Life Savers (Let Me Hear From You!)

Busey Woods Winter

In the days following Gabe’s birth, six years ago on November 28th, I listened often to Carrie Newcomer’s CD “Regulars and Refugees.”  Gabe is our only winter baby, and lying in bed, holding him, with a clear, clean light coming through the big windows, I listened to that CD over and over.  The first song has a character named Gabriel Thomas in it and that is Gabe’s full name.  The music on that CD helped me find a part of myself that I recognized again, which was really welcome after the life-exploding event of giving birth to another human being.

That CD was a life saver for me–not because I was unhappy or in trouble, but just because it was one of those experiences that reminds you of your own center, makes you grateful your heart is still beating, lets you know you’re never alone.

I was having a really crap morning a few weeks ago and I got to work to find a YouTube link to a song from Carrie Newcomer’s new CD: “Everything is Everywhere.”  I watched, listened, laughed, was filled with awe, pleasure and gratitude.  It changed the course of my day.  A life saver.

So I’ve been thinking about the things that feel like life savers for me right now–not in a big huge way, but in a “what are the top 5 things that come to mind without pressure” way.  Here’s what came to mind:

  • the CD of incredibly uplifting songs my sister sent me
  • Gabe’s eyes (any part of him, really, though that sounds a little creepy)
  • knowing, when I am stressed throughout the day, that each night I will be in my own bed with my own assortment of pillows and a book
  • the single-decade rosary my mother sent me a few months ago that I carry in my purse
  • a sweet and hilarious jar that Noah and his wonderful girlfriend Bre made for me

My gift from Noah & Bre

About the jar:  they took this blue vase I have and filled it with sweet, inspirational notes that I can reach in and grab when I need a little pick me up.  I don’t complain about my job a lot because I really like it and am grateful for so many things about it.  But I’m often pretty worn out at the end of the day, and sometimes I tell Noah and Bre “crazy student stories” from my advising work.  For example:

Student: “I would like to be exempted from taking the campus-wide required composition course.”

Me: “On what basis?”

Student: “I have already written a novel. I know if the Deans read it they would agree that I should not have to take the campus-wide required composition course that every single other freshman on campus has to take, unless they get a high enough ACT score to proficiency out of it (which I did not).”

Me: “Well, I sometimes pay for the person behind me in the drive-thru at Starbucks, and once I helped a man with a walker get out of his car, so I’d like to be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Situations like that.

Or like this one, which made me so angry I almost threw my phone through the window.

Yesterday, after writing the first post for this Advent blog, and thinking about the theme of “Love wins,” I reached into the jar and pulled out this note:

A life saver.

So, since we are all here together for Advent, and we are developing our theme of “Love wins,” please write in and share a few things that are life savers for you!  They can be anything at all, and even just the first one or two things that come to your mind.  Maybe one of yours will help someone else!

Here are the words to Carrie Newcomer’s “Throw Me a Line.”  I wish I could play it for you.  You can watch her video for “Everything is Everywhere” here.  It’s exquisite.

Throw Me a Line

Why do I worry so much, it can’t add a day or year?

It usually comes down to a matter of love or fear.

I really don’t know, and I can’t tell you why

One sparrow falls to the ground, and another one flies.

Could you throw me a line

Could you take me in?

The world’s spinning faster now

Than it ever has been.

And what used to be sure

Up and walked out the door

And the old ways I knew

Just don’t work anymore.

Some days I’m a bird, some days I am a song.

Some days I’m a storm, sometimes I’m just plain wrong.

But there is a still quiet voice and it sounds a little like mine,

Saying, “You’re right where you should be, it’s just going to take time.”

Could you throw me a line

Could you take me in?

The world’s spinning faster now

Than it ever has been.

And what used to be sure

Up and walked out the door

And the old ways I knew

Just don’t work anymore.

When it all breaks down

When they’re nothing to lose

When there’s no more to say and there is nothing to prove

Oh yeah bring it on, all things living in you.

