Breaking and Entering in my Own House

April 2021

   I was “irritated” with someone and so decided to do some errands to let this go and get into a better mood.  I went out to Trader Joe’s (always fun) and Staples, had enjoyable interactions, came home.  I pulled up to the garage in the dark, reached for the garage door opener on the visor – it wasn’t there.  Felt all over, turned the inside car lights on, couldn’t find it.  Got out and went to all car doors (in the dark) but from no angle could I find where that darn thing might have fallen. I usually try to keep a flashlight in the car but, of course, not now. I always enter my house through the garage, so now I had to find plan B To get in.  Found my back door housekey in the dark, in my purse, went up to the back door, but -oh no-I’d locked the thin storm door from the inside.  Weather had turned nice, I had pulled the screen open on the top, left the heavy door open for awhile and locked the outside from the inside.  Could not get to the lock through the locked screen door.

Walked around to the front door, trying to be optimistic that this key might open the front door.  In the dark, gave it a try.  No luck.

How to get into my house?  I guessed, must try a window! Nice weather had brought window-opening: which one might be easiest to get into?  I decided on the corner dining room windows -low and often loose.   I clamored through the vines, aware that I saw poison ivy there last fall. Usually people are out on the street jogging, walking dogs etc. But all was dark and quiet now.  This was good and bad:  No one would see me try to get through a window, but I was on my own. 

  I tried the first window: no budge.  Went around the corner: this was probably my last hope!  The window was open far enough to push on the screen and the bottom of the screen pushed in.  But no further; the screen did not want to just gently fall inward for me, no.  It did not want to give at all and this, of course is good news for me, if there were someone else trying to enter my house!  But for me here now, bad news.  Well, I would have to bend the screen, maybe damage it.  I had been carrying my cane with me so I gave that screen a good shove with hand and cane and somehow it fell forward.

 The window was just a little high off the ground for me, short as I am.  I leaned in, pushed the big floor plants out of the way.  Tried to get one 76-year-old leg up over the sill but this was definitely a no go. Leaned in.  The window seemed just a smidgeon tight.  Was I going to have to just fall on my face inside, butt in air, pull myself in?  Looked around, still no one anywhere, either to see or to help.  At this point, independent as I am, yes I would have asked for help. 

   I finally realized what I had to do.  It’s what soldiers do as they charge forward in war – one has to get your energy up for the job – anger is the best.  I turned my problem-solving mind off, and from my  pocket of past skills I pulled my swear words; then mustering together anger and energy and determination and not even knowing how I did it, I just – “did it!”  I have no idea how,  but I got through the window and was kind of stumbling forward on the floor.  

    Actually, I felt pretty calm.  I rearranged the plants and then went to the garage and pulled the car in.

    From there, I went to my computer, emailed the person I’d felt “irritated” with that I did not want to feel angry and argumentative – they could feel free to do X as they chose;  I don’t want to be an angry argumentative person, I do not want to be that kind of person.  I felt at peace and went to bed.

Next day I went to the car and looked around for the missing garage door opener. Where could that darn thing have jumped to?  And lo, there it was, on the visor where it was supposed to be but facing the wrong way!

What to make of this?! It was hysterically funny, and yet – puzzling.  The ending turned a funny experience into a puzzling one.  Kind of like a Zen koan or a parable that leaves something unfinished in your mind.  Something about the irony made it all seem “set up.”  Had some “teacher” set this up for me to learn something here? “Grasshopper, think on this!”

Ultimately this is what I see:  While being angry is not a healthy state to permanently be in, there may be times when only anger will get you through.  There are times when one actually needs to get MORE angry in order to get oneself to do what needs to be done. Or life needs to make you more angry!

I always remember both the feeling of embarrassment and of freedom that I felt when I first let myself “swear.”  My children were little, the work was more than I felt up to, and I just let it out.  It did feel – wonderful!  Nothing quite matches that counter-cultural release.

