Help! I Need Somebody!

I remember driving into the mountains when my youngest daughter was three years old. Even with what she could see from her car seat, she was enthralled.

“Wow,” she piped up in her wee voice, “those are big! We shouldn’t climb up there. We might fall down and get hurt!”

At the time, I’d only enjoyed the mountains from the bottom and I understood her exclamation, as I’d always thought them imposing and viewed them with a healthy fear.

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Mountain Abstract by Denise Plett

When I was a child and my parents took us to the mountains and there were heights involved, I quaked inside watching my mother march up to the edge and lean over to get a better view. I was glued to the middle, the “safe zone”. The edge, for me, was a scary proposition where the pull of gravity might suck a chubby blondie over the side, if one ventured too close. I had visions of a sad cartoon version of me, eyes sprung out of their sockets, hair splayed out, face frozen forever in horror, limbs askew, flattened on the cracked earth. I’ve always had a vivid imagination.

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Pic by Keith Traber https://www.instagram.com/trabs_theworldaccordingto/

Little did I know that some 14 years later, I would be climbing up where my daughter in her childlike wisdom said one should never go. A couple of years ago, I was trying to grow my account on Instagram and I came across a Christian man in my province whose posts consisted mainly of his mountain climbing adventures. I was intrigued and followed him and, that same summer, my son and I went on our first hike with him, his sister, and a few friends and this was the beginning of my passion for mountain climbing.

I have another friend locally that I hike with whose approach is more relaxed than my hard-core friends from Calgary. This past Monday, she and I were on the trail up to Sofa Mountain in Waterton Lakes National Park, an hour and a half from where I live. The trail seemed straight forward enough at the beginning, but it was soon unclear as to the img_1274best way to ascend. I trusted my partner’s GPS route and began to trudge up the scree. Now, for those of you who’ve never climbed a mountain before scree is “a mass of small loose stones that form or cover a slope on a mountain.” (Oxford Dictionaries) I imagine there will be scree in hell, so tedious and, often, precarious it is. You do a lot of sliding away from your desired destination, much to your consternation. Soon enough, I was on my own with my partner bowing out to sit quietly creek-side and watch the herd of mountain sheep grazing at the base of the mountain. I was determined to go up, though, and she was gracious enough to let me go.

As I was going up, I realized something. Even though I’m an introvert and a fiercely independent person, at that moment, slogging up the scree, I wanted people around me. I missed looking up ahead to see my fellow climbers suffering the same frustration, but still making headway, a great motivating factor when you feel like sitting down in a hot huff on your tuchus or turning around altogether. When I got to the last part of the img_1269scramble, where I would have to climb hands and feet and pop up over the top, that desire for people became an all-out need. My friend from Calgary tells me I’m at an intermediate level, climbing-wise, and I think he’s being generous, but I felt the dearth of my inexperience weighing on me. If I fell, there would be no one to help me, except that my girl friend would be left waiting down below wondering what had happened to me and my limp, broken body would be overrun by the hideous, chunky, black spiders I saw scurry under rocks at my approach, which, for me, is almost a fate worse than death. I would cease to be Polly and become that tragic, “shake your head” news story, the lady who went up the mountain alone and fell and died alone.

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Taken from my perch after deciding to abort!

I turned around. I took pictures from the height I had achieved and started the arduous journey back down. I congratulated myself for making it as far as I did, rather than viewing my attempt as a failure. I re-joined my friend and felt good about a day of hard work and good judgement in the sunshine, fresh air, and shadow of the mountains.

Fast forward to Saturday. My friends from Calgary were itching to go out, but rain and thunderstorms were looming in their mountain playground. Did I have the hike for img_1454them! I took my position, the klutzy straggler, at the back of the pack and we began our tramp through the forest and then our ascent. The entire way, from top to bottom, better climbers than I came along side me, giving me helpful tips, telling me where to put my hands and feet or where not to, leading me onward. The confidence and security I felt being a part of this group of experienced mountain people gave me just what I needed to accomplish my goal of reaching the summit safely and returning home to hike another day.

That’s life, isn’t it? We need each other. We were made for community. This bizarre time of global flu, racial unrest, and economic downturn has opened our eyes to just how dependent we are on each other, to just how necessary each one of us is to keeping our societies strong, healthy, and humming. It’s truly amazing what we’re capable of when

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Pic by George Mach https://www.instagram.com/2litresofsoysauce/

we cooperate and this time of crisis has only magnified this truth. If we had failed to come together, to offer what we have to the collective for the sake of the common good, we would have been headed for a serious tumble, but people are doing their parts, even sacrificially, with courage and determination, from the thousands sheltering in place, to the tireless work of those deemed essential, to the neighbors buying groceries and picking up prescriptions, to the many drive-by celebrations and gestures of gratitude. In spite of the all the chaos, uncertainty, death, grief, and anger there’s still hope, light, love, and joy in the world.

