Monday, July 25, 2011

The Rain

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Again I say rejoice!
The sudden coolness of earth and sky
Heavens gates finally open wide

I open all my windows
Soft breezes blow
The scent of dampness comes right in
Skies flood, pouring down with rain
I hear shh, shhh, shhh all afternoon

Raindrops frolick everywhere
pouring, dancing, rejoicing, refreshing
I marvel at their beauty
Silver beads from heaven
Hydrogen and oxygen combined
Rained down in celebration
A gift freely and abundantly given

Why, oh why?
Then I listened
Birds sang and car tires played
tweet, tweet, swish, swish
Burnt grass and cracked dirt swallowed
Gulp, gulp, gulp
Shrubbery and flowers perked up with a smile
Bing, bing, bing
Creeks outside rustled and streamed
Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh
Everything breathed a sigh of relief
The balls of refreshment only giggled
Hee, hee, hee

I peered closer at the drops on my window
Then I realized they live to die
Sent freely from heaven above
Everything, everywhere sucks them up
Slurp, slurp, slurp
They cry aloud
"We cleanse, we decorate, we nourish all life!"

Earth abounds while they dissolve
Their remnants only vaporize
Back to the heavens
Saved for another day
A day when we'll cry,
"Rain! Rain! Come back and play!"

Rain invites and appeals
Join us! Join us!
Refresh and rejoice!"
I wonder- How? What can I do?
How does anyone refresh and rejoice?
Live and yet die to come back again?
I wonder and ponder
Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm

Amazing and precious
The life all Earth needs
For pleasure and purpose
Rain falling, falling down on me
drip, drip, drip

Friday, July 15, 2011

What She Lives...

Four year old Chris leaned over to kiss his 5 month old sister, Elena and tenderly affirm her. "You're so gorgeous, Elena!", he lovingly repeated over and over as he held her cheeks and rubbed his nose against hers. She clutched his cheeks in return and babbled away as she stared into his eyes. I marveled at the gentleness and genuine affection he showered upon his newest sibling. I could only surmise that surely he saw his mom and dad interact this way. As I sat on the picnic bench holding her on my lap, I asked Chris, "Do you hear your Dad say that to Mommy?"

"No, he just says she's having a good hair day," he retorted back. I looked up to see their mom, Natalie, standing less than a foot away while holding their two year old brother, Nate burst into hysterics with me. "Does he ever say she's having a bad hair day?" I inquired.

"No, he doesn't say that. He just says she's having a good hair day," he answered.

After our snack and walk alongside the lake, Natalie and I secured each of the kids into their car seats and headed back to her house. Nate had instantly fallen asleep once the vehicle was in motion, while Chris stared straight ahead at the highway before us. Elena was quiet for a bit before starting to fuss and then little by little, wail. Poor Chris wasn't sure what to do. I prompted him to hold her hand and try talking to her. He sheepishly gazed at me as if to say, "I'm not sure this is my department." Nevertheless, he complied and gently grasped her hand and began to repeat those tender words of affirmation once again, "Elena, you're gorgeous." Unfortunately, Elena was not comforted by this in the least.

"Sometimes, I've had to pull over to nurse her, but we're almost home so I won't do that. She may have a dirty diaper also. When they're that little there are usually only a few reasons they do that. You just have to troubleshoot," Natalie explained. Amazingly enough, Nate continued to sleep with his head cocked to the left and downward. While after a few mintues of unsuccessful attempts to soothe his sister, Chris turned his gaze towards the front once again. His words and presence seemed to have little effect.

Upon arriving to their home, Elena's sobs finally ceased. I climbed out of the metallic colored SUV's passenger side and opened the back door to see her face streaming with tears. As soon as I unfastened her and lifted her up, she breathed a sigh of relief. Natalie unfastened Nate and hoisted him up onto her shoulder and then reached down to help Chris undo his buckle. We carried the two inside, while Chris trailed behind. Sure enough, Elena's diaper was soaked.