   As toddlers we learn to speak by listening to the adults around us.  As I grew up, I did hear both my dad and his dad swear.  My mother worked endlessly to get my dad to stop – “Don, don’t say that in front of the girls!” Eventually he did stop swearing – out loud, at least.  But then he’d go huffing and puffing around the house when he was mad and no one knew who he was mad at!  And Grandpa – it seems in my memory that gruff old grandpa never opened his mouth without something foul coming out with whatever he said.  He’d endured a lot of misfortune, and maybe it was part of his French Canadian backwoods character, I don’t know.  But I did know those words when I needed them!

  And I did know that I could get through that window!  I could feel myself on the other side, it would not be impossible, it would just take much more than my ordinary determination.  I stepped into an alter ego, allowed myself to be different, and wow!  What I could do in my different self!  Something in me feels freer now and glad to have felt all my power; I will remember what I am truly able to do – when I want to!

Christmas December 2020

“Do the work of a spider, strengthening the web of relationships around us, and throwing out threads to enlarge it and pull ever more people in.”                               -Pamela Haines, in Befriending Creation, fall 2020

What could be more of the essence of this holiday season at its best than strengthening bonds of love and light in our world?  And most especially this year as we all – all over the world – face perhaps the hardest time in our lives.  We must hang on just a little bit longer! Not only for ourselves, but let us see if we can rise to our very biggest selves and reach out a hand and light to everyone possible.  We see like never before that we are all in this together and that how we each handle it affects many others.This month’s Snippet will be my Christmas letter.  I share here in a one page letter some of what the experience of this year has been for me.  I’d love to hear what it’s been for you!  We each have a little light to offer, a view, some experiences – Let us not belittle the gifts our life has given us.  Thankfulness for our life could be expressed by sharing what love and enlightenment we’ve received.  Even the unanswered questions that come to us can lift others to see they’re not alone in their own questions.   What can heal our wounded ailing world?   All the love possible.  Throw out lifelines of connection and affirmation wherever you can.  


My Christmas letter, December 2020

Dearest friends,         What a year! Hard in similar ways for all of us and yet each has had our own unique challenges.  I apologize for not reaching out more.  I’ve often thought with love and concern toward different friends and family; you’ve probably done the same.  Something in us has sunk inwards into a quiet place, like winter on a long scale.

   Some highlights for me have been:  With the help of my daughter Anne Marie, we created a website for sharing my writings!  I’m writing one blog (a “Salty Snippet”) per month now, more writing than I’ve done in awhile.  I hope in the quietness of January- February you might check it out:  www.martimatthews.com

  Summer was scaled-down:  I never once got to my beloved Lake Michigan dunes and waves.  But I did stroll around a good deal on my three wheeled bike, pausing to chat with neighbors, greet the many old trees, watch the clouds.  As all beaches were closed, I got into water only once, pretending with the grandkids to fall off our paddleboat.

   The Unitarian Writers Group I lead, “Writing for Spiritual Growth,” met outdoors under the wide sheltering boughs of my great Maple.  I’ve participated in online book discussions:  With the Progressive Spiritualists we discussed Dr. Brian Weiss’ Many Lives, Many Masters on past life regression, then Bill Moyers interviewing Joseph Campbell The Power of Myth, and finally the true Scrooge story by Dickens.  With First Friends I read Elaine Pagels’ personal story Why Religion. Am reading Heidegger and Jungians on Nietzsche, who fascinates me, and loving the poetry of David Whyte and Mary Oliver.  Fall Creek Friends Meeting is so small we meet once a month in person, with windows open into the quiet cemetery around and much space indoors. I make the rounds online with various churches I love, each feeding me in different ways.

   John started high school and Adele sixth grade completely online.  They did pretty well, but got a bit behind so grandma took up tutoring.  I finally got to read Homer’s Odyssey – what an adventure!  Then learned about the Ming Dynasty (I’ll bet you don’t know that info), the details of the bloody French Revolution, and -again- the famous “fall of Rome”.  While also watching our own country sink low and split apart in hate, mudslinging, and dishonesty.  And now our lives are threatened as Covid shows our unwillingness to obey Nature or to concede personal freedoms to care for each other. The best potentials of this nation have yet to be discovered. 

Anne Marie is trying to do her part by developing online courses, meditations, and activities in earth-centered spirituality.  “Intuition Immersion” is her platform, emerging as a viable course to help people grow healthier and wiser. On Facebook, she is under “Moon Mysteries.”  

