A Spring Walk

The sunlight hit the leaves in such a way that the tops of the lush dark green leaves turned white and my heart skipped a beat because for a moment I saw dogwoods in bloom, though it is far too early, and the wind was brisk and cold. In that moment I knew that Spring had arrived and beneath the ground bulbs where shooting forth toward the sky, and soon would push aside their dark loamy blanket and the little faces of crocuses and jonquils would turn toward the sky. Wild garlic was everywhere, skinny silvery green stalks high above the slowly waking grass, all of them ignoring the bitter cold of the early spring day.

Two large birds called to each other, one high in a leafless tree, the other flying above the river toward his mate. She screamed a warning when she noticed me with my camera, and that alerted me to her presence there. Seagulls flew overhead before landing far out in mid-river to join dozens of his fellows. A couple of ducks flew overhead and landed among the pilons by the expensive condominiums on the other side of the bridge, too far for me to identify them. I clambored along the bank, amid the detritis of the river left behind at flood stage, large branches, great timbers carried there creating an obstacle course, but I was on a mission. My mission? To see waterfowl, particularly ducks and geese other than mallards and Canadian geese. Everyone else has been seeing them, it’s been allover the listserve and boards. As for me? I saw a few Canadian geese fly overhead, the ducks I couldn’t identify and a pair of osprey, and numerous seagulls, but not close enough to id species.

Still, it was lovely and I felt alive!


Hard Days

These have been really hard days lately. Not only was Steve attacked and required surgery and months off work, but my fibro has been in flare since September or October, with a few days of occasional relief in there somewhere. My sitter is broken, and trust me, you don’t want your sitter broken when you have a sit-down job.

We have had my brother-in-law with us since before Thanksgiving. He is not a well man. He has had four surgeries since he moved in. Two of them are amputations. This has been hard on him, but it has been incredibly difficult for me as well. I feel like I am choking on the very idea of the doctors cutting off parts of his body like so much junk.

I feel I need a burial ceremony or something to commemorate the occasion and to honor those legs which have carried him for 55 years. I am struggling with intense feelings of horror, not toward anyone, but toward the situation.

There is something so intensely wrong about this. I know in my head that this is what needs to happen to save his life, but in my heart and in my gut, it feels like an overwhelming wrong. The horror of it is pushing my stomach up my throat to disgorge it’s contents. It is sitting on my chest daring me to move or to breathe.

This is a death. Where is the funeral? Where is the internment? Where do we go to say goodbye to his legs?

I don’t know if I should even be thinking this way, but I keep thinking, They brought Joseph’s bones out of Egypt. They brought his bones out of Egypt. It was important for the Israelites to do that.

O My Soul

An email subject line reads: “Inside a Young Couple’s Effortlessly Elegant Home!” (Exclamation points may be mine.) I can almost hear the chipper voice of a female TV announcer, shining blond locks artfully arranged to appear as if she wakes up looking like this. Effortless! Elegant! Young! Blech, blech, blech.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good home design/home decorating piece and I believe a warm and inviting home is a place of rest and respite for your family, of encouragement and peace and service to friends and neighbors, and is a good goal. But right now? I want a heart that is decorated well, a place of peace and respite for weary souls. I need a heart that is encouraged by and encourages others. I need peace and respite, and for my heart to be decorated not with material possessions and the latest designs in home lighting, but with the light and beauty of Christ and with love and reverence for his church and her people.

I want my heart to be filled with Scripture, with the lives of the Saints, that the decor would be life-giving.

There is nothing wrong with burlap wrapped framed mirrors, or with rescuing old furniture and transforming it with love, paint and ingenuity, nothing wrong with glistening tables and bold, beautiful lighting, but I need to be wrapped in the arms of love, I am that old thing in need of rescue and transformation. A little bit of paint and glaze ain’t gonna do it, my friends. The bold and beautiful needs to be my soul, the glistening should be my face shining with love for those around me.

I need a Holy Spirit cleansing, a new life breathed into these old walls, that my heart would thrum with the song, Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God you are great indeed! Holy God! Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on me according to thy great mercies.

Big stuff going on this week.  Big and heavy and frightening, but God… Well, that’s it, isn’t it?  But God.  I can say anything else, preface with any story, any heaviness, any sorrow, but at the end, when I get to the part that goes, “but God…” I have turned the corner.  I have walked from fear to peace, from sorrow to joy, from darkness to light.  Oh gleam in my heart, O God.  Light all the dark corners, and wipe away all the tears.  Paint your love on my heart, O God, that I may be a testimony to your goodness and faithfulness all the days of my life.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.  Forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquities and heals all your diseases.”