Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spa Day

In the craziness that is a first grade classroom in December, one of my students came rushing in one morning. "Mrs. O!" she all but shouted, "What do you want for Christmas?" At that moment, for some curious reason, my mind turned to rest and relaxation. "A massage", I answered without a second thought. "What do you want?" I asked the student.

She apparently wasn't really interested in chit chat; turns out she was a "mole" for the parent gift selection committee. She reported my answer to the parents, and I found myself the proud owner of a gift certificate to a spa when the last day of school rolled around before the Christmas holidays began. WOW! I think I gave my elementary teachers candy or bubble bath. These parents are amazing.

Today was a school holiday, and a perfect time to redeem the coveted gift. I was led into a quiet room for a massage, and began hearing a rat-a-tat-tat noise. Appears they were roofing the buildings the spa was housed in. But as I got still, I could also hear the piped in classical music, with achingly beautiful violins that fill my soul every time. I realized that if I focused on the soothing music, I no longer even noticed the roofers.

Life can be like that sometimes. You can choose what you want to tune into, and with a little concentration can tune out the static of the world. Nerd that I am, I was laying there thinking about an Amy Grant song of the 1980s, with these lyrics:

"Deep within you there's a spiritual battle
There's a voice of the darkness and a voice of the light
And just by listening you've made a decision
Because the voice you hear is going to win the fight..."

So, along with my massage, I also got a message. (Clever, that Scrabble-like letter mixing, no?) I have a choice to choose what I dwell on in my thoughts. I have a choice in the way that I view the continual slideshow of memories that filter through my consciousness. Remember the impatience I showed toward D his last day at home before our drive to the hospice hospital, or remember the precious way the entire family was gathered together within 24 hours? I choose the "voice of the light". (Oh, Amy, though I don't understand the path your life has taken, your songs continue to speak to my spirit.)

That decision made, I got to test it out as I floated home from the spa treatment. I stopped at a locally owned sandwich shop that D and I used to love to visit. We'd get the salmon, cream cheese and capers panini with olive pesto. I hadn't been there for six months. I went up to the counter to see my favorite selection covered with white tape; apparently no longer a choice. "What happened to the salmon panini?" I asked. "Well, for the past several months the popularity of that selection has really gone down," the worker informed me.

Choice time: Am I sad because it is gone? Or am I happy because I realize that the two salmon paninis we ate each week on Saturday (D was such a creature of habit) made a difference in the store's selection?

I'm choosing the fingerprint D left on the sandwich shop.

I'm also choosing to remember that we loved to see musicals, indie movies and eat Sunday brunches; and not the images from those last difficult days. I'm choosing to remember that D lived to see all 4 children graduate from high school and go off to college, and not how many times they came home to join me in waiting rooms at local hospitals.

This choosing? It's a way to put D's history down in the scrapbooks as a glorious time that will not be overshadowed by the cancer.

And to think that this train of thought all began because of noisy roofers. Sometimes the irritations in our life produce great fruit. The oyster creates a pearl from a misplaced grain of sand. Chunks of coal are made into diamonds through pressure and cutting.

 "Just by listening you've made your decision, and the voice you hear is going to win the fight."

Let's all listen carefully.


Lynn said...

Amen! You are so right. What an encouraging post for me to read tonight. As I am preparing to fly to Houston, I think of how it's me alone again. I know I will have a great time when I get there, I'm very excited to be going, but I have done so many things alone these last years. Thank you for setting my heart right to tune in to listen to the joyful music of my many blessings.

I've heard as much as 3 hours to get through security in Calgary airport when flying to the U.S. Oh mercy, Lord help me choose to be joyful there as well!! LOL I will call the airport to see if that's true, can't imagine! I'm thinking I will need a good book or 2 to read!

susan said...

Oh how I needed to hear this today! Thank you. I praise God for your gift of writing and sharing. xoxo

Dawn said...


I think you've been reading my heart lately.

Again... wow.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings - they've been a blessing and encouragment to me!


Anonymous said...

I have not been able to keep up with the blog lately so it was a breath of fresh air.....I see a lifting of your head...and thank you for reminding me where to put my focus.
~A the mother of your son in law :)

Gina said...

Spaaaahhh! One of the ways I like to treat myself. So sweet of your parents to do that for you.
Good message about what we choose to focus on too--the noise or the music. Love your blog and the new background!

Anonymous said...

It would be awesome to share a salmon sandwich with you while hearing wonderful stories of your blessed marriage!