Saturday, November 28, 2009

November 27, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,

Last January I co-led a program at Theresians based on The Cup of Our Life by Joyce Rupp. It was a lesson based on the "shadow" of your cup. I learned that we all have shadows within us that are our God-given potentials that are meant to be developed. I explored this idea through reading numerous books on the topic of the shadow, Jung’s psychological theory about the two sides of our personas. Through this process, I began thinking about what hidden sides I had in me that might need to surface in retirement, and the first one to emerge was my musical self.

I returned to the choir at First Presbyterian Church just in time to be invited to Mo Ranch last summer. I had attended the Worship and Music Conference three years ago, but this time was different. My shadow was ready to emerge. I planned and executed singing "Over the Rainbow" at the talent show in June. I sang it through twice, once sweetly and once very jazzy. I didn’t falter, and the pianist who accompanied me was excellent in following my lead. I felt like a performer that night and wondered what door God would open next.

In August I attended a workshop on Language and the Pursuit of Happiness, and the young man who sat next to me started talking about trying out for the beast in "Beauty and the Beast," an ACTS Theatre production that was about to start. He told me that I’d be a perfect Mrs. Potts, and, although I didn’t get that part, I got up the courage to sing "Over the Rainbow" a capella for the audition, and I committed to almost three months of rehearsals and 11 performances that ended on November 15th. I was a hat seller and a "plate"--singing and dancing and acting on a stage at age 58. My musical shadow had definitely emerged.

If you know the music of that show, there’s a song about being "human again." There’s a line that says, "I’ll be cookin’ again, be good lookin’ again…" Somehow through the experience of being in this play, I feel these things happening, too. More shadow is coming out. Not only am I singing again but I’m cooking again, and my hair kept getting shorter throughout the three months of commitment. I feel "good lookin’ again. I feel like I’ve gotten over some hurdle and I’m fully human again. Vitality has returned to my days. My rental business is going well. It’s a ministry, and I feel God’s presence in all that I do. I’m also reading literature again. I especially love short stories, and recently I tackled Dostoevsky’s The Idiot.

My house has been changing in the last three months. I’ve added plants, stained glass, and new light fixtures. Yesterday I cooked a meal that Julia Child would have been proud of. I outdid myself with Gerwurtztraminer Chicken with Grapes and four other complex dishes from the Fine Cooking magazine. Jigsawing it altogether reminded me of my cooking in Cairo 25 years ago. I don’t think I’ve cooked like this since then. It feels good. I feel good, and I’m wondering what other shadows will emerge in the new year. I heard about an International cooking class at Sowela Tech this coming spring, and I plan to be there. My family has planned a destination holiday this year to Fredricksburg, Texas. We leave December 27th. This is my life story in progress… I’ll let you know next year what comes next. Please let me know how you’re doing, too. Many blessings in the coming year…

Love and peace from Linda Gardner

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