Thank you DadApril 29, 2008 at 6:35 pm | Posted in art, blogging, country life, country living, dating, faith, family, flowers, gardening, gifts, knitting, Life, love, photography, relationships | 22 Comments
The summer of my seventeenth birthday I was invited to attend my best friend’s older sister’s wedding. My friend was named Rudy, and oddly enough he was the younger brother of the guy who had been my boyfriend the year before. I was a senior, Rudy was a freshman and for some reason we just really hit it off as friends and continued to be best friends for a couple of years–an entirely platonic friendship. Some of my best times in high school were with Rudy, and hopefully the same was true for him of the time he spent with me.
When he invited me to attend his sister’s wedding and reception, I was very excited: they were a very large Mexican-American Catholic family and the reception promised to be one of those big, noisy, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” type receptions. There was a snag, however. I needed a somewhat formal dress to wear, but I didn’t have any extra money at the time to buy one. Without a new dress, I felt I could not attend the wedding.
Sitting with my father one afternoon, I lamented my problem and he listened very kindly. He and I have been very close ever since I was a little kid, and I could usually share my problems and thoughts about life with him and get some good feedback or at least a patient ear. I did not want to ask him and my mother to buy a dress for me, in fact I would not have thought to do so. From when I was a young teenager my sister and I baby sat for spending money and always bought our own clothes. Putting a drain on family finances for something as superfluous as a new dress to wear to a wedding was not anywhere on the radar in my mind.
After hearing me out my father came up with a suggestion which I cherish to this day. He asked if I happened to already have a dress that would suit the occasion, and I said I did but that I had already worn it a couple of times and it no longer felt special. He said, “Well, one thing you could do is breath new life into the old dress.” Hmm. Breath new life into the old dress. What an interesting idea. I told him I would give it a try.
A day or so later, I took the old dress out of my closet and hung it on the door of my bedroom. I stepped back and looked at it for a couple of minutes and then I got the idea — created the idea — that it was in fact, brand new. The interesting thing is that a feeling did wash over me just like the feeling I would get when I did in fact have something brand new. That was a very intriguing phenomenon. In fact, it felt so good that I did it a couple more times until I completely had the feeling all inside and out of me that the dress I had already worn a couple of times and owned for at least a year was instead brand, spanking new.
The day of the wedding, that wonderful feeling of “the new dress” continued through the day and the long, happy party afterwards. I danced all afternoon and into the evening in that “new” dress, and I felt pretty and happy and full of magic the entire time.
Today, yesterday, and for some of the tomorrows ahead, people have been and will be talking about how bad the economy is. Things are so expensive. Gas prices have soared. Food costs too much. Money will not go so far. It is and will be in the press, and believe me the press will not rest on this subject no matter how discouraged the population gets … they will “press” onward and remind you and I constantly of just how bad things are and will be.
Okay. Fine, the cost of gas has gone up, food prices have gone up, some people will not be able to buy some of the new stuff they would like to buy in the months or year ahead. Sometimes it will be me, sometimes it will be you. It will affect us all and it seems we have no choice in the matter.
The fact is, however, we have a considerable amount of choice. The most important choice any one of us can make is how we choose to regard our lives and the economy. Is something being taken away from us, or are we being given an opportunity?
Personally I have this little rule that adds to my own happiness in life: If the press is promoting an idea, I do my best to think the opposite of that idea. If they promote the idea that life sucks because money is tight, I am bound and determined to create my own attitude that life is wonderful in new ways because expenses are shifting.
I would not be the spiritual being that I am, the artist or creative person I am, if I allowed my attitudes about life to be sculpted by merchants of fear who would have me think that all of the dresses in my closet are old and that no new dresses are on the horizon. (I’m speaking figuratively, you get that right?)
It does not have to be bad news that gas prices have gone up and affected the cost of other goods and services. We can all create whatever attitude about gas and food and heating and so forth we choose to.
I can walk out in my yard, stroll around and see one beautiful little thing after another that delights my heart no end. I can gather pods and twigs and feathers and nuts as I go along and make pretty little things to hang in my windows or sell in an Etsy store.
I saw a piece on Good Morning America today featuring people living in cities or suburban neighborhoods who are turning their little pieces of lawn into vegetable and herb gardens. One lady and her husband grow all kinds of lettuces and other vegetables and supply them to a local restaurant. The restaurant gets a better price from these folks than he would from a commercial outfit, plus the produce is as fresh as can be and organic. The couple earned about $100 per week last year on their back yard garden and hope to double that amount this year. It is an inexpensive side business requiring very little financial investment and only about ten hours of work each week.
Right there you have an example of a couple of people who could be discouraged by economic news, but instead looked toward economic news as an inspiration and an opportunity. Perhaps they looked out at their lawn one day, maybe that lawn was old and tired and shabby looking … an eyesore even. Perhaps it was too small for their dreams and there was no lovely view beyond it. And yet, for some reason they looked at it in an entirely new light and breathed new life into that lawn. I don’t know if it worked that way, but maybe it did.
What about you? Do you need to breath new life into your marriage, your job, your relationship with a friend or loved one? Could you stand to breath new life into your own home, an old faithful family meal, the neighborhood you live in, your relationship with God? What little piece of life could you breath new life into today?
Jen, one of the owners of my LYS (Local Yarn Shop), said to me of my blog, that I have a way of making the ordinary seem extraordinary. If that is so, I am certain it is because my father gave me that idea of breathing new life into my old dress. So now I pass the gift of his advice on to you. I hope you can put it to good use.
Today is our second wedding anniversary and I am off to the kitchen to make up a big batch of his favorite cookies before he gets home from work. What a trip, I have a husband and I’m making him cookies in the middle of the afternoon. Standard issue for some people, completely unexpected turn of events for me in the middle of my life.
Breath in, and …
One more thing: Recall the painting I was working on recently of two golden Bosc pears? I completed it and have put up a photo at my One Painting a Day blog. This is my favorite painting I have ever created. The day I finished it I told my husband I was sure I was in love with my painting. I could not stop gazing about it or thinking about it when I was not gazing at it. It felt just like love. We are going to hang it, and another I just finished, at Zambistro Restaurant later in the week. It is going to be very difficult to part with this one.