Peace Be Within Thy Walls

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others–the armies of heaven–praising God. Glory to God in the highest heaven,” they sang, “and peace on earth for all those pleasing Him.” (Luke 2:13-14)

A friend of mine once remarked about how peaceful my home was. Without the background noise of the television that fills the silence of the average American home, and the only drama being the occasional squabble of a couple of cats vying for the same kibble…or accidental mouse.

Home has always been a sanctuary for me, a place where I can shut the world, and all of its dramas, completely out. In truth, I’ve always had a little bit of the hermit-in-the-woods in me. I like my privacy. And I crave solitude like flowers crave sun and rain. And yet, paradoxically, I consider myself a people person. Despite liking my quiet time, if you need help with something, I am always happy to oblige. Need help moving? Need your mail collected, plants watered and/or pets cared for while you’re away? No problem; I’m happy to help. Stuck on the highway somewhere? That’s what the GPS is for (at least when I had a car to drive to find you!). Need to vent? It goes no further than my ears. However, I draw the line with the drama and gossip.

Sadly, Mom is just the opposite. She likes company…almost 24/7. And even the little things become big dramas. And, before I go further, I know many of my posts sound like I’m verbally beating up on my mother. I love her more than life itself. It’s just that we’re polar opposites and, though it has been over three years since she moved in with me, I’m still having a hard time adjusting to having a roommate…especially one who seems to thrive on a little drama now and then. In many ways, this blog has become a means for me to vent…just a little.

Yesterday, Mom was in a dither because one of her sisters contacted her via Facebook about how certain siblings went to the wedding of one of her nephews but this sister hadn’t been invited. Neither were Mom and I. They spent the day commiserating with each other…until the aunt’s daughter came home (she gets in trouble fraternizing with “the enemy” these days). Mom kept saying how it would’ve been nice to be asked. Yes, I suppose that’s true. This obviously got under her skin that she hadn’t been asked…albeit, this high dudgeon had been fed all afternoon via that commiseration. Trying to be diplomatic, I reminded her that we have no transportation. Her reply was we could’ve rented a car. No, we couldn’t. At present, such an expense would’ve been a bit prohibitive…and I seriously doubt I would’ve rented one for a wedding. Though I’ve been a bride twice, watching a tipsy groom smash cake into his bride’s face while the rest of us flap our “wings” doing the chicken dance is, well, only under duress, please. While I wish the young couple well, and would likely have sent a card and a gift, I doubt I would’ve gone to the extreme of renting a car for it. Besides, Mom’s side of the family has been so splintered since my grandmother’s passing in 1990 that I haven’t seen this cousin since he was a little boy. And that was my next attempt at diplomacy. Maybe we weren’t invited because we’re really strangers to him. “It still would’ve been nice to be asked.” It wasn’t until I reminded her that, when I married my second husband, I only invited the two aunts who have since defected from the family, and my godfather, that she seemed to calm down a bit and realize it wasn’t the big deal that she was making it out to be. I was also quick to point out that these little family dramas are the main reason I live in another state…even if we are only over the state line a few miles.

Mom’s family lives in Rhode Island, the biggest little state in the union. Years ago, a co-worker from one of the company’s Texas sites, was relocated to RI. I remember him commenting how there are ranches in Texas that are bigger than the whole state of RI. In short, most of the rest of the US thinks nothing of driving an hour to visit friends and family; Rhode Islanders treat anything more than a 20-minute drive like a trip to the moon. “You live all the way out there???” Who cares if we didn’t get an invite? Are we supposed to ostracize him, too, now? And with that I buried my nose in a new book.

This morning I couldn’t help but chuckle as I trudged outside at dawn to move more rocks, finding that zen of meditation in the rhythmic work of landscaping.

Relax.

Breathe…

And a big “Congratulations!” to my cousin and his new bride; such dramas should not be coloring your day in any way. This should be one of the happiest days of your lives. And I wish you all the joy in the world. =)

Incidentally, that world is not coming to an end because we didn’t get an invitation. And, no, I’m not trivializing something that obviously bothered Mom greatly. However, I am learning not to allow my feathers to get ruffled right along with Mom’s. In the long and short of everything, it really isn’t the end of the world. Drama is unhealthy. And reacting to it only fuels it more. So I’m still Switzerland–neutral–minding my own business and trying valiantly to recapture some of the peace and sanctuary that should be home. And, if I want to do the chicken dance, all I have to do is walk out in the barnyard and join Sargent Feathers & Co. for a real lessen in how to flap those wings.

May God bless you & keep you…Namaste!

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