Gran's Apple Butter Blog

September 14, 2010

2/VIII City Limits

Filed under: Books,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Life Journeys — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 8:47 am

Chapter 2 – City Limits
Excerpt from Going Home, by Mary Batson

As for how we play our life roles, Gran often talked about the importance of being Fully Awake At All Times. When I tested that idea in my kindergarten class, I found out pretty quickly she wasn’t talking about naps. Actually, Gran was a big fan of napping. Power naps were her specialty.

Later I learned Gran meant living consciously, because otherwise we can go through our whole lives almost sleep-walking. All the multi-tasking-doing we’ve become so great at is part of the problem. Sure, we’re doing lots of things, but none with full attention, which means we aren’t giving anything Our All. When it came to all this juggling, Gran’s visitors were often disconcerted to hear that her suggestion was to STOP. She said cut to the chase and keep it simple. Figure out your top five priorities then drop the rest of those balls, all of ‘em at the same time if need be, so you can hone in on one thing at a time, a skill Gran said was long forgotten.

Good riddance, some say, although Gran said if we turn our backs on this simplicity, we’ll never see that that’s exactly where we’ll find the keys to all our missing parts. But if we walk this way and quit trying to be circus clowns, like Gran had finally figured out for herself, things will get a lot easier. Like Rumi said, a fish on a camel ride is bound to get pretty thirsty.

Even though she knew it was at least a temporary part of each person’s path, Gran said it was just a shame, how we get so caught up focusing on the day-to-day dramas of life so much that we overlook the Things That Really Matter. All too often we do just like Gran said she had done, as we let these things begin to shape our lives and our decisions, reacting left and right, always on the move but never quite sure of our goal because we’re so busy watching stop signs and green lights that we don’t stop to wonder if we’re in the right city. Sometimes we get so invested in a particular city that we can’t bring ourselves to look outside it, to visit the countryside, perhaps tour the nation.

Sometimes, Gran said, we may not even realize that we ARE living in a particular city. We grow so used to doing the same things, day in and day out, looking at things the same way, going to the same diners, the same stores, the same schools, that we forget we’re part of something much bigger. We forget there is anything besides this city, and we forget that not everyone lives this way, thinks this way, eats there, buys that.

If we’re not careful, somewhere along the line we can start thinking that this is how things are supposed to be, instead of remembering that this is just The Way Things Are Inside This City’s Limits.

If we’re lucky, Gran said one day we’ll drive past a strange street and see something weird by the road. If we stop to examine it, we’ll find it’s a sign that says CITY LIMITS – and that may be the first clue we have that there is something else out there.

Besides naps and road signs, Gran would also talk about things like compassion for ourselves and for others, which she said was the highest form of love – and none of that mushy stuff, either. Just like charity, compassion begins at home: First and foremost, inside ourselves. We can’t do anything for anyone we haven’t first done for ourselves, she said, whether that means love or trust or hope or even a good banana split.

Banana splits, of course, ranking right up there with apple butter.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
Download Chapter 1 or order your copy at!



  1. Mary, you are the bomb! Keep up the great work! Love you guys!

    Comment by Stuart Mozer — September 14, 2010 @ 2:20 pm | Reply

  2. I am so glad that you are doing this. Its so interesting. Keep up the great wisdom that comes from Gram.

    Comment by Edith Bailey — September 16, 2010 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

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