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As someone who has struggled with mental illness in the past, it’s my family and friends who are keeping me from disappearing into a fog of depression right now. I was trying to curtail my use of social media before the pandemic arrived, but quickly reconsidered, feeling like the need for connection, any connection, was better than the loneliness I was experiencing. It’s not just people’s help that we need, but their personality and presence.img_5358 We need people who inspire, lead, and teach us, people who’ll challenge us to move from comfort to courage and cheer us on to personal growth, people who’ll warn us when we’re being self-destructive, people who’ll protect us and put us back together when we’re hurting, and people who get our particular brand of silliness. Friends are God-ordained. Though, some people joke about preferring their dog to humans, God, after having Adam name the animals, demonstrated that an animal could never meet the deep soul need we have for each other by creating Eve.

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In response to the pandemic, our church has developed a program called Bridge Builders to make sure people don’t become too isolated and that their needs are met. Congregants volunteered to call others on a regular basis to check in. As I said before, I’m an introvert, not one who enjoys or ever pursues small talk, much less chatting on the phone.  I’m grateful for those people who took this on, this ministry of coming along side others, even those they don’t know well, in this strange time of physical distancing and staying home. I pray that God will bless their obedience and kindness with joy and new friendships.

The writer of Ecclesiastes expresses the benefits of togetherness simply and perfectly. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has

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Pic by George Mach

no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12) On that day, when I was alone atop the hard rockface of the mountain, I needed the warmth and support of a companion more than I needed to reach the summit. I hope this memory will remind me to reach out to friends, not just because I need them, but because they need me, too. I’m afraid I’m not very good at friendship, probably less so now when there’s some fear involved in meeting others, but I’ve been working on it over the last couple of years, making and keeping friends (you can read about that here). I encourage you to seek out the company of friends and, of course, loved ones, as soon as possible, and regularly. Look in each other’s eyes. Give each other the gift of your full attention. Share feelings. Express concern. Smile and laugh. Journey up that proverbial mountain together, as you were meant to, and be comforted, strengthened, and blessed!

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War Wounds by Denise Plett

Feature Pic by George Mach http://2litresofsoysaucecom.blogspot.com/2020/06/. All other pics mine except where noted.

Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

 

 

Sayonara, Social Media

I’m giving up Social Media. After a good and maybe not so good 10 years or more of posting, scrolling, skimming, perusing, liking, and commenting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, I’m done. I’ll leave my accounts up for the purpose of contacting people. Otherwise, I’m putting my phone down.img_9450

I’ve only had a cell phone for five years. I remember the days when I left the house and the now antiquated payphone was my only means of communication. I always liked being unreachable, which is why I resisted getting a cell phone. Every day, I free floated through a beautiful, bustling collage of sights, sounds, and smells with all my senses firing. It’s a rich world we live in. It’s too bad we’re so often tuned out. Continue reading “Sayonara, Social Media”

Say What you Need to Say

For St. Valentine, because he deserves better.

I love me some Facebook, but I’ve noticed an avalanche of other things where my friend’s status updates used to be. I find it humorous that people are upset when others scroll on by, when they’ve offered little incentive to stop and look. My main reason for going on Facebook is not to be inspired, enlightened, challenged, taught, or entertained, IMG_4788though all of these things take place. I go on Facebook to see what’s happening in the lives of my friends. I enjoy the family pictures, the declarations of love, the documenting of birthdays, weddings and holidays, the silly stories, and the “look what my kid did and I’m so proud” moments. I’ve always been shy and when I see people in social situations that I’m friends with on Facebook, I feel a barrier to approaching them has come down, because I have, at least, a vague idea of what their lives look like. This seems less likely to occur, as personal statuses are replaced with quotes, articles, and cat and dog videos. Continue reading “Say What you Need to Say”

A Monologue on Marriage

Marriage is a kiss or a slapmarriagecouple-1783843_1280
A cuddle or a cold shoulder
It’s a serenade or a shouting match,
Don’t matter if you’re young or older
It’s a walk in the park or a natural disaster
Ecstasy or woe
It really depends on what you’re after
It’s your show

marriageumbrella-768541_1280_FotorYou can work as a team or against each other
You can build up or pick apart
You can bear a burden or be a burden
It’s about what’s in your heart