I submitted and then unsubmitted my children’s book Cakes for Mistakes, which will be my first January project. In a week I’ll turn 76!  The horizon looks different from here:  I’m missing so many loved ones./  I’m feeling more comfortable with all of us as imperfect, always growing.  As Jewish people do at their New Years, I ask forgiveness of anyone I have hurt, and I give complete forgiveness to anyone who has hurt me.   My heart sends a big imaginary hug to each of you; I would love to hear from you.        God bless us, every one! 


Birthday Joy

   Enclosed here is a poem and a link (hopefully) in celebration of my 70th birthday.  The address will take you to YouTube video of 80 happy people singing their hearts out in fun, plus the marvelous cake with cannoli rum filling and buttercream frosting with the little gypsy dancers on top.  You can also see pics of the beautiful worship space of Unity Temple, the Frank Lloyd Wright church in which the party was held.
   The  poem is from Carolyn Aguila, a neighbor from many, many years ago in Chicago when we took in Kevin Price Sanchez and Kelly Price Jorgensen as foster children one winter.  Carolyn has a wonderful published book of her own Chicago/family/literature based poems:  “Flirting with Rhyme and Reason,  EM Press, Channahon, IL 2006.
     YouTube:   Marti’s 70th Birthday          

      by Kevin Sanchez

Marti’s Matthew’s 70th Birthday – Dec 27, 2014

   

 
GRATITUDE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENT
By Carolyn S. Aguila ~ December 27, 2014
 On the occasion of Marti Matthews’ 70th Birthday—
 City moms have different worries,

but all moms worry,
about all children,
all the time.
It’s always been so.

In ancient ages,

young boys and girls were sent
to uncles and aunts for fostering,
particularly when mothers grew tired
from the fretting.
Sometimes a family needs a rest from itself—
–or an urgent matter must be tended to
far from a child’s daily life.

I would not learn

until many years latter
that my own bricked city street
harbored such a mother
who mothered without question
the child of another,
a woman who understood
the sacred mission of tending to children
who were not her own,
but who were in need.

This is ancient,

this type of generosity,
and it is passed on and between and among
the bones and blood of motherhood.
We are finer, brighter, and sturdier because of these mothers—
   –and one is named, Marti.

                         Happy Birthday.
 
 
 
 

comments

Re: poems on Daffodils

From Pamela Timme    Thank you so much, Marti. I am going to the Arboretum to see the daffodils on Saturday, so especially enjoyed reading Tom’s piece. They’re all lovely!

*****
Thank you so much Marti, I read your poem – such an eloquent description of that traumatic time – and Tom’s writing – I felt “with him” again, after so long. I had no idea he wrote that much after his stroke. And the Wordsworth poem is an old favorite of mine – I had it memorized at one point!
Love,
Marilyn Myles
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Thank you for sharing those wonderful poems. I just finished from doing our taxes all day and reading the poems helped me return to a more peaceful, present state of being,

Sweet dreams, Vanessa
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Marti,

I’ve always liked that Wordsworth poem, too. Ecstasy that seeps into our souls….such a lovely way of putting how beauty enters us. And your tender poem, marking that difficult, beautiful winter….then love claims the body…..that line washed over me. Thanks for sending these splashes of brightness into my morning.
Carol Tyx

Comments on Early Spring Poems

Hi Lynn,
Only you could create joy from the stinkiness of a skunk cabbage! I tried to put this comment right onto your website but I had to choose to be things that I wasn’t and failed. Hope your spaces between snows get longer. I’m at work on the last big section of my Zimbabwe memoir. Then I have to organize and add in some vignettes, but it basically feels finished.
Love, Natalie

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Marti,

What I need to live, life will offer…..such a line to hang on to. Love the simplicity and at the same time, the depth of these poems.

Your essay on dancing reminded me of a day last summer when I went to a downtown Iowa City outdoor music event. In the back of the crowd a young man in a wheelchair was waving his arms around. Feeling more outgoing than I am at other times, I went back and danced a number with him. Such enthusiasm for dancing!

