Stepping Into the Dark –
Last night I told Trooper, our Siberian Husky, it was time to go outside before going to bed. He jumped up and headed for the front door. I opened it and then walked to our screen door on the porch to open it. As I was stepping a sudden pain pierced the bottom of the middle of my left foot. At first, I thought it was a rock but the pain increased and I knew something had stung me. I waited for Trooper to come inside and when we got in I told Beth; “I think something bit me!” We looked at the bottom of my foot and sure enough, there was a big, red, raised welt forming. I put some Benadryl cream on the sting and took a couple of pink Benadryl pills and went to bed. My foot and leg were itching and the pain in my foot hadn’t gone away. After a while, I went to sleep and when I woke up this morning to let the dog out there was enough light to see on the porch was a dying bumblebee. I write; “dying” because when I moved it out of the way the stinger was still twitching. Maybe tonight I’ll put on a pair of flip-flops before adventuring out into the dark.
Life is full of surprises. You live it, doing the same things, finding your rhythm, your groove. Everything seems okay until it’s not. All of a sudden there’s shock, pain, uncertainty, life changes and there’s nothing we can do to stop it from happening. However, we can learn, accept, adapt. We can gain wisdom and the ability to be content with the truth that life isn’t predictable. As much as we would like to think we have everything planned, scheduled, organized, we can’t know what’s around the next corner. We are, as always, stepping into the dark.
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He paced back and forth like a caged tiger. I watched him as he went side to side, back to front. At first, he was on a phone call and then afterwards he continued his anxious pacing. I was sitting, waiting, in a room at our county jail which was mostly glass facing the pacing man. I knew what he was feeling because I was struggling with the same anxiety. My classroom wasn’t ready and I was asked to stay in one room until the other one was available. Inside I felt emotionally restless, ready to go, get the class underway.
However, unlike the man pacing back and forth, I noticed what I was doing and took a breath. I folded my hands together placed them on my knees, inhaled and exhaled again. When I was allowed into the classroom I was no longer anxious but settled. I organized the chairs, wrote my notes on the dry-erase board as the men began to come in and find their seats. A worker from the jail checked in to see if everything was okay and I assured her it was. She apologized for the wait. “That’s okay,’ I replied, ‘sometimes having nothing to do, being forced to wait is exactly what we need.”
This morning my family gathered together to write my father’s obituary and order of service for his memorial. After a while, we took a break and I walked outside with my niece and spotted a huge Sycamore leaf. It was the biggest one at first we could see and then it became a competition on who could find the largest one of all. We searched a long time and when we were convinced we had discovered the most sizeable one we began looking for the smallest one. This was harder because we had to look under, beside and move other leaves to find the smallest. Finally, we believed we had the tiniest Sycamore leaf in the yard.
It was another busy day with people visiting, numerous phone calls, memorial service being organized, visiting the florist, and other errands. In the hustle and bustle of things, a family must do when one they love has passed it’s hard to find the peace one desires. The big things, the things which must get done are easy to find, it’s the small things; the glimpses of hope, the good memories, times when the good of a life well-lived shines in the darkness of a loved one parting.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Saint John, chapter 1
Under Control –
Last week I wrote about raking leaves and how this ongoing chore is a part of the changing of the seasons; “Leaving Tomorrow Be“ (https://thewannabesaint.com/2016/10/29/leaving-tomorrow-be/).
Today I was at it again. Same sections of the yard, same rake, same music playing in my ear buds, the same piles, except different, albeit still brown, leaves. Again, similar to last week, the wind was blowing so even as I raked more leaves were falling on the ground. Still, it was therapeutic; raking and burning.
While doing the chore I thought about my week. Lots of internal changes have been occurring at work. Changes which cannot be avoided and are necessary for our team to continue helping the families and communities we serve. However, as noted by me many times on this blog before, I don’t like change. My severe anxiety disorder goes into hyperdrive when multiple changes occur in a short amount of time. My preference is rhythm, order, a familiarity, which helps bring balance to my life and peace to my mind.
As I raked the leaves today and watched more fall in their place, I was reminded that life is never controllable, never truly ordered, not actually familiar, we simply fool ourselves into thinking there is rhythm. We like to think we’ll get everything organized and under control only to stand powerlessly by as the wind blows, dropping more leaves on a briefly clean yard; a symbol that nothing in the life is ever settled, predictable and under our control.