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It is asked: Wisdom, where is it found?

Wisdom is everywhere, but not easily found. It does not come of its own. It must be sought after.

It comes of living and experiencing. Of opening the eyes and ears to let in the sights and sounds of Man and Nature. Of opening the mind to receive the thoughts and opinions of others.

It is thinking and weighing; rejecting or accepting new ideas; practical and visionary.

It is understanding your feelings and the feelings of others; the giving and taking, from and to life.

It is doing and not doing. It is wanting to know and grasping the knowledge. It is being right and being wrong, and knowing the difference.

It is born of pain and anger, of laughter and tears; of fear and courage. It is born of all that makes up humanity.

Wisdom, a prize beyond measure, where is it found? Anywhere and everywhere, but mostly within oneself.

Seek it, and ye shall find it.

When reading my horoscope, I often wonder if I’m matching my current experience to that of the horoscope, like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Or is the horoscope a premonition of what’s to come. My grandmother’s invocations are often like premonitions, weather vanes pointing me in a certain direction.

I suddenly get an urge to post an innovation. I pull out the stack of innovations she typed on her manual typewriter, on half sheets of papers. It amazing how many times the topic addresses an issued I’ve struggling with in my life. Presently, I’m fixated on many issues, which seem overwhelming, in spite of their triviality in the grand scheme of my life.

Yes, Rich got laid off from IBM, but it doesn’t mean he won’t get another job; perhaps a job he likes better, with rewarding challenges, inspiring co-workers, and good pay.

We found our “dream house” in Coupeville, made an offer, and it closed within six days of Rich losing his job. If we’d waited to look for a house, it’s highly likely we would have qualified for a loan with Rich being out of work. Even more miraculous, within a day of listing the house for lease – because we’re not ready to move – we received three offers!

Our Kirkland house is rapidly increasing in value so we’re going to be finishing the remodeling of the master bathroom, and downstairs laundry and family rooms so it’ll be ready to place on the market in two years. And my work as a contract writer and creative project manager is satisfying. The only problem is it’s the slow period for Microsoft, and I may not have any work for a few weeks until everyone returns from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), and starts to renew contracts and solidify projects for the fiscal year.

The one issue that I can’t overcome, however, is my relationship with my mother, who lives in our Mount Vernon house. She’s reached the point where her mobility consists of moving less than 50 feet a day because arthritis has destroyed the cartilage in one of her hips joint. When she walks, you can hear the bones grind against each other. Years ago, fear prevented her from going to the doctor, to get therapy and possibly a hip replacement. In her frail condition, she’s now a poor candidate for surgery. She doesn’t want to take pain killers because irrationally feels if she needs one pill today, she’ll need two tomorrow. Instead, she lays on her bed all day, “cooking her hip” with a heating pad.

Adding to this ailment is advanced dementia, which could be the results of mini strokes, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson Disease (her mother had the latter), or her attempts to starve herself to death, and thereby malnourish her brain. Whatever the disorder, she struggles to dress or feed herself, let alone more challenging tasks like reading a book, writing a letter, cooking or cleaning. Most days, she reads the same newspaper over-and-over again, stares out the window or at the ceiling, laments her situation, conjures thoughts of everyone who’s wronged her, and waits for a Visiting Angel to arrive and care for her.

Her obstinacy prevents her from turning on the television before 10 o’clock at night (she never watched much TV), and the only person she calls is Rich to report something that’s gone wrong.

Returning to my grandmother’s invocation on wisdom.

While my mother had a super high IQ, her mind never grew. She rejected the opinions and beliefs of others, clutching to her views and perceptions as if they were precious gold. Widowed when she was forty, she proclaimed herself “free” and “independently wealthy,” eschewing work, and volunteering for a range of organizations, many of which asked that she not return because of her attitude and propensity to clash with organizers and other volunteers.

In the end, she became a recluse, staying home instead of getting involved with the activities at the senior center just a mile down the road. The few friends she had dissipated, no doubt realizing the relationship was one-sided with her rarely calling or writing. The people who did stop by were neighbors or were paid to clean her house, make meals, and manage her care.

The wisdom my grandmother professed of “giving and taking, from and to life,” wasn’t part of my mother’s DNA. She gave little and expected much more in return. She complained about having to deal with her in-laws the last year of their lives. Yet, didn’t visit her parents the last years of their lives, attend their funerals, or help dispose of their assets after their deaths, even though it was a short flight from Portland, Oregon to Burbank, California.

Years ago, I wish I had the courage to say “enough” and let her stumble through life. I suppose I never said “enough” because I’d like to think I know “right from wrong,” and wrong would be to take the easy route of walking away from someone who doesn’t have the initiative, determination, and most of all the wisdom, to conduct their life without the constant assistance and intervention of another.