Sunday, March 26, 2006

Yawns and Bursts of Laughter

"Which one did my wife make?" I read this today. It was a caption to a photo of Dad in a church supper line. He always wanted to find what his wife brought--he knew that would be good, safe food.

I am missing Dad a lot this Spring, and as Easter approaches...his first resurrection Sunday in Glory. Hubert van Zetter in Moments of Light, wrote this about missing someone. It is quoted in Jan Karon's A Continual Feast:

"It is not that we feel cut off from the bigger spiritual relationship which survives death, but from the hundred and one lesser links which bind people together, incidental things which when looked back on seem of enduring significance, but which were taken so much for granted at the time. The other person's sense of humor, prejudices, moods, all that has gone. For the rest of our lives we will have to do without his mannerisms, his shyness, his ways of pronouncing things. The voice is silent--we had expected it would be--but that the yawns and bursts of laughter will never be repeated is almost more than we can bear...Those moments were not passing moments at all. They had something in them of eternity...."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Spring Mow

I love cutting the grass this time of year. Its lush green color and rich scent spill into my psyche. The tidy definitive rows do something for my love of orderliness and sense of accomplishment. And when I mow I wish I could be a child in our yard. My mower turns a corner under trees that would make wonderful tea party places or passes over expanses of lawn begging for blankets spread out for doll playing. There's a few potential climbing trees and tall bushes for hide and seek. Mowing affords time for my mind to deliciously wander back to childhood and visions of delight in simple things. An hour later muscles may ache, but my mind is refreshed like I've been on a short holiday.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Great Rebellion

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, maybe not stormy, but a blustery wind had kicked up. The air was crisp and cold as we crept through the brush. Ahead of us loomed our destination. Tall and gleaming in moonlight filtering through clouds--the water tower! The first step was not easily accessible; it was our shoulder height. We struggled as the more agile assisted the clumsier to swing up to the ladder. My hands clung to the cold metal as I secured my footing and began to climb.

We giggled, chortled, whispered commentaries--a group of young men and women during Freshman Week. We were experiencing the thrill of new independence that early college life brings. The Water Tower was strictly off limits.

We embraced the event and talked about it for days after, glad to have made a memory. It was my first (well, sort of) big rebellion.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Tulips on the Garden Path

As the daffodils fade and azaleas bloom overnight, I frequently remember how much my father and I enjoyed spring a year ago. I'd push Daddy in his wheelchair around garden paths, from tulips to flowering shrubs, until I wearied and we'd settle on the rocking chair porch for a view of the lake. Again and again (at least once a minute) he would point with joy in his eyes and exclaim over flowers, swimming swans, or anything else of beauty around him. What pleasure he experienced each and every time!

Midst a life stage where Dad maybe felt disappointment at how little he could do for himself (but how do we know for sure what he felt?) he experienced a richness of pleasure with his intact senses. And with that he enabled us to experience joy again each time with him, as we would look and exclaim again and again! A gift of grace--so much pleasure at such a difficult time of life! Blessings come wrapped in unusual packages!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Around and around and around

It is a bright and sunny Sunday. Spring is popping out everywhere you look with the accompanying allergies. I left the house earlier than my husband this morning to go and bring my newly widowed mother to church. Usually that is followed by a leisurely meal together. But as I drive off every Sunday towards her house, I see a spinning wheel. Life comes at you fast, and in circles, around and around and around. For it seems like just yesterday that my mother was leaving the house early on a Sunday to pick up her mother, newly widowed, to bring to our church and home for dinner. Blink and 30 years have flown by. Everything is cyclical, isn't it--bills, seasons, growling stomachs, final all comes again and again, as do generational patterns! I guess we are old enough to take all that in now, as we see our parents' generation gracefully slipping into old age and death. Our kids are now the ones exploring and enjoying independence as young adults that it seems we were doing just a short while ago. What will it be like 30 years forward from now?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Unanswered Questions

My father called me Podso. I never knew why. When I was a child I had this idea it was an Indian (aka Native American) name. I don't remember ever wondering enough to ask him where the name came from, but I remember rather liking the idea that Podso was his special name just for me. He rarely called me that as an adult, and now the "why Podso" is included in a growing list of "I wish I had asked Daddy that...."

I guess as children we don't wonder about those kind of things like we do when we become older adults. The excitement of growing up, buying a home, having a career, raising kids suddenly slows down as you settle in life. Then time to think arrives and you wonder.....

My father very gradually lost his short term memory. His long term memory stayed pretty sharp, but his ability to speak full sentences gradually diminished, so that eventually we had guessing games when we asked him questions. His main reply towards the end of his life was a gaze intently into our eyes, telling us he had the answer, and most likely wishing so much he could share it. "Search deeply in my eyes and you'll get the answer."

The questions we ask unlock more about who we are. Or the why of who we are. As we grow older, albeit content to be who we've turned out to be, we still like to put puzzle pieces together.
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