Friday, July 27, 2012

Are You Too Old to Write?

Imagine living longer than you ever thought you would and in good health.  At each Doctor's visit, the Doc says, "Your doing great.  For your age, you're in excellent health."

The day you turned 90, you thought surely this was your last year.  "I can't live this long.  It's too amazing." 

"Can you guess how old I am?" you ask strangers.  Shaking their heads they wait for your response. "I'm 90. Can you believe it?"

Soon, your 91st birthday is only months away, then weeks, and then days.  You are 91!  The celebration is wonderful.  Your children and their children give you hugs, kisses, and gifts.    

Your "To Do" list is short and so are your worries. 

1. De-clutter the house.

2. The driver's license expires this year.  Will the state of Texas let you renew? 

3. Prepare a story draft for your critique group.

This biography snippet is about my friend Ilma who turned 91 this month..  She and I attend the meetings at our local SCBWI.  She's a children's writer and brings her stories for critique just about every month.  These wonderful stories are of a time long ago.  They are everyday stories and have historical value.  When her stories are read aloud, I am transported to a time I could not imagine without her.  Her words come to life and take me there.

From her, I have learned that I must never stop writing.  One day, my stories will have historical value.  I will be able to transport my readers to a place and time I knew well, and they will experience it afresh through my eyes. 

I remember when I was young...

my house didn't have central heating or cooling. My brother has a burn scar on his bottom from when his derriere touched the heater at bath time.

the day young girls were coaxed by TV commercials to exchange their classic hard plastic Barbies for the "new and improved" posable Barbies.

the moonless night we saw "The Night of the Living Dead", in our old station wagon, at the drive-in theater.  Oooh, scary!

Mom sewing all my dresses, because it was cheaper to buy 2 yards of cloth and notions than a ready-made dress.

Can you think of what life was like when you were young?

Friday, July 13, 2012

44 Days

El hospital de viejitos

As a family, we've been camping out at hospitals for several weeks. Last week Dad was transported to another extended stay hospital. On the second day, Dad looked at me and said, "Why do you all concern yourselves with me? I want to die. God told me he has a room for me."

My heart rejoiced. 

Dad hated religion, and he put Jesus' face on it.

So, there I sat jolted by his reference to God.  The very God who said:

"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?" (John 14:2) (NIV)

Those were Jesus' words.  Just as Christ had to confront Paul (Saul of Tarsus), so that Paul would believe, Jesus the Christ had to proclaim himself to my dad.  This is how my dad became a believer.

I said,"Dad, Jesus Christ spoke to you.  In the Bible, Jesus tells Christians that in heaven he has a room for each one of us.  And you're a Christian, Dad!  You're right.  God does have a room for you, but dying isn't our decision.  It's God's.

The next day, I reminded Dad of what he had said.  Due to dementia, he didn't recall it, but he didn't deny Jesus either.  He was happy to be called a Christian.
To hear Dad say God had spoken to him was amazing.  Dad was the kind of person who refused to acknowledge Jesus Christ.  He wanted nothing to do with Jesus.  As a child living in poverty (one of nine children), he had grown up aware of the hypocrisy of the Bolivian Catholic Church.  He would tell stories of how rich the Catholic Church, and its priests had been.  Dad would describe the adorned church buildings, in his poor Bolivian towns, with disgust.  He also spoke of the cruelty of the priests who disciplined children with beatings.  Dad's anger towards religion caused him to despise the Bible, too.  He considered Bibles bad luck and would throw one away rather than keep it in his home.

So, my dad's conversion (and Paul's) has me wondering.  Are there some folks so stubborn, that Jesus Christ has to personally testify of himself to them?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"I'm a loooser!"

"I'm a loooser !" My dad would join the Beatles, in belting out the chorus to "I'm a Loser".  This happened whenever that song came on the radio, and it came on a lot!  As a kid, with limited English, I'd sing along with him. "I'm a loooooser!"

Later, I learned all the lyrics, but my favorite part was, "I'm a loooser,and I'm not what I appear to be." So true, I thought in my childish contemplations.

I welcomed my teen years singing, "I'm a Loser". I played it cool in school. I was too cool to want to be popular. I was an artist and everyone knows artists are cool and aloof.

"A New Dawn" by Dean W. Harris
In my bedroom, I sang, "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do." I became lonely. I searched for a soulmate. I sang, "Give me love, give me life, give me peace of mind." In college, I met my soulmate; we've been together for 31 years. He introduced me to Jesus (a loser, too).

I still sing, "I'm a loooser!" It's perfectly okay being a loser. In fact, it's very satisfying. It gives peace of mind. My days are filled with the awesome curiosities of life. I'm free to express myself; creativity is not held hostage by commercial demands.

I enjoy singing, "Give me love, give me light (life), give me peace on earth (of mind), because in God's eyes, I'm a winner.  In my eyes, too.  (BTW: Jesus is the mega winner.) 

Are you a loser? 

"I'm a Loser" by The Beatles (1965)
"One" by Three Dog Night (1969)
"Give Me Love" by George Harrison (1973)