When you are a new born child, brought in to a warm healthy loving Maine home, the world revolves around that precious package wrapped in baby sized pink or blue blankets.
People you meet in public toting your bundle of joy for all to see start to coo. Their voice raised an octave or two. Strange, exotic new ways of talking happen as they crowd around for a peek, look see.
Suddenly a shift to new alphabet of letters introduced to create special unique forms of speech. Communication in shorthand, morse code, index glowing finger up ET fashion. Kids and small new born animals have that effect on people.
Pure, new, smelling like A and D, Desitin ointments and products made by Johnson and Johnson. Near and dear words in your life like “woosie” (small horse) and expressions they use become yours like “last time” said in a small toddlers vocabulary tone. Speech patterns that anyone outside your circle raises an eyebrow and wonders what in the world you are talking about. And what’s so funny or going on? Its all about kids when you are lucky enough to have any. It’s hooskerdo fireworks excitement, wonderment. Kicking Wing had the right idea. Did not give up.
In my life I have been blessed with four children of my own and the opportunity to blend in two more bright, sharp, articulate children.
As a kid I knew I wanted to be a parent, to have children of my own to raise, instruct, enjoy. To prepare them for the wild bumper car “thrill a minute” experience ahead of them at the amusement park with the neon sign glaring harshly over the entrance to the ride called “Life”.
There are many twists and turns, sudden grind to a stop bumps on this life ride. Coming at you from all directions. So keep your hands and arms inside the car compartment at all times. We are in this round and round circular journey together. Maybe alone inside our car but at least not unprotected. Sitting.. it gliding on the steel mixed with iron floor.The sparks sputtering overhead from the electrified wire grid that is the source of all our power. Until it stops. And you are asked to exit from the opposite side of where you came in. Don’t get out, stay in the car.
Theologians can argue if that swaddling clothed baby mentioned above is brought in to the world pure as the white driven snow.
Or born in to sin marked with imperfection because we are mere mortals. Beginners of wet, goopy balls of clay on a potters wheel ready for shaping, forming, detailing. To become useful pitchers, vessels, cups that runneth over. Able to retain fluid, filled with joy, kindness, peace, and most important of all love and respect. For something outside of ourselves.
It is not about you, it is about others. Our successes are not just ours alone. Because more than one bumper car on that ride. We are not, or should not be alone. Needing constant improvement and to be humble, grateful and never comfortable. As we strive to learn more about the bigger picture, the quality of life that involves others. I am glad I live in Maine where the number of “others” around me is much smaller.
In a small Maine town, we need each other and are tighter knit, caring than being raised in a big populated state.
We are connected growing up together that a new out of state person coming in to it missed. Especially if from a large urban area. Not the same bumper car ride. We picked potatoes as kids for our winter jacket. We attended church, heck I took organ lessons at one with Greta White, my childhood piano teacher.
You are much more aware of others in a small Maine town. I remember as a single full time Dad being at a spring parks and rec soccer game with the kids all around seven years old. And seeing a lady on the aluminum bleachers, head on one hand supported by her knee, held low. Watching her daughter hustle hard but looking so sad, very tired, unhappy. You don’t know what folks have been through if you are wrapped up in your own problems. I knew the mother only because her sister had married a first cousin that I later sold a house for as they moved to the Bangor area. I thought I need to reach out, lend a sympathetic ear.
My heart hurt from just that look, visible pain as our kids chased the soccer ball around the Just For Kids playing field with mouth guards and shin guards in place.
I wanted to shield this lady that I did not know from any more pain or suffering. Much much later, I ended up marrying this “County girl” who too picked potatoes, understood well the simple living in Aroostook. Had munched the same Sadie’s Bakery donuts, enjoyed the same flavor HFD ice cream sundaes. And then I made a terrible mess, botched up the blending of her two with my four kids.
Room for improvement, how many in the room in this class, raise your hands for a head count. Oohh, big class. High divorce rates happen for many reasons because of the overbooked, pace of life we lead. But also because if the person we are with and you quarrel, there is a thinking a new and improved mate is what’s needed. Will fix the ills that leave from one marriage and follow you in to the second and more if you don’t just sit in that shielded, protective bumper car. Slumped low in the seat, taking a deep breath. Then pondering, considering what is going on here. What’s my mission and how do I help or hurt the process? Taking ownership for my role in the good, bad and the ugly. You need that other person.
Happiness is an inside job of being grateful and not having others define you as having very few redeeming qualities.
You and I have lots of goodness, well intentioned “hearts in the right place” purpose. The secret is when you meet someone willing to share all their baggage they carry and add to along the way, is to realize change happens with you and me, not the other person when life’s rough spots happen. Those set backs are not time to get off the ride and head for the exit. To repeat the same mistake of running, hiding and looking for another to fix the stuck in the groove skipping music cause by the diamond tip riding on vinyl.
There is a time to grow up, admit you and I are a big part of the problem. It adds to the confusion if other well intention family members have their spin on what you should do. And march in to your home, finger pointing, wagging and say do this, do that right now. Driving your own bumper car has to happen. Because it is your life and divorce just adds extra layers to the make it foggy, confusing to maneuver and see the right path to take today.
I think listening to God’s whisper that becomes a shout if you ignore him is the start for peace, contentment and patience that our drive through society struggles with.
Then the mate you chose that you can trade hearts with and protect needs to be listened to, loud and clear. The communication of what’s wrong when silence happens and they retreat or shut down needs to be opened. Rather than hurt defensive hiding, opening up and trusting that what they need to say is what the other needs to be more sensitive to, for understanding the what is going on. Not shutting down, getting hurt, defensive, bitter or harboring deep resentment. The looking for a brand new blank etch o sketch that starts out clean, new and different. Don’t skip out, dig deep and stay put.
I get on my knees, need to stay there and ask for help in becoming better, for understanding.
And knowing I have something good in me that someone else sees, needs. We all need cheerleaders to uncover and bag balm our insecurities. As we lick our life wounds. And that lovingly will help with the clay forming defining me process on that potter’s wheel. To have a hand I trust, believe in as part of the low RPM shaping wheel turns, spins. Then I in turn am called on, needed to do the same with a mate as we grow, learn, explore our purpose in life together.
In small Maine towns, the whole village has a hand in that refinement process. The polishing of rough edges we all carry. To repair the cracks, accept the blemishes. But sometimes smack dab in the middle of trying to juggle it all, the important keys points are missed. Your hurt and feeling sorry for yourself selfishness kept you from realizing what you need to do too late for the person you should be living your life with.The one that God brought, provided for a supernatural love answer to your prayers. Delivered to you, entrusted as the precious one to share, learn and care together.
Side by side in one bumper car, not apart in two alone in the dark.
I’m no angel. But let me start a fire with the spark in our hearts. And keep it from going out. I don’t know all the words, but Momma told me as I sat beside her as her young son that some day I’d realize that “I’m a simple man“. Some day is here. A simple man, that’s the kind, all I am.
Maine, the place to come to figure it out because less people, more wide open space to think, ponder, and improve happens every day in Vacationland.