Victoria S. Hardy

Victoria S. Hardy

Friday, July 22, 2016

On Faith

On Faith

Faith … I’ve heard it doesn’t exist.  I have heard it’s a ridiculous ideology that only existed before science, and a ridiculous concept to embrace.  Faith didn’t exist as people were cured by herbs and hope; faith didn’t exist during the war in 1918 when a letter came from the Army telling my Great-grandparents that their son was going to die due to the flu.

Faith is a concept that only the ignorant believe.  

And please, don’t let me get started on the Bible and what a waste that is. 

Faith and belief is so outdated who wants to even consider it. 

Seriously, don’t we know that we have the TV, and textbooks (rewritten year after year), and the news programs to tell us how those who have faith are stupid, and lacking any sense of intelligence? 

Faith makes us angry at times as we deal with a world that tells us we are less and pretty much retarded.  Faith makes us stand up at the strangest times to call folks out for being less than they should be. 

Faith makes us pray for those who are not like us, but we know deep in our heart that they are very good. Faith is how the less of us survive in a very vibrant and outspoken world.  Faith is why we don’t strike out and hurt, even though we have felt the barbs, insults, and isolation from those who professed to love us.

Faith is the reason that we didn’t kill those who have challenged us, hurt us, kicked us, bruised us, or overstepped our boundaries.

Faith is why babies laugh and trust.  Faith is why animals come to us, trusting we won’t hurt them.  Faith is why a feral cat, or a man or woman, or a rooster, or even a goat rests in our arms.  Faith is why we survive when the world tells us it’s a ridiculous idea. 

Faith is birthing, growing, loving, and is why this thing called humanity still survives. 

By the way, my Papa didn’t die in that horrible flu in 1918 on foreign shores, but maybe faith had a lot to do with it – otherwise I wouldn’t be here to speak of the power of faith. 

As always, keep seeking.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Last Times ....

 Last Times.....

We never know the last time, and we certainly don’t know the last time as it is happening.  We don’t recognize it’s the last time as we carry our kids in our arms, until we look back and realize it was the last time we carried them.   We don’t always see the last time we spoke to a loved one is the final time we will ever speak to them until we are at a funeral.  We simply do not know the last time until something happens that makes it clear. 

Last times are real.  And I suppose last times are different for everyone.  Last time you talked to your mom, or your kid, or your brother or sister.  Last time you petted your animal, or made love, or rode across the country with friends.  Last time you went to work, volunteered, or went to church.  Last times …

Last times resonate.  We look back and remember the last time we stroked a cheek, gave a hug, condemned someone, or did amazing work.  Last time we hugged our grandparents and sat around the table with cousins, siblings, parents, and aunts and uncles.  Last time we listened to friends playing guitar and singing.  Last time we saw a smile from someone we loved. 

We simply don’t know which time is the last time, and I believe we should make each time wonderful and memorable. 

I often lament that I am the woman with all the angst, the woman of loss, the woman that accepts, feels, and wants everyone to understand how loss can change a person.  Given my choice I think I would have chosen differently, but when I think about it I can’t imagine I would be much different.  I want to know the last times, and I want to remember, and be alert to the possibility that each interaction could be the last.

As much as I get beat up for my opinions, which don’t seem so popular these days, I do know this to be absolute truth – you don’t know the last time until it is the last time.

As usual, keep seeking, believing, and living!  

Monday, July 04, 2016

Mrs. Timbly's Knitting Time

Mrs. Timbly's Knitting Time

Maybe we create our own enemies, Karen thought, glancing through the blinds at the old woman sitting on the porch across the street.  “Although I have no idea what I did to offend her,” she muttered, dropping the wooden slat back into its stringed organization.

She stepped into the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, and sipped, unsettled by her neighbor suddenly ignoring her, and wondering why it disturbed her so much.  It wasn’t as though she and Mrs. Timbly were best friends, but they had always been on speaking terms, and had shared many a glass of iced tea or coffee on the old lady’s front porch as they discussed the news - while the woman knitted or crocheted - the news of the neighborhood and the news of the world. 

Karen carried her cup into the living room, glancing at the crocheted blanket in vibrant pinks, purples, and yellows thrown on the back of the couch, a Christmas present from Mrs. Timbly, and felt the oppressive confusion intensify.  “What did I do?” she asked softly, walking back to the window and looking out again. 

