I have been spending some more time tackling our home office. We’re still in the long process of unpacking from the move, and as we add shelves for books or I give up on a few things and stash it in the basement, I can get to more boxes.
In one, I found a volume of compiled church newsletter articles my Grandmother had written for First Presbyterian Church in Pitman, NJ. After Grandma Bo Bo’s death over two decades ago, the church thoughtfully copied and collated these pages giving us a glimpse into her life.
I know only bits and pieces of her life, being too young to ask the right questions before she died. I have a few cards she had written me, a small journal outlining the basic events of the day (washed hair, cleaned kitchen, etc.), and a few written remembrances from her much younger brother. So, these articles are a treasure trove.
They read like any of today’s good blog posts, drawing the reader into the larger world through personal stories, quotes and examples. The pieces subtly prod the members of the congregation to open their hearts and minds to issues of justice, patience, understanding, openness to change, love, family and faith. Written in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, they are equally relevant today.
I’ve always wondered where I got the writing gene from, the yearn for self-expression. Grandma never wrote much beyond these articles and letters to family, at least that I know of. Perhaps she burned a few journals, which I assumed were written in her first language, Finnish. Yet I see my phrasing in her pieces and think that perhaps I am continuing her legacy.
With each blog post, each time I add to journal, and whenever I paint life on the page through words, I know that writing is not just in my heart, but also in my blood.
In her honor, here is one of the shorter articles she wrote. I share the words as she had typed them, including the revealing references to technology.
At the Well, by Bertha S. Collar
“Creative Waiting” was the underlying theme of columnist Niki Scott’s contribution titled “Waiting periods can be a creative time” in the Lansing (Michigan) State Journal’s December 26, 1988 edition.
With 1989 just beginning and our resolutions having been formulated, Niki Scott’s column may interest most of us.
Ms. Scott mused that if we could use constructively half the time we spend waiting, we would have time to write a novel, clean closets, catch up on a myriad of tasks. She listed times we spend waiting: the phone to ring, people to answer the phone, in traffic, at airports, lunch counters, laundromats, grocery store lines, dentist’s and doctor’s offices, hairdressers, movie lines, etc.
The manner in which people wait was touched upon briefly by the columnist – resigned, irritated, grumbling, shuffling feet, glaring.
I had not realized before reading this 12/26/88 column that my lifelong way of waiting could be termed “Creative Waiting”! She suggested creative ways of waiting: plan ahead, carry the proper tools: a book, a notebook, a pen. She included other tools: a small dictaphone, a car telephone, a tape deck, and the right attitude.
I agree with her wholeheartedly that the most important tool for creative waiting is the RIGHT ATTITUDE. I am seldom caught without a notebook or writing pad, a crossword puzzle book, always a pen, a book to read, a knitting project. depending on where I expect to wait, I’m usually prepared.
It can be very frustrating to have made sure one is on time, to end up having to wait for as long as an hour or two or even longer as has been my experience at times. Whenever I have had an appointment at the dentist’s, fall, winter, spring or summer, there has always been an emergency just before my turn! You, no doubt, could cite similar experiences!