I.  Meditation at 'Squan
seated atop 'squan sand
gratitude for our life
is as wide as the atlantic ocean
wonderment lies hushedly
against an expansive pink lilac dusk
sweet granddaughter in sunflower yellow ruffles
squeals as she jumps over each rushing wave
doting granddad in a royal purple polo delights
in his precious senior moment
oh, honeyed moment!
be still my Spirit in thanksgiving

II. Sunday prayer
i come solemnly
with tool and paper in hand
to the pier
to write in the dulled blue sky
the one with whom i pray
casts his tool into the incoming tide
Josephs, Marys, Peters, Hannas among us
may peace abide within you
may Spirit illuminate our hearts
the way the Sun smiles upon the bay

III. Visitation
i visit where my father lives
bay breeze catches me 
in deep reflection
fishing boats float past the dock
i continue to write in the sky


Running the distance

Adoption:  We filed our first extension for our immigration application which expires in three days.  This time, no fee.  Anniversary:  A. & I celebrated our sixth one.  Still happily married.  Annual run:  The 2011 Run for Dad to support prostate cancer research seems to be making its way among our family traditions.  Still new to running, I'm appreciating how running the distance has its role in more than one area of my life.  

By this August, we will have been on our adoption journey for two years.  It will have been eight years since A. & I first met.  And in the same month, Dad will have been gone for three years.  How do we remain inspired enough to "dig deep" through what seems like the longest stretches of endurance?  

Wondrous healing
the genius of a child, my niece,
who is not fully mine
a partner's respectful love
moves me 
to feel beautiful
almost divine


Quiet desperation

As my sixth wedding anniversary approaches, I'm inspired to reflect on a couple of model and not-so-model marriages in my life.  And I am truly humbled and thankful for the man whom I married.  He is the best husband I never imagined for myself.  Intelligent, patient, disciplined, understanding, compassionate, and most of all full of integrity.     

They say 50 percent of marriages end in divorce -- most likely, an urban legend. What of the other actual 66 percent (or at least those that don't end in divorce)? As my mind's eye takes a random sample of family and friends, I suspect some of the women (and men too) live marriages of quiet desperation.

Silent hopelessness. It's feeling despair, but going on with your life, never letting on that you're feeling it. Living a life of "quiet desperation" means the feeling people get from simply going with the flow and doing what is expected of them in order to fit in and pay the bills, without ever exploring what it is they truly want out of life.  They know there's something wrong, but they're too polite to complain and too busy to think about it much.  Or perhaps they understand that they've made a commitment to another person, children, to their family. And after so many years, whatever affection they don't experience in their five-, fiftteen-, or thirty-year marriage, they are left to happen upon elsewhere . . . else someone.  That a woman -- a wife and mother -- would live in quiet desperation as her husband berates her through the decades overwhelms me. While there may be no physical abuse, day after day, week after week, month after month or year after year of spousal rebuke . . . can leave someone emotionally drained (I can only imagine).  No doubt there may be husbands or partners who have experienced similar journeys.

For those who have lived lives of quiet desperation and have found freedom in new loves . . . with discerning respect . . . 
by artist Lorna Robertson

heart's desire at twenty-something
loses its way in the clouds
no sunlight
bound by commitment to culture, to partner, to family
no way out of the overcast

heart's desire at fifty-something
loses its way into someone else's heavens
the slightest silver lining
breaks through muted melancholy
shrouded Sibylline lingers lovingly
in promising pentecost


Calling the moon

"Calling the moon
'Cause I know what it's worth
To tug at the seas and illumine the earth
Oh, I am calling the moon
Oh, I am calling the moon"
~ Dar Williams, Singer-Songwriter 

A dear friend of mine, C., shared an interesting article about the effect of eclipses on our day-to-day experiences -- bringing seeming challenges or possible opportunities. Admittedly, eclipses -- lunar or solar -- would explain so much that has happened along life's journey the past six years.  I realized at least one major life-changing event has happened since A. & I have been together:
  • 2005 . . . A. & I married
  • 2006 . . . Dad began hormone therapy; I resigned from a longtime career at NYU and began my work in cancer support; A. underwent open heart surgery
  • 2007 . . . Dad started chemo
  • 2008 . . . Dad died; I was laid off
  • 2009 . . . Unemployed for eight months, I finally started my work in government relations/advocacy; we started our adoption process
  • 2010 . . . ICAB approved our adoption dossier; A. was laid off
  • 2011 . . . Unemployed for almost one year, A. started his new position with IEEE just a couple of weeks ago!
  • 2012 . . . ???
I suppose that even with challenges, opportunities have presented themselves, especially the time to reflect, nurture our Spirits, and be well.    

June 4 - Yesterday was my Dad's birthday.  He would've been 72.  Almost three years since his death, I am still overwhelmed by the memories of our last summer together, and my Mom & I work to grow an adult relationship as mother & daughter, not without its potholes along the way.  In my Mom, I am discovering the woman I, as her daughter, did not know, and I am taking to heart the courageous strength she mustered to stay the course of a dutiful wife & mother in a culture wrought with old school Filipino machismo and sometimes not-so-subtle derogatory behavior towards women and girls.  It's either a Pilipino teleserye or a Nicholas Sparks novel (I'm hoping, without the usual tragic ending). This is not to dishonor my Dad's memory or disrespect my parents or their marriage. No doubt Dad mellowed with age and illness.  It's true what some say, The only people who know what goes on in a marriage are the two individuals in that relationship. Strange how we really can never know what Life has in store, and we just have to accept the invitation to . . .

. . . move through the eclipse.