As I’ve traveled the road to what I call “adoption recovery,” I’ve learned a few things. It is those reflections that will be the topic of today’s blog post.
Whenever I visit my young grandchildren, as I currently am, I like to tell them stories of what the world was like when their Dad was their age. In this age of streaming and electronic books, it’s hard for them to imagine coming home from school every day to a beloved television program. In a way, it’s a lost magic garden; at another level, I’m glad for the memory.
On this Grandparents Day weekend 2015, as my four-year-old grandson and I stroll to the corner park, I’m reminded of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, a 1970s television show that came on every weekday afternoon. It was a favorite of my children when they were four or so. There was something very reassuring about the dapper, genteel no-longer-young gentleman singing It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day in the neighborhood…Would you be mine, could you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor?
The show always started in precisely the same way, inviting the viewer into an orderly and benign world. Mr. Rogers puts on his cardigan sweater, flips his shoes in the air before lacing them up, and invites you into the Rogers world of green lawns and painted shutters. It’s a world seen through a child’s innocent eyes. There is room for optimism. Happiness seems a natural state of being rather than an act of courage. Mr. Rogers beams his charming smile and asks, “Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind?”
Back to the present: I’m here in southern California for my summer visit to see the family. It’s been way too hot for a San Diego September. Monstrous wildfires rage to the north. Mercifully, however, there is a refreshing breeze wafting through the palm trees surrounding the playground. Following a fierce heat wave in San Diego during which temperatures reached 98 degrees,this is a blessing. The day itself is a blessing .As my grandson digs contentedly in the sandbox, I reflect on everything that, despite a world full of troubles, is still right.
The gratitude list. It never fails me as an attitude adjuster. I have family that’s small but close-knit, wonderful friends, and I live in a place I love. My health seems to be holding up. I have two books scheduled for publication—Santa Fe on Foot, a guidebook, and Murder at Red Mesa, my second suspense novel. Though I’ve held many other jobs over the years, my hope has always been to be a full time writer. While I may not be on the road to fame or fortune, I am pursuing a lifetime dream.
Beyond all of that, however, is the growing realization that we always have a choice. We can be buffeted by outward events, emotionally crippled by self-fulfilling prophecies, blinded by being too much in our heads. Or we can choose , as a hiking buddy once recommended, to “stay within the confines of the day.”
I like to dwell on an anonymous quote I discovered while walking a Santa Fe labyrinth. Engraved in a large rock is the following:
There’s a new world coming. She is on her way. On a still day we can hear her breathing.