And they lived happily ever after

This year has the dubious distinction of being One Marked By Tragedy. Not that every year isn’t, but this one, for yours truly, has aimed its arrows of heartache with ever-increasing accuracy towards the bullseye in my soul.

 

Three people that I care deeply for (myself excluded) have lost wee loved ones to miscarriage. A childhood friend is going through the worst betrayal I have witnessed…ever…by the very man who vowed to love, cherish, and protect her. Another friend has had to shoulder the entire responsibility of caring for her family after her husband sufferered a devastating injury while on the job, while still another is struggling to help her young son cope with the loss of half his foot due to a lawnmower accident just weeks ago.

 

And then there’s sweet Kate and her precious little one, mentioned below. My heart shudders at the impact and proximity of the wounded falling all around me.

 

I find I am not the prayer warrior that I so desperately want to be, and feel I NEED to be. I become in all ways exhausted in short order praying what I consider to be “effectual, fervent” prayers. How does one truly “lay it down” and yet “keep knocking”? I broke down tonight and just cried…and cried…and cried. This old world just offers far too much horror for my heart to bear.

 

I do not wonder why it is so; I believe in the fall of humanity, I believe in original sin and I know the wages of it. I do not rail against heaven as I might have 20 years ago. I have moved beyond that, you might say. I instead wonder….why any of it? Why, Lord? What did you create any of this for? Yes, Your glory is the pat answer, but it does not satisfy. Your glory? Weren’t You sure of it before You spun the planets into being?

 

Some will coo and say You were lonely. Yeah. Right. I don’t believe in ascribing our shortcomings to the omnipotent, infinite Creator of Worlds. Lonely–with Yourself, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost to keep You company. I don’t think You need us to fill some idle restlessness within.

 

I’ve heard it said that Your vast creativity could not be contained, and thus You created. This I see with my own eyes, every day, all around me. Evidence of Your creativity. So okay. Are we then entertainment? A vast drama that You began that must now play itself out according to Your plot lines? As a (sort of) (wannabe) writer, I know that I “care” about the characters I create, so this resonates with me. Perhaps that’s what it is, only on a far greater and non-fictional level.

 

If so, I’d like very much to do what I do with all the other novels I read. Skip to the end. The happy ending. Right now.

 

Please.

 

A need

I have a dear friend whose precious 20 month old son went through a “routine” surgery and something went terribly wrong. He is barely responsive, throwing up repeatedly, and having trouble peeing. It is all very frightening. Please pray for Kate and Joshua.

I called it! No, I did!

Certain places in my house are magic.

 

I’m serious.

 

Why else would my children fight over that spot on the couch? Or that chair at the table? And the “play” button on the remote control? That thing is definitely some sort of portal to another dimension of untold riches and sparkling fairy dust. I’m sure nothing less would reduce my little ones to near bloodshed in their desperation to be the one to push it.

 

They don’t work for me, though. Verily, though I sit on that chair, or that couch cushion, sadly, it remains firmly locked in normalcy. Ditto the “play” button. No shaft of supernatural light bathes me, no music from beyond tickles my ears, no twittering phoenixes flutter about my head. The movie just…starts.

 

Being a grown-up sure is boring.

 

 

Hope

The other night after it was particularly blowsy, my children discovered a dove nest on the ground under the tree right outside our dining room window. One of the babies was dead, apparently having fallen from the full height, but the other baby coasted down whilst tucked inside its frisbee of sticks and was none the worse for wear. My children and their father jumped into rescue mode. A cardboard box was procured and, with the help of yards of packing tape, was secured to the trunk of the tree. The nest and pin-feathered sprite was transferred therein. And then we waited. And we prayed.

 

I could veer into a lengthy explanation of how I have, in the past, fully believed that I am the harbinger of a curse when it comes to small feathered things. I could tell tales of just how many baby birds I brought home in my pockets and carefully cupped hands, my head full of dreams of hand-raising them and then setting them free once they were strong enough. Every spring, thereafter, naturally, I would be visited anew by them as they would fly about my head with chirps of thankfulness and showers of flower petals.

 

They all died. But we will not veer.

 

Almost 24 hours passed as we anxiously waited for any sign of the parents’ return. For 24 hours we imagined the little dove languishing from thirst and hunger, lonely and cold. We wondered just how long it could survive without intervention. My daughter googled “hand raising doves”. I prayed with my children…but I confess…I had no faith. I had laid eyes upon it. It was doomed.

