll let them! We always have the freedom to choose which side we will indulge, or with whom we will ally ourselves.

We all “dwell in Possibility.” Which side do you choose ?

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Note – During November and December 2015, our family experienced all of the previously mentioned events: my beloved sister discovered she had cancer which took her life in a mere two weeks from the diagnosis, my son-in-law lost his job, and my 92-year-old father fell and broke his femur. Through divine inspiration, I was told to find joy during these difficulties, and I took that counsel to heart. It has made all the difference. I’m happy to report that joy is everywhere, and “everywhen.” Whenever something hard and heartbreaking happens, joy and hope are as probable and possible as depression and despair, if we will choose them. Worry and fear never accomplish anything–they are disabling. Joy and faith, however, are enabling. Since these events took place, we still mourn the loss of my wonderful sister, Karen—we miss her greatly—but we move forward in faith and hope in the atonement of Jesus Christ and in the knowledge that we will be together again. My son-in-law started a new job that promises a fresh start for their whole family, and my father has completed rehab and is home again. He is improving a little each day, and we are finding new manifestations of joy along the way as we walk in the Light of Possibility.

*2 Nephi 2:11

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Copyright February 9, 2016 

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, dear Friends, for reading.

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For the Birds

Blog Post #7


As long as I can remember, I have awakened to a concert of birdsong, which has mostly been taken for granted. Gradually, my mind has awakened from an oblivious stupor, and taken notice, realizing how much their trills and whistles are a part of my life—how devoid of joy the rustle of leaves in the breeze would seem without the accent of their sweet music.   

Mourning Dove

The first welcome greeting of the day is always the low and melancholy cooing of the mourning dove. Aptly named, her subtle tones, soft and sad, transport me to a time long gone—a time lost to time—the time of my youth. As I listen, I am sixteen again—up early, the window slightly ajar, listening—the dove reminding me that each day is like the next. Nothing will change. But everything does.  I am not a child anymore. My nest, once full, is now empty. I stand where my sixteen-year-old self stood, by the same open window, listening. The dove is still there—ageless. I can’t imagine beginning a day without her gentle warblings. So accustomed to her soothing tones am I, that they speak comfort and peace to my heart, and pledge a vow of constancy amid the inevitability of change. How ironic that the dove—the symbolic bird of peace—bodes both loss and comfort.


One tweet leads to another…. Another bird song comes to mind, one that disappeared with the passage of time, as the neighborhood grew and developed. The elusive singers of the abrupt and scratchy ballpark cry of Chi-ca-go! Chi-ca-go! were most often heard and not seen. 

California Quail

When leaving for elementary school early in the morning, sometimes I had the rare treat of meeting a family of quail in front of our house. I whispered a greeting to the little family, but the mother scurried off with her little covey of four or five chicks, their curled plumes pointing the way as they swiftly followed on quick, tiny feet to find cover in the large pine and gazanias that once occupied the west side of the driveway.

As a child, I was less fond of the ominous, scavenging crows—always watching from their perch on the power lines—peering out of those beady black eyes, ready to swoop down for carrion and crumbs as they cawed their warning cry. Now, I think of them as old pals, still watching from a distance, but in a friendlier way.


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 After decades away, we have returned to my childhood home to care for my aging father. The birds are still here—same ones, and some less familiar to me. My husband has become particularly annoyed with a mockingbird that lives up to its reputation, for mock he does! He purposely made his home outside our bedroom window, and like a long-running Broadway musical repeatedly performs his repertoire of calls with show time beginning at five o’clock every morning. I think he does it just because he knows how much it irritates Brad, who has always been a light sleeper.
 

Mockingbird


A favorite of mine is the meadowlark. His cheerful, melodic song beckons me outdoors, “Open the window!” he says. “Come outside, and enjoy the sunshine! Be happy! It’s a beautiful new day!” And when I do, I’m not disappointed.
Brad takes care of our tiny friends, the hummingbirds, inviting them to sip sweet nectar outside our windows so we can enjoy their aerial antics and their beauty. The only sound I’ve ever heard from them is the bee-like buzzing of their wings, as they zoom like flying aces in and around the feeder with their sword-beaks drawn to defend their territorial rights. Their iridescently colored vests flash like brilliantly painted shields in the sun.
 

Hummingbird


Not long after we moved back to my father’s home, I heard a loud squawking coming from the trees out front. Unfamiliar with the sound, I rushed out to see what it was. Brilliant flashes of chartreuse and vermillion perched on limbs and branches and fluttered from tree to tree. Hundreds of wild Yellow Head Amazon parrots decorated the silk and pepper trees in our front yard like tropical Christmas tree ornaments. The “Pasadena Parrots,” purportedly escaping fire in a bird shop in the 1950s or 60s, have developed a following in Southern California, as they move from town to town parading their vibrant plumage and filling the air with their dissonant tones. 

Amazon Yellow Head Parrot

The contrast between these new and transient feathered neighbors and the settled presence of the doves, mockingbirds and crows punctuate the current dynamics of our neighborhood.
Over the fifty-plus years since my parents purchased their dream home, we’ve seen all our neighbors either move away, or pass away. At ninety-one, my father is the last original owner on the street. Changes in lifestyle have also affected our neighborhood. With the exception of the dog-walkers and school kids, we see but little of our neighbors. So many pull out of their garages in the morning, and pull back into them at night. We wave, and peer at them from a distance like the crows on the line, wondering if we can snatch a morsel of friendship before one or the other of us swoops away again.
Many neighbors are shy and anxious acquaintances—wary, like the quail—sharing a parcel of earth for a short time, until they up and leave without a good-bye.
Others, like the hummingbirds, we see speed up and down the street on brightly colored “wings.” They’re in too much of a hurry for conversation; the only noticeable sound is the humming of their engines as they disappear down the street and around the corner.
The bright spots in the neighborhood are those who talk to us, and to each other. We see them at work in their yards, then flit from home to home, sharing the bounty of their fruit trees and gardens, and a few cheery words along their way. Like the meadowlark, they understand the meaning of the words “neighbor” and “friend;” they sing songs of joy, encouraging others to “come out into the sun, and enjoy the beautiful day!”


But of all the birds, the doves have nested in my heart. They soothe me with their motherly lullabies each morning, calming me with a sense of security and constancy, and assuring me that some things remain the same in an ever-changing world.

© Copyright May 27, 2014