Thank you to all who sent me emails and messages about the loss of our cat, Pepper. It meant a lot to me. I know several of you shared your stories of your beloved pets. If it is OK with you, I will share your stories on the blog at a later date.
Thank you to Ken B for his recent donation to the class fund. If anyone else wants to send a donation, it’s not too late. Thank you to all who have sent pictures and questionnaires lately. I still haven’t received anything from about half of the class. I imagine there will be some people who don’t send the information back for whatever reason, but I hope the majority will respond.
We have all had our ups and downs. We’ve lived our lives in many different ways. We can’t judge another because we don’t know what all they have gone through. Like the Native American saying goes, “Unless you walk a mile in my moccasins, you do not know my journey.”
No one knows what another has been through or what joys and sufferings they may have had. I used to teach Religious Ed to 7th graders and I always did an exercise where I split the board in “Different” and “Same.” I would ask them to give me examples of ways that flowers are different and ways that they are the same. It usually looked something like this: Flowers: Similarities Have roots, Grow, Have leaves, Need sunshine, Need water, Need carbon dioxide, Die if your pick them
Differences Different smells, Different colors, Different shapes, Different sizes, Grow in difference climates, Some like shade, some direct sunlight, Some are annuals; some are perennials, Some are produce seeds we eat, Some are poisonous; some are medicinal
Then I erased “Flowers” and wrote “People.”
Warm blooded, have hair Hair color, eye color, skin color
Need love, friendship Gender, body shape, size
Grow, think Age
Move their bodies Talents, skills
Need food, water, shelter Social class, money
Need God Practice religion differently (or not)
Then we’d talk about what if all flowers were red roses? Isn’t life more interesting because we have different flowers, different colors, different sizes, different smells? We talked about rejoicing in our differences and loving one another. I would point out that basketball would be pretty boring if we could all shoot baskets like Michael Jordan or if we all looked like Angelina Jolie or Hugh Jackman. We talked about talents and enjoying each other’s talents instead of envying them. I told them there will always be someone richer than you are, but there will also be someone with less. There will always be someone better looking, but there are people less attractive, too. That’s not what’s important. Respect and character are what count. If my 7th grade students learned nothing else that year, I hope they learned respect of others.
Anyway, I think we can all use the reminder that we should respect each other even though we don’t always understand each other or would choose to do things differently than someone else might. It is my hope that, at our reunion, we can set aside our old prejudices and enjoy each other’s company. The people we knew in high school are not exactly the same as they were then, and we need to recognize that we have all grown and changed in ways that others may not understand. I enjoy receiving the questionnaires and seeing all the wonderful things you have done in your lives. We have many who are/were volunteer firefighters, EMEs, Scout leaders, youth leaders, volunteers in their churches and kids’ schools, professional organizations, charitable organizations, etc. It is impressive that many have given so much back to their communities. In high school, we may have been self-centered and self-absorbed, or quiet and shy, self-conscious, worried about peer pressure, experimenting in things that might not have been healthy or wise, been risk-takers in foolish ways, but now we hopefully know better and have done many worthwhile things. My challenge to us all at the reunion is find out all the wonderful things our classmates have done through the years. Instead of worrying about what others think of me or who has the nicest car or best income or who has been divorced, I will rejoice in my classmates’ victories and achievements. I congratulate you all for the paths you have taken.
Speaking of trials, sometimes the most stressful ones are the daily mishaps or irritations. Besides having to put our kitty, Pepper, down on Monday, we also had a major plumbing problem when a pipe behind our dishwasher was leaking. When the plumber came, he found the elbow pipe was totally disconnected and rusted, and as the dishwasher would drain, the water would gush into the wall and floor instead of through the pipe! So, our kitchen is a mess right now. It was hard to find someone who would fix the damage, so a nurse-friend’s husband is going to tackle it for us. He is coming over on Wednesday to give it a shot.
Then…besides losing Pepper and having the plumbing problem, Dennis had the stomach flu and I had shoulder and knee problems. Dennis got better, but my knee is still bothering me. I saw my orthopedic doctor Thursday and he injected my knee with that artificial cartilage stuff (Synvisc). It helped some, but it still hurts. My shoulder will be “MRI’d” tomorrow to make sure I don’t have a rotator cuff tear. Meanwhile, in my spare time (!) I am to have aquatic therapy and physical therapy on my knee. It’s always something! Like Bette Davis said, “Growing old is not for sissies.” (She may have used a different word.)
This week has got to be better!!