Mrs. Timbly weaved the bits of metal through the yarn, staring off at the street as the little black dog sat at her feet.  The dog was old and blind, and Mrs. Timbly always declared she had no idea how old he was, and laughed, saying she was sure she had always had him.  Of course, the old woman also claimed not to know her own age, but often spoke lovingly about the 1940s.  She was a heavy-set woman, with a tight knot of gray hair secured tightly on the top of her head, and always favored cotton dresses over pants or shorts.  She wore thick-soled leather shoes with a Velcro strap, and kept her hose rolled down just above her ankles. 

Karen sighed again and dropped the blind back in place, turning to her bedroom and the unpacking that she hadn’t done since she returned from her trip the day before.  She picked up the suitcase, dropping it on the bed, and zipped it open.  She took the plastic bag of dirty clothes and dropped it, unopened, in the hamper, and then began removing the rest of the things, folding, hanging, and dealing with the aftermath of being a week away from home. 

She reached the bottom of the case and found the bag of yarn and day glow and sparkled knitting and crochet needles she’d bought for her neighbor, and sighed deeply.  Usually when she returned from a trip Mrs. Timbly called her over for food, iced tea, and a running commentary of what had happened in the neighborhood in her absence, but yesterday as she stepped from her car, waving at the old lady and saying hello, Mrs. Timbly ignored her, knitting away, and even the old dog hadn’t barked to acknowledge that even though he couldn’t see her, he was glad to hear her.  And as Karen had moved her things from the car to the porch, the old woman continued to pretend she didn’t exist. 

Karen sat on the side of the bed, the bag of yarn and needles in her hand, and trying not to remember washing her car earlier and the pain of her friend ignoring her.  “I’ll just take them to her,” she decided, speaking under her breath.  “Even if she doesn’t want to be my friend any longer, I have no use for yarn or needles, and I bought them for her.” 

Her mind made, she stood up, finished the cup of coffee, and walked with purpose to the front door.  She stepped onto the porch, gazing across the street to see that the woman was no longer in the rocking chair and the dog was gone as well.  Did she know I was coming over, the paranoid thought flittered through her mind.  She shook her head, even more determined to give Mrs. Timbly the gifts she spent time and thought picking out, and started down the stairs. 

She waited as a couple cars passed; looking at the house painted in pale yellow with bright green shutters, and a faded red metal roof, and felt her heart ache to know that this would probably be the last time she stepped on the porch.  Tears filled her eyes as she crossed the street, remembering Mrs. Timbly’s wry sense of humor, and forgiveness for the new aged things she didn’t quite understand.  “What did I do?” Karen muttered as she stepped in the yard. 

She walked up the short stairs, soothed by the familiar creak of the second one, and knocked on the door.  Mrs. Timbly didn’t answer, and she knocked again, harder.  “Mrs. Timbly, I got that color of yarn you couldn’t find!” she called out and waited.  No one answered, and the old dog didn’t even bark.  She wiped the tears from her cheeks, dropped the bag in the rocking chair, and walked back across the street.  As she stepped onto the curb she heard someone calling her name, she turned and saw Connie and Ralph Andrews heading in her direction.  Connie and Ralph were recently retired and spent their days in overflowing gardens around their house, walking their little dogs, and checking in on their elderly neighbors.

“We didn’t know how to get in touch with you,” Connie said breathlessly, stepping into the yard, her husband struggling to keep up.  “We just came back from the service.”

“What service?” Karen asked, feeling as though she was missing something.

“Mrs. Timbly, the funeral, the fire….” She trailed off, looking across the street.

Karen turned slowly, feeling her head begin to buzz and swirl, and followed Connie’s gaze.  She gasped.  The house, Mrs. Timbly’s yellow, green, and red house was a burned out husk.  She felt herself falling as little black dots filled her vision.  “But…I saw her,” she tried to say before the day turned to night.

Karen woke with several neighbors standing over her, as Connie wiped her brow with a damp handkerchief slowly turning darker as the soot was wiped from her face.  “She went quick,” the older woman soothed, using a water bottle to dampen the bit of cloth to reapplied to her face.  “They say it was the old gas furnace that blew, we heard the explosion.  Everyone did, but there was nothing we could do, the fire was so intense.” 

Karen sat up, pushing Connie’s hands away from her face, and saw the white bag of yarn and needles set on what was left of the burned out porch.  “But, I saw …”