Notes from Jan

One Day In the Weak

February 5, 2016


Wore my hearing aids and headed for lunch and a lecture on Closet Downsizing and Organization,  not at Gordon College but a nearby retirement complex, Brooksby Village( a misnomer).   Once inside, a quick look confirmed what I’ve known statistically, widows exceed widowers.  No wonder Jesus said, “don’t forget widows and orphans.”   There are so many.

At our table sat four widows, one widower and one widow’s son, who’d come to lunch with his mom and check out the village.  I heard from most a willingness to leave larger homes or condos for the company of others. Loneliness spreads like a disease in our culture, especially among the elderly. You can get knees, shoulders, teeth, hips replaced but there’s no substitute for that one person you never wanted to live without. And now, you do.

The presenter from Home Transition Resource delivered tip #1: the 80/20 rule.  “Eighty percent of the time we wear only 20% of what’s in our closets.”  Made me think I should’ve hauled a few more bags to church for the Syrian refugees.

Of the many organizational tips, I’ll share two more:

#2  “Clutter comes from delayed decisions.” Well, I’ve been blaming it on my personality type, an INFP on the Myers-Briggs test.  The P is a possibility thinker, which leaves a lot of room for delayed decisions.  Good thing I married an INTJ, who knew how to choose. Jud picked me.  Does true love ever make sense?

2.  “Use a tackle box for storing your jewelry.”  Did I sense Jud’s laugh?!

Lunched and learned. We all age differently.  I met no one with whom I would not wish to share another meal or organizational class.  Good to learn.

Left knowing, I’m  no longer on the far side of middle age but the younger side of old.  My next stop confirmed I’m old :  Sports Medicine North, an appointment with a shoulder specialist. Appears that last Friday night, when our Bible study group gathered at the perch, I pulled something when I lifted a full kettle of boiling water.

Diagnosis after preliminary x-rays, “profound weakness.”  Insulting and informative.  Who doesn’t want to be profound at something.  You know, “having profound insight or knowledge.” Makes me thankful I no longer have to send out a resume and include “profound weakness.” Truth in advertising.  While it’s a humbling diagnosis, I’ve been called worse.

Next week, an MRI to see if I have a torn rotator cuff. I’ve always connected that injury with major league pitchers. I’m finally linked with athletes, by default. My fault.

To cushion my pain and gain perspective, I took my Bible and read,

“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.” Hebrews 12;12a  Sounds like a challenge from the BMW.

Then God showed up with comforting truth, wrapping me and all who suffer in body, mind or spirit with these familiar words,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” II Corinthians 12:9

Hope for the heart.

Tylenol for my shoulder.





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  • Reply Mark Taylor February 5, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Ouch (on all levels). After you get the shoulder checked out, you can start weightlifting. And that 80/20 principle is good motivation for me to clean out MY closet.


  • Reply Karen O'Keefe February 5, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    Dear Jan. My name is Karen O’Keefe. I’ve known of you for many years but never really known you, although I’m sure we have met. I was at Christ Church for almost 40 years before moving to Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Danvers/Beverly. I just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your blog. I’ve been reading it ever since three friends, Lyn Shields, Patty Hanlon and Nancy Mering , sent me your blog about running into Anne Lamott. Many years ago I sent her a prayer bracelet that I had made, unsolicited, and she loved it. I’ve been making bracelets for her ever since. I’ve been fortunate to have attended church with her several times and been able to talk to her and exchange emails. Martha Giltian got me into making prayer bead bracelets, about 2002, and I’ve been making them ever since.
    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog. We are of the same generation, and everything you say resonates with me. So, please, keep it up. You have a rare talent for hitting the nail on the head, as my father used to say, without being maudlin. Thank you.
    Blessings and peace, Karen

  • Reply Margaret A. Hunt February 5, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    I was thinking of you today as I sat comfortably looking out my fifth floor window and knowing I did not have to go outside for any reason. I hear the plows working diligently to clear the snow. It is one of the privileges of living at BBV. The winter of 2004/2005 was the main reason we moved here and it has been a good ten years as I look back.

    Since a lot of the dining staff could not safely get in, we wil have pick up box lunches (2choices) tonight. Of
    course, I could miss a meal and it wouldn’t matter.

    Keep taking advantage of all that is offered here. They do try to make it easier to make a move.

    I do hope you can get good answers about your shoulder. I will resist putting on my retired nursing cap and just pray for you.

    Love, Margaret

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