Thursday, February 5, 2015


Saturday will be the birth anniversary of my first-born. With this post I am wishing her a happy birthday a couple of days early, and the hope for her next year to be eventful, intriguing, delightful, fulfilling, and memorable.

We are now, in Northeast Indiana, in the throes of winter for sure--2-4 inches of snow is predicted every other day; on the off-days it's only 1-3 inches. Snow plows are a regular sight on our streets, and the lawn-and-landscape guys are out doing their thing with snow blowers, shovels, and blades. School is delayed two hours on the days it's not cancelled. Such is life in winter in my little corner of the world.

It was similar when my first-born made her appearance in public on Planet Earth. I don't remember details of the weather--cold, snowy, probably below zero temps--mainly because I was distracted by the process of giving birth. Never having done that before, I had no memories to call on, no experience of sisters (I have none), no mother to reassure me.

Until now, it never occurred to me that this is the pattern of my life--thrown in at the deep end of the body of water, sink or swim.

Now being thrown in at the deep end isn't such a bad thing if you've once or twice been at the shallow end, practicing how to keep yourself afloat; you then move on to deeper water, over your shoulders, then over your head . . . . Gradual advancement.

Uh-huh. But if you've never seen such a body of water except in pictures, you're not likely to have much sense of what's required for survival.

Here are some more samples.

My first day on the job as a legal secretary, I prepared the documents to open an estate. Having only the foggiest idea of what an estate was, I sat at the typewriter (you understand this was back in the Middle Ages, before computers) and inserted names, addresses, and other details on the forms handed me by the attorney who was going to see the clients.

Another time, years later, I thought I'd do a good thing (always a vulnerable moment for the fates to step in and take charge of your life)--anyway, I thought I'd do a good thing and volunteer to play at the Saturday night church service. It was played on the piano--I'd been playing the piano for, um, quite a few years, and had been a member of that church long enough to understand the liturgical cast of the service. Within a couple of years the organist retired, an organist was needed. I took lessons (about a year's worth altogether), and next thing I knew, I was the interim organist. Played Sunday services, funerals, weddings, mid-week special services . . . . (I still had  my day job, by the way, which was full time.)

A couple of years ago, I made a prayer shawl for one of our parishioners. (Different church from the above.) I had learned one valuable lesson--Don't Volunteer! Made no difference; one of the church pillars admired the shawl, told me they used to make such things years ago and could take it up again. Two weeks later she told the visiting bishop that I'd started a knitting ministry at their church--and I wasn't even a confirmed member then!

So here I am in retirement from the paralegal job. My eldest child is going to be celebrating her birthday in a couple of days' time. Got through those two without too much loss of sanity.

I am once again the available organist they depend on at my church, and the knitting ministry has expanded to include quilts, large and small, for a neo-natal ICU and for various charities in our area. Sanity is definitely in a precarious position.

But the best lesson of all is this: Learning can take place in any situation. It's a choice. I can either throw up my hands and say no-no-no. Or I can humble myself (hard one) and say, okay I can learn to do this, just give me a little time. It may not be good, but I'm willing to learn.

I wish you gentle learning curves and pleasant views from the ride.


  1. Replies
    1. Oooookay...I'll buy that, just sometimes it's the having learned that's the good part. The learning itself...well, you read my post! Thanks for stopping by, Liz!

  2. This was a good reminder to me as I work on upping my tech game. Thanks! I took a job keyboarding legal stuff, with no training, when I was attending Indiana U. This was the beginning of computers. I was petrified of the "delete" key. Didn't touch it once. Used the keyboard like a typewriter!

    1. LOL, Cathy! The DELETE key was not only a mystery, but I just knew it was going to lose me my job because one touch and I'd wipe out the operating system, all the files, and possibly the existence of the hardware. Glad you shared your experience with us.

  3. Thanks for the birthday wishes! And for being a great mom. :)

    1. You're welcome for the b-day wishes, and since I didn't know I was a great mom, I thank you. See you in a couple of weeks!