Contemplation

It’s been a full day of contemplation.  Today we celebrated the life of Fred Martin.  He lived a full life, and I say this not because he was 81, but because of the reach of his love.  He was able to touch, influence, and change so many lives while he was here on this earth.  My sister illustrated this beautifully in her Shades of Blue Blog Post.  It was amazing for people to come together to share all their moments they shared with Fred.

I feel out of place when it comes to funerals, wakes, and grieving.  I am always uncertain of propriety, reaction from others as well as myself.  I think that’s a natural part of grief though is the uncertainty.  Funerals also push me to take the time to contemplate life in an existential way.  So after a nap and some chef boyardee raviolis, I sat down to think things through a little.

My roommate (whom I thought spoke no English) was in the kitchen when I began to microwave.  After many moments of silence and smiles I decided to tell her that I was going to try to brush up on my Chinese so that we could talk more.  “All I know is ni hao, but I’ll try to learn more,” I said smiling.

She was quiet and began cutting her mango up on the cutting board.  “Is there a word in Chinese for that?” I asked pointing.  She looked at it and said, “mango.”  After she finished cutting her fruit she turned to me and said “it’s different when you learn English for a career.”  I was shocked.  She spoke so smooth and well.  “I thought you didn’t speak English at all!”  We ended up talking for the next couple hours about our jobs, family, home towns, food, boys, movies, plastic surgery.  It was like re-meeting a person I never knew.

Some where in the middle of our chat she took my hand and turned it towards the light to examine it.  “Hmm.” she furrowed her brows.  “What is it, what do you see?” I asked.  “You will work a lot,” she said.  “Well that makes sense, I have 3 jobs right now,” I replied.  “I have the same thing on my hand, I will work a lot too.  My mother tells me that I will be married twice.  See these two slashes that connect here?” she asked showing me her lines.  I nodded, and asked if you could change the outcome of the predictions.  “Yes, everyday your hand changes a little bit.  If you take a picture today and look at it 10 years later there will be new marks from decisions and changes that have happened in your life.  If you see something you don’t like, you need to make a change now to avoid what is forseen.  My mother says if I don’t want to get divorced and married twice, I need to wait til after 25 to get married, because the first one won’t last.”  She grabbed my hand again and pulled it towards the kitchen light.  “Oh, you will be married just one time, congratulations!  Then she pinched the fleshy part of my hand below my thumb, “You will be rich one day,” she reported.

“How do you know what all these things mean?” I asked.

“Your hand says it all, I know nothing,” she said.

“No, like how do you know what to look for, what each line stands for?”

“If you read old Chinese books, they will tell you,” she said.

After our talk, it made me curious to look at an older persons hands.  To see the lines and decisions that were listed in there palms.  Wrinkles on hands aren’t ugly, they are a lifetime of decisions and events that occurred.  Grandpa Martin’s hands probably had a slash for his marriage to Grandma; a long and steady line for his longevity;  some markings for his creativity in teaching and coaching; and a talent line that matched his vocal prowess.  It’s amazing what stories we are telling, writing and editing throughout life, even if it’s not written on paper.

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Published in: on September 16, 2011 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  

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