Forever and ever.
The scripture’s haunting words have stuck with me this morning. Like a taunting whisper, they echo throughout my mind.
The house sits empty across the street. The one who loved it most is no more. Mr. John died this past week. A solitary man, he kept to himself. No car. No close family. He was independent, talkative, and kind.
They carried his body out yesterday. The package that sat on the front steps for the whole week should have given it away. The smell of death spilled into the street and I can’t quite shake it. The house his parents called home is all that remains. But the image of mother, father, and son reunited redeems even an empty house and lingering smells.
Forever and ever. Continue reading
The house is quiet now, but once the doors creak open, the rooms will flood with noise. Paws will patter in the path after the youngest’s breakfast remains. The oldest will embrace the beloved, “stay at home day,” with pancake petitions and plans for play. “I’m cold,” on repeat, will lead the youngest to be picked up and enveloped in my arms.
The day will quickly turn into a never-ending line of requests and demands. They will be delightful Saturday ones, but commands nonetheless. I will enter fully into my specific role as “Mommy” within our family system.
Cheek-to-cheek, our faces squeeze together in the dark as I comfort our youngest in the last bedtime ritual of the night. Ever since he was old enough to rough it in his room alone, we have had this moment at day’s end. The room’s darkness only makes all the other senses increase. He relinquishes any control over his body and simply lets me hold him.
At first, as an infant, he could rest solely on my chest, with my arms just as extra support. Now, almost two and a half, his arms wrap around my neck and his legs haphazardly fold around my sides. My arms squeeze him tight as I rub his back in the quiet.
He whispers, “mommy,” softly in my ear.
The wind picks up and papers flutter. That which holds no weight finds itself floating and shifting. Moving from simply a breeze, the winds increase and become a united force. A great gush from the skies funnels down and circulates itself. It begins its work of not just shifting and shaping but dismantling and destroying.
The funnel encircles the known structures and that-which-has-been becomes a pile on the ground. As the wind softens and fades, the brick wall has now returned to its former life as building blocks.
That-which-has-been now is that-which-will-be.
Soft green bundles hang outside our upstairs window with stringy tufts dripping below. Our grand tree in our backyard is coming back to life. It has been a long winter. Its bare branches have survived the winter winds and freezing temps. The tree’s trunk has survived with the melted snow, even if it took weeks to seep into the frozen ground.
It has not yet reached its full maturity of summer leaves that will sway with the summer winds and give shade to the summer play of young ones below.
These soft green bundles speak the promise of its coming. They whisper to me that even if not fully formed, there is already promise of summer. There is already resurrection.
I fill my days rushing around, worshiping the gods of efficiency and productivity. I thrive off of checking the boxes on my to-do list and I plan my day down the hour. I value a clean house and an empty counter.
So when the morning comes with the child hot with fever, my whole day feels ruined and I spend the next hours attempting to work and watch kids, aware that any attempt to juggle kids, my computer, and all the germs spreading is impossible.
Thrashing around, their little bodies twist and turn. Couch cushions lay on a heap in the floor – collateral damage from brothers wrestling. I’m in the thick of it, tickling belies and shielding my face from injury. It is raucous and joy-filled. It is a moment of brothers let loose to be brothers… living this life together that is messy and dangerous and beautiful.
It is love on the edge.
written on January 5, the first morning returning to work in the new year
“In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”
My 2015, I lay before the Creator. A shape-less, useless lump of clay. Wet and slimy, it sticks to my hands and I am overwhelmed. So much is yet to be known – what will be shaped from this day? This month? This year?
Will it be a strong structure that can withstand the wear-and-tear of whatever is to come? Will the structure created be so bound to the temporary that by 2016, it will be relegated to a shelf as a relic to days gone by.
The day has begun with the early summer sunrise. A cry woke me earlier than usual, so I find myself with time to spare. I prepare my mind for the day ahead, but I can’t get past the next hour. My day depends upon what I find in the crib… crusty-eye that daycare nurses will label pink-eye? Or a clearer eye that has already been cured enough by the eye-drops from the previous night to allow us to pass by without detection? Continue reading
Scribbles on a paper, torn and tattered on the edges from the trip home. “It’s a rollercoaster,” he exclaimed as he showed it off when I arrived to pick him up from daycare.
Now it sits on my kitchen table.
It stares me in the face as I prepare for the task of the day: to walk a young man through the valley of the shadow of death. Continue reading