Rainy Day Blues

Languid.

In a kind of stupor I follow my running babe all over the house and farm.

Mechanically I dish out meal after meal, and the only time I feel something sensational is when I crawl into my bed.

Mercifully, the canning is done and even my china cabinet has been cleaned inside and out, before and behind.

I apathetically put all the pictures I want to develop on a flash drive yesterday.

Otherwise I have sat, with my tongue hanging dejectedly from my mouth.

I have been sick. I am not a sweet saint when I am sick.

I am tired of being tired.

If there’s anything I hate, it’s apathy.

It’s easier to run after a baby if you have energy.

It’s much easier to be patient and sweet if things like slicing tomatoes for supper and sweeping the floor don’t look monstrous.

Maybe it’s not only that I’m sick. Maybe it’s also a small crash after being too energetic the last while.

Taking the baby with me shopping last week may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

My son tried repeatedly to stand up in the cart. He grabbed cheese bars and munched them through the plastic. He hurled a bottle of cake sprinkles onto the floor where it bounced loudly across the tile and landed under the shelves.

I met a friend who was shopping with her three preschoolers. She looked cool and collected while I felt hot and harried, having just risen from my “here I raise my Ebenezer” position, trying to regain the sprinkles.

My husband waits patiently for the irritability and whining to cease and for the sun to break forth once more from the clouds. “Give yourself Grace,” he tells me.

I’d rather have energy than grace.

So you see why it’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything and why even now the writing slouches and wobbles a bit.

I hear screaming and I sigh because my son is likely biting his friend yet again.

I was young and now I am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

I am old and creaky and languid and we may all be begging bread tonight if I do not get supper in the oven.

I hold it to myself that the righteous are never forsaken and I look at the rain and I hear the screaming and I wonder if I am not righteous???

Enough morbidity!! I will lay down my pen and you can back to your cheerful selves.

As for me, I will sink happily into my bed yet again in a few hours and hope for a better day ahead!

Try A Little Kindness

When we see someone down and out, because they made bad choices, we somehow don’t always react with a little kindness.

If they are down and out because of someone else’s bad choices, we can feel compassion, but their own, no, we say they had it comin.

My little children, they sing this with conviction, like they mean it with all their hearts and souls, and my heart, it’s smitten with regret.

For all the judgements I’ve made in my life, am still making, all the time, even without knowing it.

Narrow minded people on their narrow minded street.

We all know them and we all have loathed and despised and if not by our actions, by our thoughts committed all manner of evil.

But my children, they say “Try a little kindness.”

I sit here in the dark nursery, and I rock my baby to sleep, and while his little hand works his blanket, my mind works this problem over in my head.

I would like to settle my mind down, like my baby settles into sleep, but too many times I’ve been downright rude and even more times I’ve given a subtle cold shoulder, and what do I think, that people don’t catch on? That because they’re narrow minded they’re blind and deaf and dumb? That God doesn’t see and doesn’t care?

What do I think? That He sees the little sparrow fall but if someone doesn’t have proper social graces, he looks the other way when I treat them coolly?

Who am I fooling? I pat myself on the shoulder for tolerance and inclusion but oh, the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and who can know it?

God help us.

We, the churched. The Christian. We need to be told this, I need to be told this.

We are only as Christian as our heart’s thoughts are to the downtrodden and the gutter ridden, so to speak, and the one who does not agree with me, so help me God.

“And we’ll overlook the blindness of the narrow minded people on the narrow minded street.”

Amen.

Make New Friends But Keep The Old

The weekend that began with tears has ended with laughter.

Yesterday I cried with one of my best friends as we laid to rest her husband’s father and mother in one day.

At the meal afterwards I put my head together with her and a few others and we laughed ourselves silly and a new bond, a sisterhood, was forged. A potential Yada Yada sisters thing, if you know what I mean.

I would send a picture of the heads together but I feel that a few of my sisterhood would verbally crucify me. My husband got a shot of us, of which he was very proud, and it was not very complimentary, which delighted him further still.

