“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
On my way back from Oklahoma I stopped in St. Louis to see Rental Sister and BIL Kelly and Craig Barnes. I got a special bonus when I walked in to find Stacy Jansen, too! She’s also been adopted, so it was like old home night in Webster Groves. Craig, being the master chef he is, made dinner for us. We ate and talked about art and medicine and politics and family. Being with them is always a highlight, but this stop was particularly joyful for some reason. Whatever that reason(s) may have been, I’m eternally grateful for all of them and so happy we could spend a few quality hours together.
“The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.” ~ Thomas Merton
Someone asked me the other day what exactly Mercury in retrograde meant. My feeble answer was that, astrologically speaking, when Mercury is in retrograde things become topsy turvy. Things that shouldn’t break, do. Communications are horrid. Travel is not recommended. It’s the Murphy’s Law of astral events: anything that can go wrong, will. This retrograde was proving no different for most everyone around me. Cars breaking down, cats getting sick, arrests, divorces, panic of some sort, virtually everybody I ran into was cranky about something. Even David Bowie and Alan Rickman died for goodness sake. It was a bad week! Meanwhile, save for Lilly’s still unknown malady, I seemed to be getting along swimmingly. This oddity did not go unnoticed, and I said as much, hence my explanation of Mercury’s retrograde. For the first time in four months I felt like I wasn’t treading water. I had accomplished a great deal last year. I set personal goals, exceeding some of them. I was feeling good about 2016, gosh darn it. And then, in the span of ten minutes this morning, that changed. The celestial demon caught me. Except this time it was a blessing in disguise and it didn’t take me a year to see it. Do you know why I’m showing you this recent picture of Craig and Kelly Barnes? It’s because there is nothing that can be thrown my way by this astrological doomsday – real or imagined – or anything else that can hold a candle to what these two have been through in the last two years. I’ve watched them go from the highest mountains of joy to the lowest valleys of sorrow, and yet here they are just darned happy to be alive. Most of our day-to-day struggles are self made if only through our perceptions of what we think should be. Suffering is the first noble truth of Buddhism. We suffer because we cling to what we think we should rather than accepting what is. And that is the essence of why this morning’s turn of events is a blessing. One can choose to see something bad, or one can choose to see inspiration. I’ve had all day to think it through and all I keep seeing is inspiration. In the end, the effects of Mercury in retrograde comes down to perspective. Kelly and Craig can tell us a thing or two about perspective. Be happy to be alive, because the rest is stuff not worth suffering.
“A great attitude becomes a great mood.
A great mood becomes a great day.
A great day becomes a great year.
A great year becomes a great life.”
Craig Barnes is one of the finest men I know. He’s funny as all get out, with a wit that will slap you silly and leave you laughing your guts out. He can cook like nobody’s business. He’s so stinkin’ creative it’s scary. Those aren’t even his best qualities! You’d be hard pressed to find a kinder, gentler, smarter, more compassionate human being than Craig. His heart is powerful. His kindness is without limit. He’s a fighter. An inspiration. He is my friend and I love him with all my heart. What a gift he is to this world, and I’m forever grateful that he’s part of mine.
“Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others exists in you. Remember, life is an echo.
It always gets back to you. So give goodness.” ~ Unknown
Kelly and Craig Barnes threw an awesome wedding for their only daughter tonight. Kelly is my rental sister, which makes Craig the best rental BIL any girl could ask for. His speech was the most moving father’s speech I’ve ever heard. I take so much joy in seeing their love for one another, and the love they share for their two children. Their families all love and adore one another, too. They’re just a great family whom I love very much, and feel so fortunate to be called their rental sister, too.
“Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou
In making my way westward, I was offered food and shelter for the night in St. Louis with my beloved rent-a-family, Craig and Kelly Barnes. Craig is the best chef on the planet. I was treated to grilled pork tenderloin with mango salsa, zucchini, and a delicious fruit salad. Kelly is, of course, my sister from another mother. We’ve got more in common than I’ve got time to tell. And then there’s sweet, little Cooper. How can you not love a face like that? He greeted me at the door and made me want another dog of my own. I heart my rent-a-family.