A Confession, Some Questions, and Maybe Some Answers

1.  I am a terrible gift-picker-outer.  My biggest challenge is the retired man I live with.  He needs nothing, absolutely nothing.  And anything he wants, he gets for himself when he wants it.  He doesn’t do delayed gratification.  So Valentine’s Day paralyzed me.  All creativity left my brain.  And I had nothing.

Well, I did offer to make him stuffed cabbage for dinner, but he said, “Oh no, that’s too much trouble. You don’t need to do that.  I’ll fix something.”  Sigh.

To make this worse, he’s good at gifts.  For Valentine’s Day, he gave me a box of Chapel Hill toffee/dark chocolate candy from Whole Foods.  Let me explain: We met and fell in love in Chapel Hill while we were both in school at UNC.  And Heath Bar is my all-time favorite candy and Ben and Jerry’s flavor.  His gift makes you go “Awww”, doesn’t it?  I know–I’m a lucky woman.

2.  Do you worry about wrinkles from smiling?  This is from a blog, “The Daily Round”, that I read:

…a British woman, now 50, who has avoided smiling “for the last 40 years…to ward off wrinkles.” She says she didn’t smile when her child was born, nor at family celebrations or gatherings with friends, insisting her lack of facial wrinkles has made these efforts worthwhile.

Do I read this right? She stopped smiling at 10 YEARS OLD to prevent wrinkles? How do you even do that–not smile?  Does she have any friends? Does her family come around her?  I need more information.  This story has been stuck in my brain for days.

3.  Someone at church Sunday told me I have “fortitude.”  She said I just keep going no matter what.  I googled “fortitude.”  The definition is “strength of mind that allows one to endure pain or adversity with courage.”

I’ve wondered about “resilience” lately, too.  I found 2 definitions.  (1) The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune.  (2) The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed.  The second describes how I feel some days.

Where do fortitude and resilience come from?

4.  We talked about the Celtic term “thin places” in Sunday School last week.  They are locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine.  My favorite thin place is beside the ocean, one of those places where spirituality and science overlap.

The ocean generates negative ions.

According to mounting research, there really is something in the air at the beach. Because of the constant crashing and movement of the waves, the beach contains high levels of negative ions. Negative ions appear to have a positive effect on health and mood. They are produced when moving water, wind, and radiation break apart air molecules. What’s left is an oxygen molecule with an extra electron.

High concentrations of negatively charged ions have long been thought to affect the way you feel and there’s now supporting evidence they can boost mood, ease depression, and even improve physical health. Negative ions can also be found in high concentrations at waterfalls, in the mountains, and immediately after a summer rain storm. Even your shower or the fountain in the park produces negative ions.

These special air particles are actually biologically active when they enter the body, yet how they work is still unknown.

Indoor environments tend to have very low levels of negative ions. Our modern lifestyle is to thank for that. Computers, electrical appliances, and air conditioning all contribute to negative ion depletion.

So do negative ions create thin places?  Is God in that extra electron on the oxygen molecule we breathe in?

5.  Asked by a man named Jim in a group with people who are HIV positive:

What if you woke up tomorrow and all you had was what you thanked God for today?


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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow! Lots to mull, here, Amma! I read about the unsmiling woman in The Week, but it was sourced from here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2935632/Meet-woman-says-hasn-t-smiled-40-years-doesn-t-wrinkles.html

    I think the Daily Mail is about as journalistic as The Enquirer, but it did make me ponder the value of smiles in my life! 🙂

    I wrote about thin places here: love the idea of these!https://thedailyround.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/thin-places-and-sacred-ancestors/

    Love your creative mind and writing, too! Thank you, Amma!

    • I read and commented on your post about thin places. Thanks for that. I love how carefully you read and comment on my posts.

  2. 🙂 Have a lovely and, I hope, warmer-than-we’re-having day. (High of 2! )

  3. Gift-picker-outer, awesome, I love new word creations!

    • Shows how my brain works, i guess. Thanks for reading.

  4. I cannot pick out a gift, either, but what I am most grateful for is the term gift-picker-outer. You know how I am about labels 😉 but this one I happily don! Thank you.

    Don’t know how I have lived this long without knowing the phrase “thin places” but again, thanks to you, now I do. In retrospect, I believe I have found a few in my lifetime and if I am remembering accurately, all involved water. I am in constant search of stories about “thin places.”

    One can only hope the non-smiling woman exaggerates a bit. That story may be one of the saddest I have ever read, although I am not known for constantly flashing a smile. I have earned my wrinkles in other ways.

    The final question is perhaps the greatest gift of this post for it is a question that will stay with me. I am grateful every morning as part of my yoga sequence but a nightly reminder seems a richer way to appreciate the day I just lived.

    Great post, Robin!

    • I am sure after reading a bunch of your posts, that you have experienced thin places. Now you know what to call them.
      I continue to enjoy your insights, Karen.

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