At the viewing a few days ago my friend’s little boy commented that he liked this family reunion and did he have to go home?

That’s what it felt like when we got together again today to de-stress from the funeral.

Over plates of Mississippi Mud and Lemon Lush we gabbled like a gaggle of geese.

Over mountains of pots and plates and pans we discussed weeks and wine and what not all.

Over numerous cups of coffee we talked about adolescents and ADHD.

Out in the yard our young offspring pled for motorcycle rides, played white man and Indian, (which seems racist,somehow, but wasn’t) and kept the rope swing going full tilt.

Our husbands, well, they lolled about good humouredly and I think they may have talked about boring things.

Over popcorn smothered with butter and sour cream and onion seasoning, we handed out back rubs and back handed comments like there was no tomorrow.

Yes, and it ended in laughter.

It is just a good thing, to cry and then to dry the tears, and laugh.

It was good for our children to hug their weeping friends, and then to run through the green lawns together, full of happiness

It is a good thing, to have life and death mixed up in this thing we call Time.

It is a good thing, to live, to love, to laugh, to look up and watch for the day when Time will be over, and troubles will never come.

Until then, it is a good thing, Community and Friendship. A never ending blessing, one that will follow us right into eternity and become perfectly blended and balanced, forever and ever.

Musings on Life. And Death

I drive slowly home along Creamery Road, the pungent flavour of the grapes I picked up still lingering in my mouth.

The soybean fields are yellow and the goldenrod waves mustard coloured in the ditches by the road.

I crunch my way down the gravel and my thoughts swirl like the dust that rises in a hazed cloud behind my vehicle.

Today a baby was buried, lowered in the ground while we sang Somewhere In The Skies and his mother wept and his father wiped tears from his eyes and his little brothers and sister looked on in wonder.

We faltered our way through Be Still My Soul and With My Eyes Fixed On Jesus as men from our church family scooped shovelfuls of ground into the grave and we choked on Children Of The Heavenly Father as his daddy and his mother buried their baby beneath the dust.

And all our hearts cracked open and bled as the little children all scattered white roses on top of the filled grave, and he slept in peace.

As ended the life of the Beloved Little Warrior, then began the ripples of his influence to spread across the community.

We hold our dear ones a little nearer, we forgo the irritation and kiss a precious cheek instead and we watch all the lives being lived around us and we treasure each one for the miracle we have remembered that it is.

We love a little harder, live a little deeper, forgive a little sooner.

There is never a life wasted, not even one that never drew breath, and that is how God meant it and He is good, though we do not understand, and we trust his heart because we cannot grasp his ways.

“Good night my angel, now it’s time to sleep.”

The leaves are beginning to turn in this autumn air and the dust from Creamery Road lies thick on the bushes alongside it, and we are all but dust and He knows our frame and He remembers this.

Even so come, Lord Jesus.

Reminder

Lucky Charms scatter across the floor. I reach for the broom.

A loud crash sounds behind me. The clean pans Summer just put into the dish drainer land resoundingly on top of the Lucky Charms.

I crunch across the floor, retrieve the pans, and start again for the broom.

I sweep as best I can around a small son planted on the floor, consuming the heartier portion of a Lucky Charms box. The marshmallows have all been picked out long ago.

The day revolves around this little man, this whirlwind that dances always just out of reach.

He spits out potatoes because they aren’t carrots. I sigh and take him upstairs to rock him. He swats at my face with his free hand and makes cow sounds. He is almost asleep when the rest of the crew comes upstairs chatting.

I give up and lay him in his bed, which usually works. Today it doesn’t. He throws his blankie out of his bed and howls because he can’t go to sleep without it. I give it back. I suspect he throws it out again because he howls and chats and hollers for a long time before finally falling asleep.

I resist frustration and I do not manage. Whatever am I going to do once the children go back to school and I am sole entertainer?

I feel guilty for feeling frustrated.

