It’s been over a month since I wrote anything of meaning. Like running, sometimes I need to just get out the door and start. That’s the hardest part. As I prepare to metaphorically push myself out the door, I snatch my coffee cup from the microwave.
Yep, I warmed up stale coffee from earlier in the day. It’s not the greatest, but it will do for the task at hand.
There it is! The inspiration I’ve been seeking for my writing. Mom. I need to write about Mom…
When I was about 8 years old, I started to realize that my Mom would frequently recycle her coffee. Many a weekday afternoon, she would seek a few minutes of sanity in a cup of rewarmed joe. At the time, I was vocal about sharing my youthful disgust. Now, I’m finding my own sanity and inspiration in that half-day-old mug.
In addition to finding joy in the marginal taste of recycled coffee, here are a few other life lessons I’ve learned from my Mom.
Sense the need for humor…
I burst through the door frantically asking her, “How do I turn this off? How do I turn this off!” The this just happened to be a water sprinkler. And the sprinkler happened to be in my hands. And we happened to be standing in the middle of our kitchen.
As you can imagine, every square inch of the kitchen was drenched. What a flippin’ mess!
My Mom’s reaction? She laughed. She found humor in the ridiculous situation that easily could have dampened her spirit. And it was honest humor; not false laugher to hide the anger. She found hilarity in the drama that I brought her. As a result, my Mom kept the situation light. In doing so, she also created a meaningful imprint on my life.
Seek the quiet…
My Mom would regularly seek time alone to recharge and rejuvenate. I recall her sneaking away for a few hours on family vacations to sit silently at a picnic table in a park. By herself. She needed this to reset. She used the solitude to strengthen her will to happily tolerate more endless calls of, “Hey Mom…” and “Mom watch this…”
Though I can’t be sure, I believe many of her poems were also written after these moments of quiet reflection. In this age of hyper-connectivity, it is more important than ever to listen to Mom’s advice. We develop our soul, creativity, and authenticity in these selfish, yet selfless, moments of solitude.
Savor the sunset…
I cannot witness a sunset without thinking of my Mom. She particularly adored a late summer sunset over the bay. It was her time. She loved the bright colors. She loved the calmness. She loved the message.
A beautiful sunset is both an exclamation point on a day well lived and anticipation of what’s to come. But far more important, it’s a reminder to live in the present. To savor a sunset, you must stop and observe as it slowly unfolds before you. You can’t rush its enjoyment. You must be present and be patient.
Today marks four years since the sun set on my Mom’s earthly presence. However, she continues to raise and shape this son through her words, wisdom, and memories.
Like coffee… good memories can be rewarmed, enjoyed again, and learned from.
Sense the need for humor. Seek the quiet. Savor the sunset.
Oh, and keep the sprinkler outside when it’s on.