You can forgive or hold a grudgemarriageheartsickness-428103_1280_Fotor
You can let it pass or complain
You can show respect or criticize
It’s how you play the game

Marriage is a dream or a nightmare
A tall tree or a worthless weed
You’ve got to nurture what you plant to see your love succeed
marriagelove-2055372_1280It’s a work of art or a piece of trash
Juicy fruit or a cold, hard pit
But of all the things that marriage is
It’s what you make of it
Show love, work hard, hold fast, have hope
It’s what you make of it 😀

 

Author’s Note: In two days, I celebrate my 26th wedding anniversary. My husband and I dated for six years before this, so we’ve been committed to each other for 31 years. Married life is a blessing. 🙂

Complete the experience. Listen to Stephen Curtis Chapman’s Together.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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What Does a Gal have to do to get a “Like” Around Here?

For those of you who enjoy watching movies and are around my age, you may remember the moment Sally Field received an Oscar for Best Actress in the 1985 film Places in the Heart. She was glowing and gushing as she delivered her acceptance speech, her bouncy curls combed high atop her head as was the style. (Watch the clip here.) She mentioned her cast and crew and her family and then went on to say something that has been mimicked and mocked ever since and I quote, “But I want to say thank you to you. I haven’t had an orthodox career and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it. And I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now! You like me!”
Continue reading “What Does a Gal have to do to get a “Like” Around Here?”

The Scent of Unexpected Blessing

showerhead2The other day I was doing a shower for a delicate, little bird of a lady. When I shower people, I usually try to ask questions about their lives to put them at ease, because it’s such an intimate thing I do for them. As they share their stories and the warm water droplets contact and cleanse their bodies, the tension seems to drain away with the dirty water.

As the shower progressed, I began to open and use bathproducts2the bath products she brought with her. I massaged her head with oil of macadamia nuts. I scrubbed her down with raspberry shower gel. After gently patting her dry with the scratchy, white, hospital towels, I massaged a lotion called “Hawaiian Island Flowers” into her arms, legs, and back. I oohed and aahed and she giggled. I felt her happiness in this most unlikely place, enveloped in a cloud of heavenly scents. I’ve never been one to use a lot of bath products, nor have I ever really considered the virtues of aromatherapy, but in that moment, I was grateful for them and the effect they had on a delicate, little bird of a lady in a hospital shower.

Author’s note: This was written when I worked on the geriatric unit of my local hospital.

Complete the experience. Read this article The Right Way to Shower. I had been showering people some time before looking this up and was surprised at what I learned.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

The Scarf that Keeps on Giving

I have a scarf. It was purchased for me by a dear friend on one of her holidays. It’s a rainbow of fuchsia, coral, tangerine, and canary yellow. She said she saw it and it reminded her of my vibrant personality. I don’t wear scarves, because I have boobs and don’t wish to look like an 87-year-old Grandma with waist deep, wrung out, brightly-colored mammary glands. For a while, I wondered what to do with this scarf. It’s too beautiful to languish in a drawer and I would never re-gift it because I love my friend and appreciate her thoughtfulness. One day, I tied it in a bow and hung it on the bedpost next to my head. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded that I’m a beautiful, multi-faceted human being and that I have a friend who loves me. Do you own such a treasure? Is it out where you can see it?

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

The Sacred Meet and Greet

Somebody needs you. Don’t keep them waiting.

It happens when we leave the house, often numerous times a day. Two people who know each other pass by in a hallway at work or on the sidewalk, at school or a conference, at a bar, a gym, or in the church foyer. Our eyes meet, we recognize each other, and we acknowledge each other with a greeting. We say “Hello”, “Hey there”, or we throw out a quick “Hi”.
Continue reading “The Sacred Meet and Greet”

Footprints in the Snow

For my husband

Walking together in the chill of a winter’s eve

Bodies craving warmth are bundled into obscurity

Breath hangs like icicles

You trudge on ahead

Diamonds sparkle at the crunch of your heavy boots

I follow sure-footed the glittering path you’ve made for me

I thank you for those footprints in the snow

For the many things you do for me

To make my life a little bit easier

 

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Coming and Going

A piece of my heart has wandered far from me.

I’ve had a number of firsts recently. I’ve never been on an all girl road trip. I’ve never traveled so many miles without a parent or my husband at the steering wheel. I’ve never had a child move out of my home. Until now.
Continue reading “Coming and Going”