I seem to be mourning a loss of elegance tonight. No, I’m not talking about fine china or perfectly polished silverware. I’m not even referring to a cultured whisper or polite conversation.
I simply miss the elegance of certain processes. The way things are done, should be done, are supposed to be done. It’s the difference between hearing a lyric soprano attempt Wagner when there is a true dramatic soprano lurking off-stage who could do a fabulous job of it if someone would just let her come out on stage and sing.
It’s that moment of watching a server crumb a table, simply because it’s the elegant thing to do. Elegance can be something as simple as brewing a pot of tea using leaf tea, not tea bags. I’m not referring to the fancy things of life. I’m just longing for the process of elegance. The pleasure of performing a task well for the sake of well-doing.
I miss elegance.
I’ve decided that the art of losing gracefully may be lost.
It’s tricky, being able to lose and lose gracefully. Being able to maintain composure in the face of defeat.
I was a spectator tonight at an event full of youngsters. Youngsters who have the world by the tail, and they really don’t understand the full implications of their power right now. It was a competition, with winners and losers. As the saying goes, 2nd place is the first loser. It’s true, I guess. I’ve taken 2nd many times and never felt like a loser; but tonight, for lack of better terms, people who lost weren’t displaying a whole lot of grace. The one who took first prize is someone who lives and breathes by grace. It’s just how this person was created.
Grace is something we can either accept for ourselves and pass on to others as a gift freely shared, or it is something that we can deny others and in so denying, reject it for ourselves. When we fail to lose gracefully, we lose stature in the world. Our standing on the ladder of life’s success slips a step or two.
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been publicly humiliated at work, at church, and within my circle of friends and family. I’ve lost track of the times I lost something I really wanted to win. Losing was hard, but each loss was just another lesson to teach me how to lose the next time. Yes, I may have failed at losing at that particular instance, but that moment’s loss prepared for the next loss and the next. We never stop needing to learn and remember how to practice grace. I’m including myself in that statement. Hopefully, I’ve learned a thing or two from my losses, because I know life is preparing another loss for me. Loss is part of life; without loss, the win would not be half as sweet.
So, here’s to losing, and here’s to grace; and here’s to learning and practicing the art of losing gracefully.
What is your definition of luxury?
Today, my definition of luxury equaled a “random day off from work.” You read that right—this lady took a day off from work, just because … Of course, there were a million and one reasons why it was a good day to take off, and each reason was valid; but honestly, it simply felt gorgeous to be away from my desk, away from the library for a day. A free day. And I spent a large portion of the day with dear friends, who enhanced the quality of my luxurious day off immensely.
Perspective matters a lot. Yes, I seem to be in this in-between space right now, and it isn’t a whole lot of fun; but at the same time, incredible days like today happen. Days full of blessing and promise. Days that simply drip with sunshine and laughter, that remind me of cups filled to the brim and spilling over with the joy of life and friendship. If the only thing that had happened today was sharing a cup of incredible tea with a friend, than today mattered in every way that could possible count. And this is where I have to live—in the here, in the daily, in the moment by moment joys that come. If I think too far ahead, if I look at the lack, that opens the door to sorrow and frustration; and who could possibly want that?????
Taking small joys as they come—surprise free days, amazing cups of tea with friends, glorious amounts of sunshine, having the time to quilt by hand, taking time to watch a gorgeous film with an amazing soundtrack that lingers on in the memory for days after, appreciating the quiet of early mornings, the laughter of babies … It’s all here—the pleasures of life are mine if I can remember to look at each moment as it comes and savor it, not hoping for more than what I’m holding at any given moment.
Some of the music from the film, Dear Frankie—absolutely stunning film and stunning soundtrack:
The Final Letter
Anyone remember a film by the title of Mahogany, starring Tony Perkins and Diana Ross? Anyone remember the theme song, “Do You Know Where You’re Going To?”
I’ve got this song looped into a playlist that I listen to occasionally; and today, as this song came up in rotation, the words really got to me.
My life seems to be all about the hamster cage at the moment. I feel a little bit stuck—on a wheel, no less—while everyone else around me moves forward, achieving goals and dreams of which I can only hope, silently, deeply, privately.
I can think of more than one opera with “stuck” characters. Verdi’s Don Carlos—Elisabetta is stuck; Wagner’s Die Walkure—Sieglinde is stuck; Puccini’s Madama Butterly—Butterfly is stuck. Overwhelmingly, in any opera you could choose, at least one character is going to be stuck while all of the other characters move and have fluidity.
I’m feeling stuck; it’s not a permanent condition, I’m sure. The day or time will come for me to move forward or sideways again; but as Diana Ross sings, “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?”
Nope, I don’t know. Not at the moment anyway.
I blog in two places—here about opera and at BlogSpot about gluten-free eating.
This is my latest post from my gluten-free blog, in which I talk about what happens when I have been glutened. Have never addressed the issue before and thought maybe it was time.
Because food allergies are nothing to joke about!
I keep up with Dempsey Bakery on Facebook; Dempsey is our local gluten-free bakery, and they are getting the word out about the FAREWalk via their Facebook page.
Living with a food allergy isn’t fun, so maybe I should participate in this event.
Do you remember the scene from Die Walkure in which Fricka tells Wotan what he is going to do and how because!?
Yes, I see the light bulbs going on.
If I could sing that forcefully, today would have been the day to do it.
I’m nice, pleasant even, but I am not a doormat; and the next person who acts as if I am a doormat is going to know precisely how Wotan felt when Fricka finished singing at him—not to him, but AT him.
should not be allowed to exist! No, I mean it. What was the purpose of this day? Today has been one of those intense days when I wished I was a Wagnerian soprano who could “hojoteho” my way out of anything.
Since I’m not a Wagnerian soprano, I’m going to soothe my soul with homemade hot chocolate and catch up on “Once Upon a Time” series tonight. Rumpelstiltskin … Regina … Snow … Charming … Emma. The whole lot of them are going to salvage my evening for me. I’m off to Storybrooke. You?
ABC’s Once Upon A Time
Oh my word! Not a mention of opera … the heavens will collapse!
Someone told me this today.
I’m still glowing from this unexpected compliment given by someone who knows me only marginally.
Occasionally, it is ever so nice to realize that others may take notice of us when we think we slip through life unnoticed.
Yesterday was special. For me, the morning involved babysitting the cutest little guy there ever was, my honorary nephew. He’s not quite a year and a half, and when he laughs, God smiles. It was my happy duty to keep him entertained so his mom could have some “me” time, and we danced to renaissance harp music, attempted to build the tower of Babel with building blocks, and sang Puff, the Magic Dragon together. Well, I sang; he listened, intently, and then giggled. He may have been laughing at the absurdity of a song about a dragon named Puff and a little boy named Jackie, or he may have been laughing at me. The jury is still out.
As a child, Puff the Magic Dragon may have been my favorite song or one of my favorite songs. It means a lot to introduce something you loved as a child to a child you love. Priceless memories for me, and hopefully, lots of giggly fun for le petit prince!