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MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY: A Novel ~Fredrick Backman

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY is one of the most delightful reads I have enjoyed in 2017.  I can highly recommend this book and I want to tell you it was just what a needed to read and I will read it again I am sure of it.  I had a sense of contentment when I finished reading and I found several good chuckles along the way.  The book was a present from one of my daughters who knew I had read Backman’s book A MAN CALLED OVE and enjoyed that one too.  MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY was even better and perfectly timed.

Elsa is seven and about to turn eight.  She has been cared for by her super powered, “different” Granny all of her life and her mother has been working to support them.  They live in a large house, which is a series of “flats” that Granny calls ‘the castle’.  Granny and Elsa have lovely adventures and sometimes a bit crazy adventures along the way.  The book starts with one adventure that did go a bit wrong and Granny was in trouble for her actions.  Elsa needed to wait patiently while the adults figured it all out.  Elsa thinks about people’s actions and interprets them, as only a seven year old about to turn eight is able.  She is often “spot on” in her analysis even if she is “different”; she can figure out people.  Granny has guided her world though the telling of fairy tales about a new land with seven segments and dragons, warriors, and cloud animals.  Granny teaches Elsa that everyone has a super power and she just has to find it. The duo develops their own special language – maybe.

“You can’t kill a nightmare, but you can scare it.  And there’s nothing so feared by nightmares as milk and cookies.” (page 209)

Granny gives Elsa a big task to undertake and Elsa is determined to comply with Granny’s wishes.  She takes on the role of warrior to complete the mission that involves discovering and delivering envelopes to a number of different people.  Elsa must not be afraid and helpers begin to be discovered to assist her on the mission.

“I’m going down to pick up the spare chairs in the cellar storage,” he says and tries to smile at her like stepdads do on days when they have an extra-strong sense of being sidelined.” (page 209)

Everyone is different and nobody needs to be normal in The Land-Of-Almost-Awake and I loved that idea.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if everywhere was like that?

One is reading about life and death, the importance of serving others and loving the self.  It is a story about the heart beating with a comic accuracy that is just a joy.

I wrote down nearly 40 phrases that I just loved and thought contained a wisdom that would make a difference in my life.

I did have one small item of contention – very minor.  On the cover of my book is a little girl with a black lab and I believe the dog in the story was a Great Pyrenees, Lionberger, or Newfoundland each much hairier than a lab – just saying!

FREDRICK BACKMAN is also the New York Times bestselling author of A MAN CALLED OVE and BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE, both of which were #1 bestsellers in his native Sweden and are being published around the world.  He lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children.

Fredrick Backman Twitter
Fredrick Backman WEB
Fredrick Backman Wikipedia

Related:
The Moon Sisters
By The Wayside
All The News I Need

Leaving with Rake

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Walking the Dogs in the Rain

Our walk was started with awareness because the clouds were graying dark and the wind sharp touched us as it whirled the leaves in dance. We walked with great speed knowing that soon the rain would fall and we could easily be soaked.

Already during the night, the winds had cleared numerous branches and deposited in every gutter and drain. I scraped my hands and the sides of my shoes digging deep into each drain to remove the piles of leaves. My friend John was heading towards his car for work and saw my endeavors, questioned my motives, and went in to his shed for his own rake.  In minutes, his drain and gutters were cleared.  Thank you.

The house that is not rented is covered in red leaves and I bend and swoop my arms with big loads and deposit the bundles up higher in the yard and in the garden beds.  Puppy tries to help and I remain ever watchful of the cars and buses going by; they seemed to take no notice of us. My head grumbles about the property owner’s neglect.

We head home and I sweep the plum leaves from our driveway and add them to the compost pile knowing that I must gather my gear and head off to the worst offender at 8th and Decatur. Rake, bucket, scoop, and gloves and I proceed to clean up and let the water flow. I am feeling self-righteous. I am feeling angry. I want to come up with a whole list of words to encompass my feelings about the people who live beneath these nine huge maple trees. I want to bring these words to a boil and let them churn about within me as motivation to clean up and free up the drains and gutters.

The lady of the house comes out and says, “what are you doing?” I explain that all the leaves are blocking the flow of the rainwater which will in just minutes run into my house, make the sump pumps run, and filled the city drains to overflowing. Whereas, if I rake up all the leaves blocking the flow, the water will run in intervals off the street, through the storm grateful and drain system thus bypassing my house. She said, the city workers will be by to do this in about a month. I replied not anymore, for three years leaf cleanup has been taken off the city budget. I could call for an extra trip but I would have to pay lots of money to have them come. I do not wish to use my money that way.

It has started to rain and I go back to work moving the leaves.  It is totally out of her awareness that these trees and leaves are her responsibility.

Kindness begins to saturate my heart and my mind is feeling the repercussions of this flow within me. I am raking and moving the leaves because I am selfish. I do not want a river of water rushing into my home. I do not want all these leaves blocking the drains and making my sump pump$ run and run. What I want is my home to be safe and dry. What I want is to be able to go away for a week and know that my home is safe and dry. I can achieve this by loving each bundle of leaf and by placing the bundles safely away from the street. Meditation begins.

The passing cars begin to move around me with greater care. The two city bus drivers, who are on this route today, smile and wave each of their 20 minute excursions of passing. A walker says, “Aren’t the leaves beautiful?” I hear her but I do not respond for my mind is full of the beauty of these leaves. My body is telling me it is tired and the rain is feeling heavier; I look around and see that the job is generally done. I stretch up and see the many leaves still hanging on and know I will need to return.

It has taken me nearly 20 years to achieve this level of kindness in my practice.  I am full of Thanksgiving for this opportunity and for the grace of this day.

Have you been practicing something for 20 years? Has it become a practice of loving-kindness? Does it change your heart and mind?

Please share it with us.
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Spectacular Gift coming to this blog on 11-24-2011 just need to make a comment – Have we got a surprise gift for you dear readers!

Related Reading:
Being Alive- Another Teacher Arrives
A New Ebook and It’s Free
Willpower
Trees Coming Down