My friend Evelyn comes home from the hospital this afternoon, with empty arms aching for something to hold. She has three little children but she does not have her little baby boy, the one she carried next to her heart until last night, the one who never needed to labour to breathe this old earth’s air, the one she named “brave little warrior” because he fought the good fight and finished the course, long before the rest of us.

I feel guilty for my frustration.

I hold that pudgy little hand longer than usual.

I will never take for granted again the miracle of a newborn baby, living and crying.

I will try not to take for granted the miracle of a one year old, running and laughing and getting into everything, spitting out potatoes and trying my patience a million times a day.

He is charming and he is charismatic and he is Alive.

Thanks be to God.

Afterward

It’s been sweltering for days now and our spirits sag in the heat and we languish this Sunday afternoon.

The usual comforts of life seem to evade us.

Too tired to go to the lake. Too blah to have people over. Too full to eat more ice cream.

Too utterly too too.

It’s been a good weekend, camping with our church people.

There have been songs by the campfire and stories exchanged in the dark.

Games which threw together ages 5 to 80 into a grand melee have been played.

I’ve watched my pastor play charades and the oldest lady in church go on a scavenger hunt.

I’ve chatted about generational gaps in communication with my old friend who loves books even more than I do, and I’ve listened to the teenage girls sing a tear jerking old country song 50 times as if their hearts were busting from their bodies.

There’s been good food and good fun and good fellowship.

I love these people like my flesh and blood.

They have shown me Jesus, they’ve shown me humanity raw and restored, they’ve stood with me and believed in me and they are failing people but they never make me feel like a failure.

It’s understandable why we are a bit deflated when everyone has gone home and only a few coffee cups lingering on the lawn tell the story of the happy hours.

Finally we settle on water play.

Only me and my unclad son remain unsoaked.

Tonight we haven’t the heart for it. The water is ice cold from the well and they may have it.

Tomorrow we will tackle the laundry and the tomatoes that are laying on the deck and have been alternately bitten and tossed by the baby son.

Tomorrow the languid hours of today and the blessed hours of the day before will linger only as memories to cling to through the long winter months to come.

Of Politics and Personality Problems

It’s official.

I hate politics.

Anything government makes me feel intensely bored.

This is why when my child asks me about James Rice the liberal and Ben Lobb the conservative, I tell her I have no idea what constitutes a Liberal party or a Conservative party.

This is also why most conversations among menfolk drive me slightly batty, and why when women talk about politics, I glaze over and may leave the assembly directly.

I’m slightly ashamed of what I do find interesting.

Baby names. Words. Authors. People. Mental health.

Especially mental health. I do not know if there is something sick in my psyche that determines my interest in this seemingly bleak subject but I’ll be honest, I love it.

Who cares about Donald Trump and what he did or said, or if Erin O’Toole scored in wherever it was?

What I’d like to know is what goes on in the mind of a schizo/ effective and what is the best therapy for people with Borderline Personality Disorder?

And what I tell no one is that I am one of those.

Except now I’ve said it.

It’s my deepest, well kept secret.

It’s what brings tears to my eyes in the middle of a happy day.

It’s what’s haunted me, what’s eaten me up, what I’ve come to accept, to embrace, to thank God for, to live gracefully with.

I’ve always wished I could like politics instead. However confusing they are, they seem clear and untarnished compared to the muddy waters of personality disorders.

I’ve wrestled with it in dark days, and now in the light, I embrace it and I own it.

I am BPD.

The safe thing is, you have no idea what that is.

The scary thing is, that though you will not find it on the news, there are any number of people who want to tell you how fiendish it is.

The sweet thing is, I am restored. I have been up the hills and down the valleys and it will never altogether go away, but the years which the locusts have eaten, they have been restored to me, and it is so precious and that is why it brings instant moisture to my eyes.

This is why I don’t get why it matters what Justin Trudeau is doing, or his American counterpart, Joe Biden.

There are real live people here, floundering in the debris of the mind, and it doesn’t matter what sort of games the world is trying to play.