 

We felt compelled to do all we could, however, so when My Beloved got home we set out on a quest for bird formula. I never knew there was such a thing but lo and behold the pet store had some in stock (when I was a kid we tried mushed-up cat food and actual bugs). Doves eat directly from their parents’ crops, however, so there was the issue of figuring out if we could somehow replicate a “crop” for the wee babe to eat from.

 

Praise God, we never had to.

 

The parents came back. We got the call from my daughter even as we were about to head home. They had heard the unmistakeable whistle of dove wings and glanced up to see the wary couple scoping out the strange new digs in which their child was ensconced. Moments later the family was reunited.

 

Today is a day of rare beauty in Oklahoma. It is breathtakingly clear, with skies a shade of blue that the blistering summer never knew. The temperature hangs near 80. The breeze is gentle and smells like the sigh of God. My garden plants seem to be lifting their heat-weary heads and stretching in the fall-laden air. Outside my window I can hear the contented coos and whistles of the little family.

 

Today would have been a perfect day to give birth. On my calendar there is a small mark to tell me that this is the day I should have been joyously confined to a hospital bed, holding my newest arrival (more than likely I would have been scowling at the date and grousing about being late AGAIN…but I digress). It would have been a splendid day for a birthday–and I cannot help but feel that the little family in the tree outside is a surprise gift from God Himself to say that He also is mindful of the times and seasons that we mark on our calendars and in our hearts. He is not a God of curses.

 

Whether the little mother in the tree remembers the baby that she lost only nights ago is unlikely, my rational mind tells me. Whether she takes joy in the one she has remaining is a matter of debate for those less emotional than I. For myself, I like to believe that we have something in common…and as she sits contentedly with what remains, so shall I.

 

 

winds of change

the baby’s not the baby now
he doesn’t know it yet
he’s got a smaller sibling here
although they haven’t met.

 

for seven months he’ll reign supreme
as captain of the seas
his vessle named “The Littlest”
he’ll navigate with ease.

 

but there’s another coracle
that’s just begun to sail
the flag that billows on its prow
is beautiful but frail.

 

the winds of gentle change are nigh
and blow one to the other
it’s destined for them both to meet
as they will yet discover.

 

and when they hail and come about
to greet as sailors do
the captain then will yield his place
the older to the new.

 

he’ll stand upon a strange new land
that’s known as “Brother Big”
and watch a tiny sailor learn
to steer “The Littlest” rig.

 

and as that day approaches swift
I’ll hug him all the more
until the day his babyhood
sails from that fateful shore.

 

 

 

Fa lalala laaaaaaaa

Christmas is 110 sleeps away, people, and what do you plan to do about it? 110 sleeps!! That’s practically tomorrow! Forget Halloween! Forget Thanksgiving! Go directly to the Hallmark Keepsake Ornament wall and start buying! You never know when they might run out of Tuscan Raiders for your Christmas tree! And where will you be then, I ask you? No Tuscan Raiders? YOU DON’T WANT TUSCAN RAIDERS ON YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE? What in the Whole White World (as my sadly culturally deprived children are wont to say) is wrong with you?

 

You don’t want Tuscan Raiders. Fine (snort). Then what about when they run out of THESE?

 

 

Or THESE?

 

 

Or (be still my heart) THESE?

 

 

Do they not epitomize everything that Christmas Is All About?

 

What do you mean, Baby Jesus? Wise men? Star of Bethlehem? Lambs, candycanes, charles dickens, hot-chocolate, family-togetherness, stockings, secrets, sleigh-rides, carols, surprises, cookies, everygreens, candles, prayers, charity, advent wreaths? Red and Green?

 

Sorry, fresh out. This year’s most fashionable trees will be dressed in, uh…gray. And brown. And black. Nothing like Venom to lend a festive air.

 

Deck the halls with tuscan raiders!
fa lalalala lala la laaaaaaaa!
Don’t forget about Darth Vader!
fa lalalala lala la laaaaaaaa!

Don we now our black and grey!
falala lalala la la la!
Venom’s here to lead the way!
falalalala lala la LA!

 

Pass the eggnog now, please. With extra rum.

 

laboring to have fun

ahhhhh Labor Day. Such hard work.


swinging to the sunrise


crepe myrtle


funny how the moon was bigger in person


argiope and breakfast


peek-a-boo


awww…such a cuddly little….cicada….


waving pampas


not sure about the grasshopper


waiting their turn


fuzzy friend


couple of old farts…oops, I mean, my parents…purveyors of paradise