Saturday, November 17, 2007

When I'm 97 I'll be Painting

I met a man this week
while visiting in a local nursing home.
He was not a hospice patient...
just someone I met along the way.

He was sitting in his wheelchair
in his room,
bald and almost completely deaf.

I noticed two paintings of ships on the wall
and pointed to them.

He first showed me his certificate
of service in the Royal Navy,
then rolled himself over
to a bookshelf next to the bed
and began pulling thin canvases
off a foot tall stack.

He showed me painting
after painting
of ships
and flowers
and even the penguins
carefully copied from this month's calendar page.

I noticed the shelf above
covered with painting supplies
and he laughed as he showed me
the paint on his pants and shirt.

He nodded towards his roommate,
asleep in another wheelchair.
"He's 97," the man said.
"I'm just 90."
He studied his sleeping roommate carefully.
Then he swept the air with an invisible paintbrush.
"When I'm 97, I'll be painting!"

I decided right then
that I wanted to be him
when I grew up.

I came home and got out my watercolors
and painted a sunset.
Better start practicing now.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Energy Conservation

I've been working full time lately,
a full day-a-week more in hours
than I worked for several years.

So far, so good--
but I do get a little weary of being around people
by Friday evening.

Today (Saturday) I went to a one day retreat at church...
dreading it a little, because my extroversion tank
felt completely empty. (Ever the true introvert....)

But the morning was great.
Fun activities...a chance to get to know people better.
Veggie soup with ample hot bread and hot sauce for lunch.

When I reached my next limit of energy,
I helped keep the babies in the nursery for a couple hours.

Rocking chairs and flirty little round faces with fuzzy hair.
Happy laughs, the good kind of baby smells, rolling and kicking fun.
And then I left...still at least a couple hours before the event ended.

I'm feeling tired, but glad for the time with my church family.
A quiet evening should help round out the day.

Sometimes it pays to push yourself a bit.
Sometimes it pays to pace yourself a bit.
Generally it pays to do a bit of both.