3 days ago
Monday, October 28, 2013
Have you ever been reading along or listening to another talk and suddenly there is a small explosion in your brain as you realize you have just heard a pure, personal truth? Someone had put into words that which you weren't even aware needed clarification.
Words that can jar us into a frozen state for a moment as it sinks in, then our head just bobs vigorously in agreement. We know we have seen or heard a truth. The odd thing is that while some will hear those same words and be moved, hundreds more could hear them and not be effected at all. It is truly a personal thing.
I recently had such a moment while reading "The Rockin' Chair" by Steven Manchester.
As I read the sample to determine if I wanted the book, I was quickly hooked.
The opening pages reminded me a bit of "The Notebook" by Nicholas Sparks.
I don't often memorize passages from books but one from "The Notebook" has stayed with me for years. In the first paragraph, Noah complained about the cold that accompanies the elderly with poor circulation. His line "I haven't been warm since Reagan was president," made me laugh out loud at first but then I was quickly moved and saddened.
It was not a political statement but a reference that a lot of time had passed since he had known comfort. I was a sprightly sort who had just turned sixty at the time, but those words touched and stayed with me. It made me a little more understanding and compassionate about aging as I began looking it in the eye.
The first chapter of "The Rockin' Chair" exposes the reader to the scrambled thoughts of an old woman in the last stages of Alzheimers. Then the author takes you into the lives of her dysfunctional family. I sometimes wonder if anyone writes about "functional" families?
Anyway, the book is about a grandfather's influence in the lives of his only child and his grandchildren. It is basically how he helps glue back together his family whose severe fracture he had unwittingly caused.
The turn of phrase that caught me up short came from the granddaughter who is reflecting on her childhood. Remembering that as a child, she would be moaning about not having anything to do. She was bored and her beloved grandmother would remind her there was plenty to do outside. Invariably she would get a light swat on the fanny and be sent out the door.
The granddaughter states that was when she would discover the shapes of clouds, the feel of grass on her bare feet, and a lot of the good things in life. She then simply states what struck a nerve for me. ''When I think about it, I learned all I needed to know on the days there was nothing to do."
My own head eagerly nodded in agreement. We all have times in our lives when we are not being entertained, not involved in the lives of others, and not searching for the answers to seemingly unsolvable problems--- those boring times. They actually are the perfect times to explore and to "see" the truly wonderful things all around us such as the ever amazing surprises in Nature. We just have to look and open our minds.
I remembered so vividly my own childhood and how a simple walk outdoors to shake off being bored would open so many unexplored avenues and boredom was quickly replaced by curiosity. It still works today but I often forget to use that handy tool. Those few words made me vow to use my future "bored" times more wisely and to head for the door, not for the refrigerator.
Those words of Steven Manchester may not resonate with you as it did me. As I said, the reaction to a turn of phrase is purely a personal thing. I think that is why a lot of us love quotations but why we don't all love the same ones.
We marvel when another is able to capture our wayward thoughts and wrap them up neatly in a few sentences so they are clearly understood. Often they capture the universal thoughts, feelings or longings of the many, while other times their words just stir memories in the minds of a few.
Have a few words or sentences struck a loud chord in your mind that you still retain long after first hearing them?
By the way, if you like clever, head nodding quotes and don't go there all ready, check out my favorite quotemeister Robert Brault. A recent one of his that I enjoyed. "Ever wonder how a hotel bathroom mirror knows what you will look like in 20 years." He often makes me smile and my head nods in agreement a lot.
at 5:13 AM Posted by Arkansas Patti