a blog by Margaret Bendet

On Friendship

Lately, I’ve been thinking about friendship—the loving connections between friends. In recent years, I’ve become quite a loner, but only in an incidental sort of way. I enjoy alone time—and probably need to have it—but it is contact with other people that gives my life its savor. I live alone, but I need to have a real conversation with at least one person every day. …

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Older Than Dirt

I am sliding into my eightieth year. No, I’m not going to be eighty soon. I’ll be seventy-nine, which is—as I’m saying—the beginning of the eightieth year of my life. I still feel unaccountably young, and one way I manage that is to have some older friends. When asked her age, my friend Marilee Peterson usually glares and says, “I am older than dirt!” One …

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Homing In

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what it means to create a home for myself. This is something I have done, on my own and from scratch, ten times in my adult life. I’m not talking about simply moving, as I did from California to Oklahoma at age ten with my parents and younger brother. This did present difficulties, but creating a home was my mother’s …

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Now, You’re Mine

Certain memories are like touchstones. I come back to them again and again, in the same way I once would run my fingers over a lucky stone I used to keep in my pocket. This particular memory is a reminder that I am blessed. It was a statement I heard, but heard in my own mind, from a deceased holy man I had never met …

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A Matter of Choice

I said recently that I hadn’t had a choice about spending time in an ashram. It was a surprising thing to say, but it was accurate. Of course, you always do have a choice, but there are times when one option is so obviously what you need that you know it would be irresponsible to choose anything else. Why was this so? I had been …

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The Next Step

A woman in a writing group I’m in recently read a letter she wrote to a friend who had ended her own life—not a suicide, you understand, but a conscious and self-generated ending to avoid putting her family through days or even weeks of watching her in excruciating pain. This woman had a peaceful passing, a dignified death. “It was perfect,” one of the women …

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Spaces and Flow

On an impulse, I asked a friend who had stopped by for chai one morning what she would change in my living room if she could. Eva hesitated—as any intelligent person would do in that situation. “I really mean it,” I told her. “I may not do what you suggest, but I would love to know what you’d tell me.” “Well, as a matter of …

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A Moment’s Inattention

It’s been said that we’re most likely to be in an auto accident when we’re close to home. We’re less attentive. One day recently, I’d just gotten back to Whidbey after a medical appointment on what some people call “the other side.” I was listening to an audio book as I maneuvered my car through Langley’s block-long business district to pick up my mail before …

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Another Re-Entry

When I take a vacation, the big question is how it will change me once I’m back home again. Some might find that an odd measure to take. Yet I feel it’s implied in the word itself. Vacation—to “vacate” one’s workaday world, to be free from duty, to take a respite from work. It traces back to vacare, “to be empty,” “to be free.” And …

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Words have immense power. They paint mental pictures and weave meanings. They convey information and make promises. They also stake territory and set forth identity. This last I’ve been thinking about a great deal in the few weeks I have been working with a group of twelve- to fourteen-year-olds. It’s my first foray in a long time into communication with another generation. I just recently …

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