Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Often, as I clear the breakfast table I hear messages over the PA system from the elementary school back of my house. “All students please report to the auditorium for an assembly."  "Mrs. Hall, please come to the office.”  "Teachers, please remember to hand in your lunch counts early today.”

One very quiet morning, I stopped, dishes in hand and realized that, not only could I hear the school’s announcements, but faintly, off in the distance I could also hear the PA announcements from the nursing home that sits two blocks from the front of my house. Mr. Jenkins, we need a clean-up in the dining area.” “Will an aide please come to the front desk?” "All residents are welcome to join us in the dining room for musical entertainment at 10:00 o'clock today."

I could not ignore the fact that the voices behind the microphone were the voices of my own generation, busily managing these institutions for the young and old, busily managing the lives of others.  

You know us. We are the sometimes annoying ones, driving fast, often times in vans or the swollen equivalents, cell phones slapped over our ears and hot lattes in our cup holders. We assume attitudes of self-importance, barreling to our jobs in the morning, lists of things to do in our hands and in our heads.

We look busy because we are—with our jobs, families and communities. We are the breadwinners, the service providers, the ones who generate the tax dollars to keep our cities going.  We take care of parents, of children, deal with the past and plan for the future.

So it is natural that we sometimes lose perspective. We are so busy being in the spotlight, being the stars of the show that we sometimes forget the supporting cast.  We forget to be patient.  We forget to be grateful.  We forget to stop, sit, and just enjoy what IS now.

We work hard to keep our balance in this time of our lives, understanding that the sounds of childhood  grow dimmer each year.  Some days the sounds from that time that waits for us come in faintly, but distinctly.  Sooner than we think, our lives may be dictated by the voices of others.  

We struggle to keep our balance in the middle of this teeter-totter for as long as we can.  On an almost daily basis, we adjust our stance here in this temporary territory and keep looking ahead. 

From a distance, it looks as though we are dancing.


Susan said...

a good reminder! Made me kind of sad.

Anonymous said...

As long as you can still hear the PA from the nursing home, I think you're in good shape.

Bossy Betty said...

You're right! I feel much better now!
Perhaps I will stop yelling at the children in the school yard.