What if Today…Two Roads Converged?

“… and that made all the difference?”

” Uh, oh,” my mom said as she noticed the tears in my voice . I knew she’d understand because she knows my soul. She’s like that. She “gets” people. I’d been upstairs by myself watching one of my favorite tv shows, unwinding after a long day. I was only a few minutes into watching it when a rush of forgotten feelings woke me up. “That’s who you are and that’s who you aren’t being,” I heard myself say.

“I can’t get back, Mom,” I told her. We talked for a bit, me mostly, and I hung up  probably because I was needed. I can’t remember. What I do remember is that Tuesday morning was a challenge. That was the “morning after.” Once I remember who I am and why I’m here, everything I do takes on new meaning.

I held a potato in my left hand and a paint brush in my right hand and couldn’t make sense of the paint. I washed the mouth away three times and called it a day. There was no sense “trying” to create when my mind and heart couldn’t focus. Instead I was trying to remember, again, what I love to do – what makes me lose sense of time and space. I love to paint. But I need depth, if that makes sense to you? I can only stay in fun and fairy tales for so long before I want to connect substance and meaning to what I’m doing.

A half a day later, emotionally drained, I “found” myself   again as I was driving to the Family Search Center for my bi-weekly stint as its director. The radio was on as usual and the song that was playing the night before my dad died decided it was the right moment to make itself useful, while I had nowhere to run and hide, and nothing available to distract myself. “Yeah, Dad. I remember,” I thought as I drove. My hardened heart opened up for a moment to let in refreshing light and love.

And then people started to arrive. My alone time had consisted of 10 minutes, and I suggested that the gathering of friends that had congregated in my office move to the “big” room because, well, it was getting cramped in there and no one was leaving. I set up my laptop and started painting a potato, fielding questions about it and simultaneously helping my friend with her search on Ancestry.com for her great-grandmother. I was painting a mouth again, struggling with the nuances that made it his mouth, straining my eyes on the upper lip of the right side of it.

And that’s when it hit me. I’m in love with those nuances – the tiny, seemingly insignificant details of a person’s face and  life that tell a story. I stared at the half-finished potato face and realized it wasn’t silly to me anymore. It was a person who had a story to tell. I was reading that story on every detail I was trying to recreate as I saw it through my eyes, just like the stories I recreate from data found and researched from documents and photos I find on the Internet or in my personal belongings if they are my ancestors. What I had been led and gifted to do in my life is to want to see and tell a person’s story. That is who I am.


Someday soon it’ll all come together. I know it. I just need to forgive myself for the delays and lack of focus and chalk it up to…I don’t know…life?

I hope you are finding meaning in what you are doing every day. Are you?


4 thoughts on “What if Today…Two Roads Converged?

  1. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

    The free bird leaps
    on the back of the wind
    and floats downstream
    till the current ends
    and dips his wings
    in the orange sun rays
    and dares to claim the sky.

    But a bird that stalks
    down his narrow cage
    can seldom see through
    his bars of rage
    his wings are clipped and
    his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing.

    The caged bird sings
    with fearful trill
    of the things unknown
    but longed for still
    and is tune is heard
    on the distant hillfor the caged bird
    sings of freedom

    The free bird thinks of another breeze
    an the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
    and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
    and he names the sky his own.

    But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
    his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
    his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
    so he opens his throat to sing

    The caged bird sings
    with a fearful trill
    of things unknown
    but longed for still
    and his tune is heard
    on the distant hill
    for the caged bird
    sings of freedom.

    – Maya Angelou

    • I love the implied “hope” of this poem. I can have bouts of wanting to give up, and yet there is something that keeps me going, reminding me of how beautiful life is and how blessed I am with so much. I have friends and family, hopes and dreams, talents and skills. Every once in a while I feel like that caged bird in my mind because I have so MANY things that make me happy. It’s never the circumstances that trap us, is it? It’s always our attitude….and the energy to follow through – something I struggle with a lot!
      Thanks, Stan. That is a beautiful poem to contemplate today!

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