A Monitronics truck crossed my path earlier today. The way he was driving I'm surprised out paths did not collide. The name on the van reminded me of a job my mom had that she seemed quite proud of. I believe it was back in Illinois. She worked for a company called Monitron. They made cameras that came pre-loaded with film. Mom worked in the darkroom loading the film. It was the perfect job for a blind woman. She was able to load the film by feel. Her sighted counterparts had to adjust their eyes to the light (or lack thereof) before beginning their work. If only we could all be so well-matched to our jobs. More often than not I read about people being dissatisfied with their work or stuck in dead-end jobs. When I worked for pay my job matched my spiritual gifts of service and helps. Now I am a writer who hasn't quite broken the barrier to being paid and a volunteer braille proof-reader. And of course I'm a wife and mother. I feel well-suited for my place in life. But sometimes I stumble--like I'm adjusting to the darkness that naturally comes my way in a fallen world. I should take a lesson from my mother. Close my eyes--say a prayer--and get to work.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Last night I gave a speech for Toastmaster's. It was about Mom's diagnosis and her choice to have a quality life rather than aggressive treatment. I first gave this speech at a contest Spring of 2007. The basic concept is that quality of life is a gift you give others. Having given this speech twice already my goal is to improve it. Last night was not a contest for me but for other Toastmasters. They evaluated me and the best evaluator goes onto the next level in contest land. One of the things mentioned is something I've been told before: I need to make eye contact with the audience. My inner sasser said, "Eye contact? But I grew up with a blind mother." This morning I remembered third grade and Mr. Herle. Mom went down to the school to talk to him because I was being teased in class. She understood the playground couldn't be closely monitored but felt he should have more control of his students when they were inside the classroom. I watched from a window. Mr. Herle shuffled papers on his desk and walked around the room. Mom kept right on talking and followed his every move by turning her head. If you didn't know better, you'd think she was following him with her eyes. She was of course using her ears. He did sit down and pay attention. I don't remember if the teasing got better but the day I saw my mother make eye contact has left a great impression. Next week I get another chance and I hope I get it right.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
No I'm not feeling like a second place citizen. I took second place last week for a story I wrote for the Faithwriter's weekly challenge. There is a weekly prompt, either one word or a phrase to write to. The week before last it was "See." Hello, of course I had a story for "See." I had a 4'11" "bookshelf" of stories in a volume called Mom. The Sunday before I wrote the story we sang the worship song, "Word of God Speak." There's a line in there that says, "washing my eyes to see Your majesty." I remembered having to wash Mom's eyes after she was paralyzed. With her illness if I didn't keep her prosthetics clean infection could set in. At that stage in the game, infection could have been fatal. I think people were drawn to the story but I began to wonder, is this right? Writing about Mom and winning praise. Seems she was put on this earth for more than writing material for me. I didn't set out to win a prize (and there is no prize, just a little ribbon on my story when you go to the web-site). I set out to share a story as I'm doing here about a woman of faith who has influenced and impacted my life. I hope she's pleased.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Enough by Max Lucado Posted: 03 Aug 2010 11:01 PM PDT “He is able . . . to run to the cry of . . . those who are being . . . tested.” Hebrews 2:18 AMP Jesus was angry enough to purge the temple, hungry enough to eat raw grain, distraught enough to weep in public, fun loving enough to be called a drunkard, winsome enough to attract kids, . . . radical enough to get kicked out of town, responsible enough to care for his mother, tempted enough to know the smell of Satan, and fearful enough to sweat blood . . . Whatever you are facing, he knows how you feel." Enough is a whole word contraction in Braille. It can't be used with punctuation but is fine in the middle of a sentence as long as it's not followed by a comma. I took a formal class to learn the Braille code in 2003-2004. In 2002-2003 I was a transcriber for a blind girl at my children's school and had to go on what I could learn on my own. People were surprised that up to that point all I knew was the alphabet and I didn't really know it. I used a cheat sheet to painstakingly make my mom birthday and Mother's Day cards. Somewhere along the way I heard that the code was created to make transcribing the Bible easier or to make it less cumbersome. I'll go with less cumbersome. The code means that not every word has to be spelled out therefore taking up about a third of the space. Mom had a Bible which was split up into volumes which sat on a 4-foot bookshelf. With this in mind I've often wondered why some words have contractions and some don't. (There are also contractions for partial words and words represented by 1, 2, 3 or 4 letters.) This morning Max Lucado's thoughts on the word enough landed in my e-mail in-box. Jesus is enough to meet my need for understanding. Jesus is enough in the midst of whatever I'm going through. And if He's just enough, that too can be spelled with three symbols and ending punctuation instead of 6 letters. I never asked why some words were chosen to be whole-word contractions or short-form words but this morning's e-mail would lead me to believe that the one's that have something really important to say are the chosen ones. Jesus is enough for me. How about you?