Paths Dimly Lit

  • Maida Korte

“Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers.”  –  John Wooden

            When I was in sixth grade, Janet Babb’s mother informed my mom that I was too rambunctious to be allowed to attend her daughter’s horse riding party.  I was able to survive that blow and since then I have sought out activities and skill sets that could make good use of this characteristic. This pursuit of purpose has led me to paint with exuberance, race Gordy Rock the grade-school champion of looks and athleticism, enter talent shows dancing my heart out as Burt, enter playground competitions that mattered oh so much, compete with Jimbo, my brother,  in everything, read voraciously, sew all my clothes with added ball fringe and sequins on hemmed edges where plain just wouldn’t do, beseech universities to lend their auditoriums for a variety of events I deemed essential, and open a restaurant for five minutes.  But no matter the absolute requirement to be busy all the time in order to think, I actually felt unexpressed and perhaps even shy.  I know. 

            The map to my adult life was circuitous and took on more of a rabbit-hole trajectory. Rather than think seriously about the results an action might have, I was and am a leaper.  This has resulted in many experiences that have been stunningly gorgeous and breathtaking and some that have been ridiculous and harmful to boot.  The land in between these two pendulum swings is where life happens for most of us and I have a flag firmly planted here.    The pathway of my life has not always held a bright beacon of light screaming, “This way!  Go THIS way!”  But rather it has been a pathway dimly lit.

            Life direction can be obvious at times – and this is why I like schedules and notes and small little pads of paper, (I could spend hours in a paper store) binders, rulers, tabs of bright colors, each with their own purpose.  Open, scribble, dog-ear, tabulate, list, high-light, underline, erase, redo, think, mull, aha! yes, no no no, fine.  This small element tells me what to do day by day and even hour by hour.  Go to store, pick up grand-daughter, perform arm exercises, get dry-cleaning, write NOW, play galumphing tennis, do cross-word puzzle, pray, and make more lists.  Chunks of time are blocked out for clients, meetings, zoom calls, research, daughters, grand-children and oh yes, husband.  Though I must say that Andy is content to watch me do life, something I do not deserve but relish.

            Chunks of time allow me the expansion of mind and soul where I can create.  I like the fences around time I erect.  The cows of my mind wander if not corralled.  They are content to graze if the fence is there, seen in the distance as a mark of safety and provision.  Piling up the metaphorical elements of the day and setting them ‘over there’ so that I can focus on a curved staircase that requires new iron balusters, or a master bath remodel with a wet room, or reviewing a new layout for a house one of my daughter’s will build with her husband, or work on my novelette, I am happy with the little stepping stone lights that illuminate my path.  I find direction from Paul, inspiration from the girls, grace from my ever patient husband, and I smile as I pick up a new stack of sticky notes just waiting to be slapped onto the wall with a crisp directive to obey.      

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