Sunday, February 26, 2006

Can I Fly Away, Now?

This is one of those rare periods during which I believe I've become what you could call "overstimulated." When my children were babies and we attended a family function or some other gathering that involved a lot of people, noise, touching, general constant activity, the day usually ended with me and baby laying in bed nursing in the dark so we could both calm down.

Those days, at least we had that. To find a similar tonic now would be welcome, but my kids are with their dad, and I have Hot Rize in the cd player, singing "Won't You Come And Sing For Me," appropriately enough.

I had a wonderful weekend. It started out with a very productive meeting of the board members of the Earth Day Coalition, a regional (NE Ohio) environmental organization with which I've been involved for about ten years. From there, I headed to Columbus to meet my friend Earl and enjoy an evening with Tim O'Brien backed by Dennis Crouch (we can talk later about how, despite my hopes of meeting up with a nice double bass player, when I actually DO, I manage to flub it), and the multi-talented Danny Barnes ("Oh, you're the banjo player!" which for some reason elicited a laugh from the group). After basking in Tim's presence, gabbing a bit about our old hometown and helping to move a few cds and t-shirts, it was off to Granville, OH, home to my alma mater and good friends I had not seen in a while. After spending the night, it was back to Columbus to meet another good friend and her family for some catch-up time and a lovely meal. The drive home was restorative; I realized it had really been almost a year since I had taken even a short trip alone (sans kids) by car. That is WAY too long.

I had recovered from the general activity of the highlights of the weekend, but arrived home to some pretty deep stuff. I learned that my niece, who suffers from biliary atresia, has what is described as sclerosing ascending cholangitis, a condition that only worsens the overall condition of the liver with each episode. She is a highly creative, funny, beautiful young lady, and to learn what may lie ahead is just excruciating.

While talking with her mother, I received an email from a close friend telling me that her niece died last weekend in Denver, in a screw up of massive proportions. She was in a car accident and was unconscious when pulled from her car. However, she was released from the hospital to the police because of some outstanding traffic violations, and spend the night in a jail cell, without medical attention, despite complaining of abdominal pain and numbness in her limbs. When the first shifts came around in the morning, she was dead.

And somewhere in here, I learned I had really done a good friend an enormous disservice; when I find the song that goes with that I'll give you the rest of the story.

So life has these ups and downs, and sometimes all in the same 24 hours. We've all been there. This time last night, I was standing around with my hero, laughing about the fact that the t-shirt he signed for my daughter will probably fall below her ankles; now, I'm hoping that a good glass of tequila will help me relax and fall into sleep, where I'm sure to meet troubling dreams.

While my spiritual side has taken a number of twists and turns in the last 18 months, I find that I still need moments to find peace, somehow. The friends I stayed with last night had a fridge magnet with a clever saying that suggested that peace is not not having trouble and heartache and confusion in life, but rather being calm at heart in the midst of all those things. Tonight I want peace, for me, and especially for all those I wrote about earlier. While someday we get to "fly away," finding a way through the craziness of the here and now without losing sight of doing and being our best is the challenge. This song may be steeped in a tradition that is no longer as relevant to me spiritually, but, it still helps me get to a calmer place. It also might be a retread on the blog but I throw it out again for the people on my heart tonight.

I hope wherever you are that you are finding -- and making -- peace in this crazy, crazy world. The peaceful photo is another by my friend Shannon.

I'll Fly Away
Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).
[Chorus]I'll fly away, Oh Glory, I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by, I'll fly away (I'll fly away).
When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)
[Chorus]I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).
Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)
[Chorus]I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).


At February 26, 2006 11:43 PM, Blogger Darkneuro said...

Lovely song, hectic life. Remember to take some time for some tea and quiet, hon.

At February 27, 2006 1:17 AM, Blogger My Boring Best said...

We've talked tonight on the phone, so you know how I feel about all of this. (Incredibly bad.)

Just know that I am always here if you need me. (Although, I prefer Jack Daniels.) ;-)


At February 27, 2006 7:02 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Thanks, Neuro and Jim. Knowing you've stopped by helps ease the load for sure.

While the Mexicans have always been good to me, Jack Daniels was a sight better than an old moonshiner and therefore ok in my book. ;-)

At February 27, 2006 10:37 AM, Anonymous Cassandra said...

Oh Jen, I'm so sorry for all that you and your loved ones are going through. Hang in there...

At June 21, 2006 1:54 AM, Blogger Amanda M said...

Hope your niece recovered!

- from another aunt to a niece with biliary atresia

At June 21, 2006 1:55 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hi Amanda,
Well it is a long road for sure, and you never quite know what is around the bend, but she is a beautiful, smart, funny and resilient person like the rest of the women in our family, so our hopes are high!

Stay close to your niece and be the wonderful special other grownup she needs!



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