Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A good life versus the good life

I live in a small town here in mid coast Maine.  Many of the cliches about small towns hold true.  Everybody does seem to know everybody’s business.  But the simple solution to that is to live an exemplary life.

Last week, a beloved member of our town was struck down by cancer, too early in her life.  As I sat in the packed church at her funeral I thought hard about well-lived lives.  She left a broken hearted  family, a sad husband of 39 years, grandchildren, and both parents.  She was a tireless nurse in the community, a very involved grandmother,  and a cum laude gardener and cook.  The packed church was a tribute to her character and goodness.

My children hated it when I said, every now and then that, “life is tedious”.  It’s a phrase I picked up from my parents.  I agree that it sounds negative, but I don’t mean it at all in a negative way.  What I mean is that a good life is one where you put in the day in and day out all the way through.   Little kids can be such work, and require patience; they get up early seven days a week, they have tantrums and colds and need to be disciplined and loved.  Marriages have their ebbs and flows.  Jobs aren’t always stimulating and rewarding.  But there is nobility in the perseverance.  It’s a lesson I learned in Jordan when I was teaching for the Jordanian Tennis Federation.  I was a 28 year old American female, facing off with ten middle aged Arab males.  Naturally we disagreed on some points.  But I told myself that no matter what, I would not quit.  They couldn’t drive me out.  “Winning” became simply staying in the game.

My friend passed away too early; that is for sure.  Yet, her life was celebrated by the town, and her good life made an impact.  Her family and friends will always remember her as the wonderful woman that she was.

     This necklace is made of Whitby Jet.  These are antique beads, hand carved in England.  Queen Victoria made jet famous when she wore it exclusively after her beloved Albert died.  Whitby Jet is an organic material, related to coal.  It can be carved and polished to a shiny luster.  French Jet isn’t really jet; it’s glass.  But as jet became fashionable, the black glass beads became popular as well. 


Unknown said...

This is beautiful, Mom. Thank you. And yes, I still think maybe we can come up with a different word than tedious . . . :)

love, Heidi

Marcy said...

A pleasure to read..simply and eloquently stated. I can't imagine using any other word except "tedious", Heidi. It wouldn't have the same deep echoes in the minds of us related folk as tedious has. Thanks for the inspiration, Maureen, to perservere "in spite of it all" in some things going on in my life..