Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: life as we know it (page 1 of 4)

Where’s Terri?

Terri saved me more than once already. We’ve been in our new/old town for just over a month, but the number of times I’ve left her office full of gratitude is greater than the number of times I’ve went to Walmart. (I think both Terri and I can all consider this an all-around success.)

The most recent occasion for my visit to Terri’s corner office was my upcoming mortgage payment. These new houses – well, they need paid for. Which required me knowing the amount of my monthly payment, along with finding a way to get money into and out of the checking account that would pay it. And if we could make all this happen in a way that repeated itself without so much effort, double word score. So I slumped into Terri’s office to admit I had indeed lost the passwords to make my online banking come alive AND I couldn’t find the payment books the bank had just sent. (Banking is hard. And so is moving.)

And then, she fixed it. Zim, zam, zoom, everything worked. I signed my name. She picked up the phone. Magically, all things banking-related worked again. How do real people do this? I wondered aloud.

How do real adults keep passwords and mortgages and school registrations and apply to see new doctors and salvage hearing aids left in the rain and read aloud to their children and potty train? And some of them – they even WORK. ALL YEAR ‘ROUND. How do they do this and not loose their ever-loving minds? 

It turns out that not just banking is hard. Or moving. Adulting, my friends, is terrible. Terrible! I’m not sure why this is a thing. Who decided we all needed to “become responsible” and “take care of ourselves” and “become productive members of society”? I’d like to talk to that person. I’d like to hire them to keep my calendar straight. And also, potty train the baby. This is going terribly as well.

Sometimes I look around and try to find the Terri’s of the rest of my life. Who around here is going to make this easier for me? People like Terri have spoiled me. Now I’m put off by people who aren’t trying to make my life easier. Like the woman at our former doctor’s office who wouldn’t let me email a form to the office but instead insisted I mail the hard copy with a stamp. (Add “buying stamps” to the list of hard things adults do. This task derails me every time.) And don’t tell me the office “doesn’t use email.” They do all their doctoring on ipads and laptops.

And where is The Terri at the school? If I suddenly go missing – after checking the laundry room – it would be best to look under the pile of 37 pink and green forms that the school requires. Per child. I could be buried alive. One person was so kind to point out that this is going to be my August activity for the next 14 years of my life. Times four. Can we please get a Terri in this office who will make things work electronically, so that all 62 people who need my cell phone number “in case of emergency” can simply pull it off the database?

I need a Terri everywhere. Someone who makes the day work just an eensy bit better. People who love their job, no matter what it is, enough – or so much – that it makes life better for others: these are my people. Like last week: I drove through Starbucks. The barista cheered for me when I made my selection. This. This needs to happen more. Cheers and helpfulness. Not forms and stamps.

Go, my friends. Be a Terri. Make some magic happen for someone. Make life a little better. Cheer, help and encourage.

(And just so you know that I practice what I preach, I just woke up my husband so HE could go be an adult. I didn’t even wake him with loud noises or a smack on the leg. We can do this, friends! We can be helpful to one another! And kind! It’s not as hard as we might think!)

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What I loved about Inside Out

Rainy days are meant for this: popcorn & Pixar. With the rave reviews and promises of tears, we loaded up the van for Inside Out. I did not leave disappointed. Here’s what I loved:

1. Joy works hard. That scene where she’s stuck in forgotten memories? Oh, goodness. She’s a scrappy gal and simply won’t give up. She’s got too much love for her girl. I want that kind of Joy in my life, the unrelenting, won’t-let-go, get-it-done kind of Joy. Joy that digs deep, flies high and thinks creatively.

2. Sadness is needed. Sorry for the spoiler, but it turns out that with change, sometimes sadness is what keeps the memories alive. And when sadness begins to touch everything? Those are the parts where the blood still runs warm and the feelings are felt. Don’t fear sadness; fear numbness.

3. Anger is a tool. Hands down, the kids’ favorite part involved Anger burning a hole in the glass. Obviously Anger couldn’t get done what Joy could, but sometimes Anger lets in the other feelings. Perhaps not the best driver, but necessary companion.

4. The train of thought derails. Genius! Oh, you writers: you need to win all of the awards! Especially when those feelings of anger, fear and disgust take control, the Train of Thought stops functioning. What an incredible lesson for me as a parent, when often both myself and my kids begin acting in ways that simply don’t make sense. These emotions can’t handle the Train of Thought.

5. The real life implications. No one told me, when they mentioned how great the movie was or how I would cry, that it would be a direct parallel to my current life situation. The inciting incident of the plotline? The family moves. Seriously, friends. A warning would’ve been nice. Although my much-younger children aren’t likely to encounter the exact changes of Riley, emotions get shaken up. I walked away reminding myself to check in, to let sadness sometimes be the connection to Family Island, but most of all, never assume that a smile means Joy knows what she’s doing.

Thank you, Pixar, for yet another fabulous hour and a half of my life.

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Final Resting Place

**This piece has been resting in my drafts for over 7 months and I’m just now able to share it. I promise I don’t think about death all the time. 

After my grandfather died, our family tended to the traditional details surrounding death, one of them being a resting place. A grave. The four brothers, along with 3 wives and a significant other, ventured to Hale cemetery .

Aunt Judy, whose first husband had died many years ago, already had a place. Uncle Charlie found his site near hers, and it was decided the whole gaggle of Wingfields would buy their final real estate in that area. Each person wondered about, some showing preference to high ground or resistance to becoming a future walkway. Each couple found a future home, some “across the street” from the other, with Grandma and Grandpa’s presence as the center of them all – if not physically, than in spirit.

It seems like a mundane, even morbid, task to consider where you want your bones to dissolve. Yet intrinsic in our souls, we consider it.

The patriarch Joseph lived in full awareness of it. Raised in his father’s land but sold into slavery as a young man, he spent most of his years in Egypt as a foreigner, robbed of the connection to his people. He lived by foreign customs, likely even took an Egyptian name as he served the house of the Pharaoh.

Joseph’s wish, one he made his brothers and their children swear to, was to join the family tomb. After he died, he remained embalmed in a coffin until Moses led the nation out of  slavery and someone remembered the oath and thought to take Joseph’s bones along for the ride. Eventually he came to rest in a tomb in the land of his father.

Why take such interest in where dead bones lie? Why would the Bible even mention this in the story of the Exodus?

One writer mentions the burial as a final act of maintaining contact with the community, even after death. Our final presence with our loved ones gives some sort of guarantee that we won’t be forgotten, that we will be included and remembered as the local history builds in years.

To be honest, I’ve given thought to this question. While living at a distance from my roots, I’ve wondered where my body would return to the earth. On the one hand, it makes sense to remain close to the community in which you live – where you raise your children, build your friendships, and share your life’s work. Yet something pulls me homeward. How could we consider anything other than finding a spot near JJ’s sister, who already rests? Why would we not be a short drive from other family markers of lives remembered?

Something in my spirit says that in choosing a site in our current county we would be removed from the larger family narrative that comes with joining together in burial.

Which begs the question: If I want to be buried there, why would I not live there? I want to be included in our family’s place on this earth. Shouldn’t I be a part of the living and not just the dying? The life, not only the death?

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)


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