Seattle, WA
Poet, blogger, lawyer, educator, sista, sister, aunt, daughter, mentor, friend, dog owner, lover of music and all things gluten free... Writing about all of this and more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Cleaning

So this past weekend I went off to NY for a whirlwind trip. I took a red-eye Friday night, arrived at 6am, and didn't stop hitting the pavement until I got to the airport on Monday evening.

What was my business? Had to retrieve some boxes from my past life, go through them and ship back to Seattle anything I wanted to keep.

I easily throw away the first group--expired toiletries, broken decoratives that I had used in my Brooklyn apartment, three-quarters burned out candles, shoes that the Salvation Army wouldn't salvage. Then came tougher stuff--papers from law school that I won't let go of because I over-value my intellectual property. Photos of people who I could not identify but hesitated to get rid of, because isn't it bad karma to throw away someone's photo? Then came gems--heartfelt cards my mother sent me in college for my birthday and Valentines Day; old love letters; poetry written on napkins from 1999, 2003, 2006; journals.

I felt like I had accomplished a great task when I was able to reduce 4 and a half large boxes down to three small ones, giving one great box of things to Salvation Army and another box of linens and dishes to my friend who housed my stuff for free in his attic for almost two years, and throwing away another large box of stuff.

With the loss of my parents I have been faced with the task of throwing away their stuff as well--something which, almost 8 years since losing my mom and 2 years since my dad died, I still have yet to complete. I often wonder whether something I consider trash is something they would never have consented to being thrown away. What does it mean to throw away, recycle, give away, and sell things that were once part of you? Why do we let things become such a part of us? And how do these same things eventually transition into discardables?

These and other random thoughts passed through my mind as I sat in my friend's dusty attic, sneezing incessantly, sifting through all sorts of things like pictures from my childhood, framed degrees, old papers and books from school and work, old jewelry and knicknacks, etc.

When the stuff I've shipped from New York arrives in Seattle, I wonder if I'll throw away anything else? Oh, life. Maybe. I'm on a minimalist kick. I need less baggage!

One thing I don't think I'll ever willingly throw away is my stuffed camel, Chosun. He's no teddy bear. He's unique and thoughtful. He's got more substance than a mere bear. He's been with me for 28 years. He's here to stay. Which is good to know.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Home is...

This is what my homegirl says about where home is for her. Check it out and please thank her for sharing!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

People Watching

It’s wrong and creepy and voyeuristic, but I just can’t stop myself from watching this couple that is sitting in the car parked right in front of my window. I’m at my favorite coffee shop, have just finished up my Bible study, and am preparing to write. I look out at the warm gray gloom that is any given Sunday in spring in Seattle, and I see them, sitting there in the car, her face covered and his arm around her shoulders.

I’m touched by their tenderness. The woman is clearly truly distraught. I imagine scenarios. Maybe they are breaking up—perhaps she has cheated on him and is overcome with grief over what she has done. Perhaps he has just informed her that he has found someone new. Maybe she just learned that her brother has died. Maybe they just lost their baby. Maybe she is simply overwhelmed by a range of mundane things—the unpaid telephone bill, that leaky shower head, and the final straw, the fact that their dog didn’t hold his bladder this morning—things that, lumped together, form one big overwhelming, dreadful sense of void. Then it occurs to me that maybe the two are not a couple, but friends, or siblings.

Either way, the man is a tree for her to lean against, a willow to cover her. It is beautiful, although her grief seems very real and raw and painful.
I have now decided to turn my back to them because I know recognize this moment and I know it needs to be theirs alone. But I can’t help but wonder—what happened? I can’t help but appreciate that no matter what the circumstance a friend’s arm can be a blanket in a cold world.

Who is a blanket in a cold world for you? I am blessed to count many brothers and sisters as such.

And of course, there is God, my ultimate Blanket in a Cold World. Today I have been reminded and then reminded again that even in the midst of the deepest sorrow, we have to remember our blessings--the blessing of a good friend, a loving hug, a reminder that we are loved. So I'm feeling Thankful.