Yeah, as I said, I hate politics.

And did I say I’m intrigued with mental health?

And that I’m done with backing around in the shadows about it?

Ahh, who wants to join me, and instead of conspiracy theories about COVID, we’ll have a gabfest about overcoming mental illness?

Tomorrow?????

Foolishness

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child,” I tell my children, “but the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”

They protest loudly. “Mom, we’re just shaking hands!”

Yes but they are shaking their own hands. The left shaking the right. At the supper table.

I’m teasing them, but really, I am tired.

I’ve just laid out four bushels of peaches in my main sitting room. It looks like a positively enormous amount. My children’s mouths gape as they look at them and even the Good Man comments that it is a lot of peaches.

My rows of corn are ripening quickly.

Family has been visiting for the weekend and the children have been largely unavailable for work. There has been much feasting, much swimming, much fishing, and little work getting done.

Randall and Teddy have a camping spree this weekend.

And our church camps here next weekend and the place has sadly gone to pots through the summer and needs a real facelift.

“I’ve about had it,” I tell the Good Man.

I’m tired, like I said.

When I’m tired, things take on a sheen that vaccilates between gloom and hilarity. Sarcasm also plays a large part.

My son stands in front of me, and I land him a punch in the stomach, the hilarity trumping the gloom.

He lands me one right back.

I tell him that I am his mother and that I am sure Brianna never punched her mother.

Brianna helpfully replies that her mother never punched her.

Teddy launches into a diatribe about how I could look to older ones who have experience for a role model.

Things are rapidly escalating beyond my control, something that is only my fault.

This is about when I notice the small pile of reject peaches on my counter.

One peach is wearing a lovely pink watch, strapped carefully about it’s middle.

Suddenly I feel tired. And sarcastic.

Peaches and time. Yes. Don’t remind me just how much time it will take to do up all those undersized peaches.

But hey!

Somebody has a sense of humour!

Foolishness is definitely bound in the heart of a child and it has not yet been fully unbound in mine, by the sounds of it.

I haven’t gotten me a rod of correction for myself but I’m guessing a good night’s sleep with drive foolishness far from me.

Weekend visitors have gone home.

Tomorrow I will be brisk and practical. Foolishness will come unbound and that will definitely help to unbind it in my children.

Things are winding down around here.

The quiet soaks into my soul.

“Be not weary in well doing. For we shall reap, if we faint not.”

Efficiency (or lack thereof)

He walks around with a peach clutched in each grimy hand, juice dripping from his chin onto my kitchen floor. Not that my kitchen floor was otherwise spotless. Oh the things that grit and crunch beneath my feet as I walk on that floor!

And I swept it just this morning.

Life whirls around in a pace that only I am to blame for.

Were I efficient and organized and were I not half ways addicted to adrenaline, I would keep my days to handle-able proportions.

As it is, we all kinda whiz about for awhile, then sort of collapse for awhile, before we begin our next spin cycle.

I hear a howl from outdoors, which could be interpreted as either mirth or agony and I fly to the door.

Mercifully, it is mirth. Small son sits, fully clad, in a tub of water we so carelessly left set.

Oh well, it is a hot day.

We were sweating all night and it has only gotten worse. I smell things as I move about among my children and I’m not sure who’s odour it is, mine or theirs.

When I really think about it maybe we aren’t whizzing around like it feels that we are.

Maybe it’s my brain that’s whizzing with all the things I need to do, the deadlines that dog our steps, the many people round about my table that expect to have a nutritional meal every three or four hours.

That part about a nutritional meal, I take that back. Yesterday I made a very healthy and very nutritional zucchini pizza and a likewise endowed Asian slaw. They ate politely with their front teeth, as you do when you can hardly chew without gagging. They were very brave but they do not expect a meal like that every four hours.

What they would really approve of is popsicles and some fruit juice for their veggie count.

Yes, my brain is definitely of the same caliber as this post. Random. Scattered. Inefficient.