Thanks for sending the reminders of life’s beauty…..as well as its complications.

Carol Tyx

*****
Dear Sis~

Hi there, and happy spring! I loved your poems in the recent posting – are you the author of all of them? I’d especially like to refer/reprint the Frog one – so cheery and sweet –

All the Best~ Terry
Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP TML SERVICES

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Great concept, Marti! Where do you get these ideas? sounds like, by sitting in quiet. They just drop by! Bonni McKeown

PRAY FOR PEACE
WORK FOR JUSTICE
BOOGIE FOR SURVIVAL
www.barrelhousebonni.com
Reconnecting generations through blues education: www.chicagoschoolofblues.com

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Hi Marti,I enjoyed the poems. They are very cute and inspiring regarding the lovely sights of spring. Now, I can not wait for spring to come and show all of its beauty. How are you doing? Its looks like all of well. Love, Dottie

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Mar 26 Re: Early Spring Poems

Good evening, Lynn! You are so creative! I just read your poems and can imagine the sights and smells!!! Even tho we still have a foot of snow on the ground and 28inches of us on the lake!!! Thank you for making my day!

Love, Jamie

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FROM Ethel Potts TO You

Marti – In Michigan we still have about half of our snow left on the ground. However, I see green shoots of a few confused snow drops in the back yard. Will they survive the still-with-us temperatures in the teens and twenties? They must be responding to the sun. Eppie

*****

 

Thanks!
Love the poems and the handicap dance story.
Nancy Paul, Lyric Healing

 

Comments on Dancing with the handicapped

Comments on “Handicapped”
Dear Marti,
What a beautiful story! You must come dancing with me some Saturday night! Have taken up country dancing. Most of our dance partners are over 80 and just enjoy the music and exercise! Love and miss you.
Dorene

Dr. Dorene P. Wiese
President
American Indian Association of Illinois
6554 N. Rockwell
Chicago,IL 60645
773.550.9600
Chicago-American-Indian-Edu.Org
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Marti,

I loved your story-telling. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Love, Jill Mollenkamp

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From: Diane Willis To: Marti Matthews <martim1234@sbcglobal.net> Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2014 11:03 PMSubject: Re: “Dancing with the Handicapped”

Lovely story, Marti…..thanks for sharing it.

Diane, IANDS

(Intn’l. Asso. of Near Death Experiences)

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From:PATRICIA R MCMILLEN To:Marti Matthews <martim1234@sbcglobal.net> Sent:Wednesday, March 12, 2014 2:42 PMSubject:Re: “Dancing with the Handicapped”marti,

loved the piece – tried to comment but apparently i don’t have an “open ID” on wordpress. <sigh> anyway it sounds like you had a good evening and I’m delighted to have read about it.

best

          patty
Dear Marti,
It wasn’t until I read this blog that I realized I could post it on Facebook and I did, introducing it as “Another great blog by my dear friend, Marti Matthews”
Your picture is there and a profile. Wish you could see it!
                  Love, Marian
Marian Tompson
Passionate Journey: My Unexpected Life (Hale, 2011)
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from: Ethel Potts To: Marti Matthews <martim1234@sbcglobal.net> Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 9:30 AMSubject: Re: “Dancing with the Handicapped”

Dear Marti – Thank you for sharing such delightful parts of your life. You have a real talent for enjoying the heart-warming aspects of every situation. I am learning from you to try to do the same.

I may have some of your viewpoint. In my all-absorbing political work, I lose more often then win on issues and elections, but somehow I happily continue on. [ I’ve wondered if it’s not a personality defect, that I don’t know when to quit, which so many of my colleagues have done over these years.] I think that you and I find meaning and joy wherever we can, right? With my love, Eppie
            ********
 
I felt like I was there too, Lynn. Thanks!
Love,
Natalie Kreutzer

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from: June Ryushin Tanoue          what a beautiful well written piece- thank you for sharing it with me!

I’d like to use it for my hula newsletter sometime ok? I may have to edit it some and shorten it to a page and a half?

but you should edit in what you said in the paragraph below or people will think that i’m an uncaring teacher ;0)

Aloha,

June Halau I Ka Pono, Hawaiian Hula School of Chicago