Over the past two weeks, we have learned many truths from some unexpected critterly relationships and encounters on the way to Bethlehem.  We have heard them talking in their own languages, with their own unique points of view.  We have sung with them, been startled by them, marched along them, crawled with them, flew with them, called out to whoever would listen with them.  We have been sweeping clean our own Advent path with a lot of help from our critter friends.


N ow we will be meeting up with some beings who are mostly human, but not entirely, thank goodness.  We will listen to them in their own idioms.  We will cry and laugh and dance and crawl and mourn and regret and sigh and then jump up high in many showers of  new light along with these folk.  For, you see, we are created in such a peculiar way that we just do not learn or prepare or rejoice very effectively until our hearts and minds have been drilled by points of light fired like shafts by others into our souls.  Come, let us prepare together!


So grab your walking sticks and a travel pack.  Scrub the mists from your eyes, so that you may see clearly what has been inside you always.  Throw a little water over your head, so that you may be clean when meeting these wonderful “other folk”.  Carry a little oil, pack a little water, store up a little grain “against that day foretold since before the creation.”  Take my hand, pilgrim.  



This past weekend, a family member of a friend suffered fatal accidental O.D.   This was the third close family member of a friend to have passed in this manner in the past twelve months.  I learned of this most recent trajedy the day after reading in this week’s New Yorker magazine about far more people suffer from various effects of prescription medications in this country than from effects of illegal substances.  And the CDC says the odds are 115% greater in the American South.  Many reported fatalities seemed to occur after the victim sought greater relief from physical pain.


All of the above brought on a weekend of anxious pacing up and down, repeating mantras a lot, then gradual settling into: “Hey, you white-haired one, you have learned a lot about preventing pain, living healthier and more joyously; and you have learned a lot of postive ways in which to share this wisdom over the last few years.  So rejoice, and get out there and SHARE!”


Could it be that sharing one’s aches and pains and medical problems in socially acceptable here, sometimes the only social connection available other than the weather and college football?  I totally believe that the more we talk about our pain, the more we hurt!  The Zen folks, and the Coptic Christians, and Native Americans in sweat lodges are really onto something, I have found.

BUT—–WHY IS PAIN A SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE TOPIC OF CONVERSATION IN THE SOUTH, especially in small towns?  Do we Bible Belt folks think we are SUPPOSED to “suffer”?  Is it because we think everyone else hurts, too?

Well, I am here to tell you, at near-65, I “hurt” a lot less than I did at 25!  And the CDC statistics back this up, that the age group greatest at risk for death-caused-by-chasing-more-and-more pain relief is 15-24.

Guess what?  Eating raw, fresh hot peppers, Yoga, soaking up the sun in limited sessions, singing, dancing, worshipping, saying “thank you” for every little ol’ pea-pickin’ thing, drinking lots of water, etc., etc.–you get the idea–prevents a LOT of physical pain.  All of these preventive items are MUCH more worthy of discussion than, “oh, poor me, my knees/back/feet/hips/shoulder,etc. hurt so much; I’d better go back to the doctor for a different prescription!!!


And you know what?  My white hair hurts not one little bit!

(See how using senior wisdom rechanneled that weekend angst?)

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