During the ride back to Natalie's, I briefly pondered, "What's the lesson here? Is there one?" We didn't know exactly what was paining Elena so that she began to wail, but after she was lifted up, held and had her soggy wet diaper changed, she was back to feeling and looking oh so gorgeus. It was only moments away, yet for her the time it took to get home and be lifted up and out of her distress, seemed to be an eternity. No doubt, as she grows older, she'll learn what it means to wait and how to do it patiently without crying out in angst. She'll learn and experience plenty of good and bad hair days. However, for right now she is still learning that she is cared for, lifted up, loved and so gorgeous.

Upon reflection, I know some days I'm able to do the lifting up and caring for another. Not only am I able to do it, but I find it to be a pleasure. Yet, I won't deny there are those other days when my heart cries out in angst to be lifted up, nurtured, and told I'm so gorgeous, too. For now, I am still learning not so much what I live as children often do, but how to live inspite of what I've lived and all the bad hair days in between.

Perhaps it even means carefully choosing what I will now accept and grab hold of. Who knows? In turn,I may afford myself some more of those good hair days, knowing I am cared for and circumstance is always subject to change. Perhaps it is time to put childish things away while maintaining the innocence and faith of a child. Perhaps one can live as a child without reason to doubt, but one that gleefully basks in the warmth of surrounding love. Perhaps. Yes, perhaps I'll need to think on it some more.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

To the Left or the Right?

"I just wish you guys could get a break. You've had so much over the years with health stuff, one thing after the next," I murmured.

My dad grinned and replied,"Yeah, but I don't see that. God has blessed us so much! When I think of everything He's given us, to have a little of this other stuff, it's OK. Everybody has something. I used to wonder what it would be like if I got cancer and now I have it. I'm OK."

I couldn't really grasp what he was fully saying. I know they have good jobs, a nice home, kids and grandkids, along with great neighbors, but I hate the thought of them having to physically suffer with something else.

Over the years, my mom has had multiple surgeries from her shoulders to her back and down to her knees. My dad broke his back years ago and later had his spine fused. No fun! I remember seeing them move or walk ever so gingerly and their faces grimacing from the pain at times.

However, I never saw them quit or give up on life. In spite of everything they've been through, they have found times to enjoy kayaking, gardening, arts and crafts and lot's of time with their grandkids. They even have a show stopping clown act they do together.

My mom has a pink, shaggy clown wig, while my bald dad wears a rainbow colored curly afro. Both have very stylish red clown shoes and noses. My mom wears a purple jumpsuit with a pink collar and Dad wears black and orange pants with suspenders. She paints faces. He creates animal balloons. Their clown names? Melody and Scrambles.

Moments after my dad's response to my comment, an idea popped into my head. A burst of energy rushed through me as I remembered what a nut he can be. I suggested to him, "Hey, the next time you go for chemo. you should wear your clown wig."

His eyes sparkled and a devilish smile began to shine. He exclaimed, "Oh, that would be hilarious! I could walk in and say-'Hey, look at what you guys did to me! Last week I had no hair and now look at me!" My mom just rolled her eyes when we informed her of the plan. My brother chuckled so hard his eyes began to squint.

And so the fun has begun. The journey marked ahead appears long and somewhat treacherous with corners we can not yet see around. This is the track we are on as a family. To our left is a rather stealth and mountainous diagnosis of Stage 4 cancer. To our right is a cool stream flowing with firmly planted fruit trees and bright yellow sunflowers facing towards the sun. Each friend and family member are like those trees and flowers, providing nourishment, shade and beauty.

It is the strength of such beauty that draws me to peer closer out the window on my right. I can not help but gaze in its direction. I glanced to the mountains across the aisle out the left. Majesty is present there, but the eyes of my heart are magnetized by the steady flow of the crisp, blue stream. Blue monarchs circle above it and the heads of bright, yellow sunflowers are lifted up in the distance. The ride is more than OK. The outpouring of love and support mixed with laughter is nothing short of beautiful.