Easy to Take


Life is full of things that are hard to take, like criticism, break-ups, and all that laxative you need to drink before a colonoscopy. But there are some things that are easy to take.

A little child’s pudgy arms thrown around your neck.
The song of a red-throated finch perched right by your front porch.
A massage in a darkened, scented room with a Zen fountain bubbling.
Sinking into your comfortable chair and taking off your shoes after a long day.
Hours in a beach chair reading a page-turning book while the Pacific whispers rhythmically on the sand.
Cherry-flavored cough drops that don’t work but taste wonderful.
The wide-eyed thank-you from a homeless man when you give him a twenty.
Hot water pounding from the shower onto your aching forehead.
Climbing gratefully into your own bed with your own pillow after a long absence sleeping on strange mattresses.
When the dentist says “All done” and takes that little napkin off your neck.
The sound of your name in a loved-one’s voice.



Red Ink in the Blood

I taught English literature and composition for 33 years. I hated grading papers, but it was my duty. I was paid to correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation and to teach students how to avoid getting my red ink on their papers by writing it right the first time.

On Facebook I see many errors made, and I see many rants from people angry about the mistakes of others. Making others wrong is an ego ploy to make you feel right and therefore superior to the others. I resist getting into the rants, and I resist correcting spelling and other errors in people’s posts.

In the last two weeks, however, I have heard two people mispronounce the word “homage.” Instead of saying “OM-idge” they said “oh-MAZH” rhyming with the French word “fromage.” One of these speakers holds a PhD in English.

So, I have given my ego permission to write this post, just to let out my irritation at the mispronunciation of “homage.” I know English is one of the most adaptive and adoptive of languages, changing usage readily and receiving words from other languages with open arms, unlike the previously mentioned French. If enough ignorant people keep saying “oh-MAZH” on television and radio, very soon it will be accepted as the standard pronunciation. Why does that bother me?

Power and Control. In my learning and practice of Centering (Contemplative) Prayer, I have seen how my need for power and control have added to my suffering and prevented me from being my true, loving self. Here it is again. Now that I am retired, I have no students that I can teach the proper pronunciation of “homage.” I have lost the teacher’s power, and I certainly have no control of Facebook. I feel helpless to hold back the tide of mispronunciation that threatens the English-speaking world.

There. That feels better.

Keep Calm, and Love Thy Neighbor.