Monthly Archives: April 2017


Last week I drove to Silverwood Park – a Three Rivers Park District park near my house – and sat on a park bench near the lake shore.

The bench
The bench
The view
The view

As I sat there for several minutes gazing at the lake and enjoying the serenity of the setting, I wondered what the other people enjoying the park that day thought about what I might be doing.  Little did they know that I sat there because I can’t walk very far on the paths right now without feeling the pain of my hip bursitis.  Normally, I would be walking the pathways and getting some exercise.  In fact, I would usually walk to the park rather than drive.

Particularly at this time of year when everything is budding and blooming, and we finally have warmer weather here in Minnesota, I love being outdoors.  It lifts my mood and provides me with a light heart.  So, my hip issue keeping me from my walks is really bugging me!  An aha moment came to me last week (might have come to some of you more quickly, but I may be stuck in a rut) that I could at least enjoy the outdoors by sitting on a park bench even if I couldn’t walk very far.  Thus, my drive to the park to take in the view from the bench.

Now, all of the verbiage above is just background for why I was sitting on the bench and wondering what people thought of me.  I really want to address my concern about what people were thinking of me.

I pondered the idea of how my actions impress (or not) other people.  Here are my thoughts and questions about this topic:

  • Probably 98% of strangers I encounter give very little thought to what I might be up to; however, that is likely because I am Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual and mostly don’t bother anyone or stir up trouble.  What if I was Muslim or Asian or Black or gay or trans-gender?  Would others then feel they could judge my actions?
  • If anyone does wonder about my behavior, they have no idea what my life is all about at any given moment – how my story affects my actions.  I could be experiencing a tragedy or crisis that causes me to behave differently.  (Yes, I know, hip bursitis is not a crisis, but it is currently affecting my lifestyle.)
  • It is nobody else’s business what I am doing as long as I am not hurting anyone in any way.  Why can’t we all see that as long as no laws are broken or no one is hurt, there is no reason to fear and judge the actions of others, even those that may be of a different race, culture, religion or socio-economic class?

In January, for the last couple of years, I have set a “word for the year” to use as guidance, hopefully, for my lifestyle.  This year my word is acceptance.  I started out with non-judgmental, but decided acceptance sounded better.  I am trying to accept everyone I meet as they are.  I may wonder about the actions of others, as I thought others might be doing about me as I sat on the bench; but, I want to remember that I do not know everyone’s story or the customs of their culture or race or religion, and therefore, cannot judge their behavior.

In the troubled world we live in today, it seems to me we could all attempt to show more acceptance and less fear of the people we encounter as we live our lives.  Who knows what their story might be!


Slow down you move too fast…

Remember that Simon and Garfunkel song from the 60s – entitled, The 59th Street Bridge Song (why not Feelin’ Groovy??)

Slow down, you move too fast; you got to make the morning last.  Just kicking down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.

I got no deeds to do; no promises to keep.  I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.  Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.  Life, I love you.  All is groovy.

I recently had a weekend with no plans or activities scheduled.  Our grandsons’ basketball games were on hiatus between the winter and spring seasons; the Gopher basketball season had come to an end; and gardening season had not yet begun.

So, because I had recently requested four books from the library and amazingly, they all became available at the same time, I spent pretty much the entire weekend reading.  Now, what I discovered is since I had no place to go or anything specific to do, I REALLY concentrated on the reading.  I must admit many times I am trying to read quickly so skim whole paragraphs in order to finish a chapter in a book before I have to leave the house to go somewhere.  On this quiet weekend, I really took my time to read each sentence.

In essence, I slowed down from moving too fast – like the song admonishes us to do.  I realized what a gift I was given to have the time to contemplate the authors’ words in each of the books I read – perhaps, to find a deeper meaning.  Instead of just reading the words quickly I had time to really think about the author’s message.

My usual quick method of reading books probably explains why I can get to book club meetings and not remember how the featured book ended! I am in awe of my fellow members during our discussions who can recall what I consider really small details about the story we’ve read.  I usually can’t do that!  I consider myself a detail person; but really, I guess I’m not if I can’t pay attention to the detail in books.  The sad part about that for me is I aspire to be a good writer, and good writers are good at writing detail.  I need to pay better attention!

Really, I started out writing this post with the idea of conveying how important I feel it is to take time to slow down.  Seems as though it has turned into a piece about becoming a better reader and paying attention to detail.  Unless skipping over details as you read also pertains to you, you can ignore that part of this post.

Back to the slowing down topic.  I really enjoyed my quiet weekend.  I know I have written about being still and quiet in previous posts; but, again I will say I highly recommend taking your calendar and blocking out some time to just sit and read, meditate, reflect, pray, watch a movie, listen to music, nap, take a walk outside…to just be.  It doesn’t have to be a whole weekend – an hour here or there can work.  I think you will find it very refreshing/re-energizing.  I know I do.