Do you see a pattern here? I think I’ve mentioned the word efficient in some form or another more than once in this writing.

I’m just not efficient. I’m scatter brained. And I don’t really mind. I just feel sorry for my husband who is the epitome of efficiency.

And for my mother-in-law, who tops Randall for efficiency, no sweat.

I feel for them. It must be painful to watch me attempt to raise a family.

Now, Randall is very good about it. He’s generous and loyal and never once berates me.

My mother-in-law does amazingly well, considering how different we are. She tries to cover for me, which, while meant to be helpful, rather shows me up for the absent minded individual that I am.

Yes, I threw that jacket in the trash and no, I didn’t change the split zipper. Yes, that ice cream sitting outside the freezer is getting thrown out and no, I didn’t forget to put it in.

Startlingly enough, I like my ducks in a tidy row, such a tidy row that I throw out things like ice cream and jackets whose zippers don’t work.

If I were a paragon of virtue I would surely remedy the zipper and self sacrificingly eat up the old ice cream myself.

However, I am plain old me and my beans aren’t picked because I didn’t feel like it and my kitchen floor is so grimy because I didn’t feel ppplike scrubbing it on Saturday and I sometimes go away with my old garden flip flops on.

Having said all this, I have no idea what this post is really about.

I guess it’s a peek into our days, our personalities, what makes us,us…..

He stands in front of me now, piling my dress skirt full of tiny stones and then emptying it again.

I like to watch him.

Whether it’s stones or peaches or buckets of water, he doesn’t care if it isn’t good management. He just lives. Enjoys. Basks in every experience.

Mindfulness, here I come!

Dream On

The Good Man, he says the Lord is smiling on his cattle operation. Every time I see him, he has new plans blossoming in his head and several more large purchase items are mandatory.

This is because he has bought a tractor.

This is ample reason why farming should begin progressing rapidly, and why a disc bine becomes a necessity, as well as more cattle and a 600 ft. roll of mesh fencing.

Don’t ask me what the relationship between a tractor and these miscellaneous items is.

I swallow and inwardly clap my hand to my forehead. Outwardly I offer feebly that perhaps it’s the devil that is smiling upon his cattle operation.

We both laugh.

I can’t deny it though, there’s a shine in his eyes and a bounce to his step and I know it’s the presence of new dreams to dream, new projects to accomplish, and new worlds to conquer.

I wish I were a dreamer. I’m just not. I don’t dream anything. Far from practical, but still my every waking thought is consumed with practical things, like, what we will eat today, and does the laundry need done, and I really must do better at remembering to brush the children’s teeth, and mundane, undreamy things like that.

I like money in the bank, too, preferably lots of it, and I would never take out a mortgage to save my life, being much too fearful of economy crashes.

I feel sure that the Lord is smiling on me when my ducks are neatly in a row, my debts are paid, and I have taken no risk.

He feels the Lord is smiling on him when a mushroom cloud of ideas about farming arises over his head, when a large loan has been asked for and received, when he is in a place ripe for a blast from an economy failure. This is where his eyes take on that shine and he can work all day and all night, if need be, happily.

I have asked the question before and today I can’t help but ask it again.

How is a marriage supposed to work when we are so different?

Thing is, it works quite well.

I have learned through much trial and error to smile benignly amid the onslaught of another dream fest and he has learned to reassure me that they are just dreams and he will not be mortgaging our life away without considerable thought, and that I will be a part of that considerable thought.

I have learned not to dash cold water upon his dreams and he has learned not to dash his dreams upon me when I am already in moments of stress.

I have learned to respect his dreams and respect him for having them, to treasure it even, because it is really who he is. He has learned to respect my sixth sense that sticks it’s antennae up and waves “Warning, warning!”

Most times.

I will be honest, there are times when things get tense and teary and I wonder when we will ever learn.

With any luck, however, given another 15 years, we will be sailing smoothly, him dreaming, and me keeping us on course.