You’re not just what happened, you can be something new.

But what you leave to the shadows, what stays in the dark,

Will grieve you and seize you and cripple your heart.

Could you throw me a line

Could you take me in?

The world’s spinning faster now

Than it ever has been.

And what used to be sure

Up and walked out the door

And the old ways I knew

Just don’t work anymore.

Carrie Newcomer

8 Comments

Filed under advent, gratitude, kindness

8 responses to “Life Savers (Let Me Hear From You!)

  1. Lana

    A few of my life savers include: a cup of mojito mint tea, sitting by the christmas tree, remembering that by 830 every night the kids willl be in bed and my beloved and I will be curled up on the couch together with the fire place on, listening to Johnny Reid sing “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the Wolrd”. And you know what Leslie, reading your blog is a life saver too! Thank you for returning for Advent!

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  2. My most reliable lifesaver is to get outdoors in nature. Hard not to breathe in joy and harmony in the mountains. Thoughtful post–thank you!

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  3. Terri

    Solitude. Hands down! After being a stay-at-home mom for over 15 years and providing home day care services for many of those years, solitude is a life saver. It can come in just about any form: a walk through the woods, a run, swimming, or sitting a few minutes in the quietness of a church sanctuary. A small table for two at a quaint cafe with only my computer to keep me company works too!

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  4. Navina Clemerson

    To go out into the garden and be there with all the other living things,
    To get a hug from one of my children or my husband,
    To read ‘Awakening Loving Kindness’ by Pema Chodron, Buddhist Theravedan teacher, which puts a balm on my heart.

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  5. Lauren

    Right now, my life savers include walks with friends, the Christmas song “Joy to the World” (especially the Manheim Steamroller version), a chai tea latte from Starbucks, and the heated mattress cover that John gave me for Christmas last year.

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  6. Making things. Yesterday I made a cover for my plunger out of the remains of a shower curtain. I”m pretty sure it is the first one in the history of mankind. I’m pretty sure I beat Martha Stewart to it. I really wanted to paint a fabulous oil painting. But the plunger was just so ugly…and we have no room for it in a closet out of the way, so it sits in our bathroom… looking gross…. well it used to. Now it looks artsy.

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  7. Colleen Crowley

    Thank you for this wonderful Blog, Leslie!
    For over a quarter of a century, I start most mornings in what I call,”Quaker Silence,” sitting in contemplative prayer, reading a spiritual message and in the past decade, writing gratitudes. Sometimes, when I do not want to get out of bed, I remember, this is how I start the day. The sooner I get up, the longer the silence.
    A phone call from my adult children still makes my heart soar.
    Dancing alone in my large sunny living room almost daily makes me giddy with joy-I think it is a form of prayer from another lifetime when I was a Shaker. And the “Word,” the beauty of the written word such as often heard on the Writer’s Almanac helps me feel anchored, connected and redeemed.

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  8. Becca

    One of my life lines is My Saturday. I live for the weekend. I do enjoy my work but Saturday is such a treat. It is the only day that I am home at 9:30 in the morning. I bask in the sun as it comes through the blinds on the east side of the house. My living room looks beautiflu at this time of day and I really enjoy it. I lay on the couch with my coffee and think about what I WANT to do on this day. A wonderful yoga/tai chi class at the gym is my top priority. The challenge and compassion in this class is just the beginning of My Saturday. I enjoy cooking a delicious soup on this day, taking a walk with my husband,staying up late, falling asleep watching a movie and doing whatever may fall in between. It is so nice to have a day where nothing has to be done only what I want to be do.

    I have been listening to ‘the Safety Dance’ by Men without Hats non -stop the past 2 weeks.It is an old song but makes me so happy and sets my heart free to dance. Dancing around my house is also a life line. My family thinks I’m nuts. Just this week I decided that at some point in the future I will have a theme room in the house. It will have a disco ball, really good speakers, a mirror so I can watch myself (ha) and plenty of floor space.

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