Revered Heart

Since waking up, I have been lost in thought today, of memories like dreams from now-decades-ago, and working through this particular reflection in present time requires focusing on small accomplishments. There are so many current circumstances and situations that do not have endings, known outcomes, or dependable resolutions, these small tasks have become meaningful ways to say to myself, “all done” or “I can do that” and to feel some symbolic certainty.

This morning, before breakfast and coffee-making could begin, I am standing at the kitchen sink, hot water is heard running in a steady stream and interrupted by splashing as my blue, sudsy-sponge maneuvers back-and-forth through a back-up-piling of dirty knives, cutting boards, cookware, and travel cups. Water, along with my memories, is gurgling down the drain as I review what today is: my 24th wedding anniversary.

Short sigh. It’s time to immerse myself into this a.m. clean-up. Coffee, bacon, and cinnamon rolls simply will not be delayed. Prioritizing, I started with the largest items, and having just rinsed a few pans and pot-lids, included was one of the oldest frying pans amongst an assortment of collections that speak to life-eras and this-and-that styles. This particular pan, now clean, was perched atop the foundation of the “done” pile to drip-dry, and once my pink-gloved hand let go of it, there it was staring at me: a welded-steel heart, two metal-halves symmetrically joined from the handle, pressed on the pan’s exterior into a USA-made design unchanged with time and use.

Since my teenagers began cooking, this relic of a pan has become the most popular one to be used. It has high sides deep enough for their creations and endures high heat. Stainless steel, after use it takes extra scrubbing with a special pad to restore it to its original lustre, but does so every time with a little muscle. Instead of cooking with it, I seem to be the one who most often does the cleaning of it. Today, I am experiencing this pan for the first time from this “heart” viewpoint.

I wonder how many other things in my current life are a matter of looking from a different angle? Does everything need to be turned upside down? Why do I feel so much attraction to accomplish the small things when the biggest ones need all of my time and energy? Aren’t the “little things” just as valuable as “big things” in a person’s life to do? I face facts that some things will never be achieved in my life. Like, I will never have an actual 50th wedding anniversary with Jon. The marriage ship had sailed 59 months ago. The real-time wedding anniversary clock stopped a month after our 19th married year together began. Bon voyage, indeed.

I had a recent out-and-back solo road trip to nowhere. It was odd to me, and somehow not surprising, that each way, the song “Patience” was heard on the radio. The “out” version recording was the original by Guns N’ Roses. Loudly played, the voice of Axl Rose is blaring in my car, his every word speaks to me: “If I can’t have you right now, I’ll wait dear, sometimes I get so tense but I can’t speed up the time,” and suddenly driving to no nowhere feels like driving to somewhere to hear words meant to remind me “all we need is just a little patience.”

Driving “back” and nearly returned, on a different radio station. strums of guitar begin and bring the Chris Cornell “Patience” acoustic version to my ears. No whistling, just a raspy, soulful voice enters my mind, bringing the same lyrics, but oh-so differently heard. Volume up, I hear in this version “There is no doubt you’re in my heart now,” loud and clear, “Said ‘woman take it slow and things will be just fine’ you and I’ll just use a little patience.” The trip to nowhere just may have been the trip to “Patience” and today, September 6th, was the day to remember it all.

It felt good to make and have breakfast with my kids this morning and to acknowledge that this day has a significant meaning. For as often as I clean my stainless steel pan, now my kids and I know it bears a special symbol of a heart. When I am scrubbing the heck out of it to remove whatever was made because someone did not soak it in the sink, I will be reminded also to “use a little patience.” ❤️~Paula

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