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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Are You There?
A couple of hours ago a storm blew into our area with winds and thunder but no rain, at least for us. I was on the couch with my earbuds in. This is why I didn’t hear the storm or our Siberian Husky, Trooper, come into the living room and sit down right next to me and stare. Suddenly I had a feeling of being watched and I looked in his direction to find his face a few inches from mine. It startled me! “What are you doing?” When I heard the thunder I realized he was looking for comfort. I patted him on the head, scratched ears and told him it was; “okay.” I guess he heard and understood because he went back to his favorite spot on the foyer floor and laid down. He’s still asleep now.
In times of uncertainty, calamity, unsettledness, and fear, what we want, need to know if someone is there for us. As adult humans, we understand that a person’s presence might not fix or solve the problem but it does remind us we are not abandoned. It is one of the deepest longings at the heart of existence; the assurance that on this journey call life, we don’t walk alone.
On Saturday afternoon I burned a pile of branches, old newspapers, and other miscellaneous items. The smell of the ashes and leftover debris lingered in the air the next day. I had forgotten to grab an old wooden rocking chair out of the reading room which also needed to be disposed of. When I noticed it Sunday afternoon I wondered if the smoldering ash would still be hot enough to do anything. I took the chair out, broke it into several pieces and put some under the coals, which were still a faint orange, and put the rest in a pile on top. I checked it after a while and noticed the smoke had increased. About an hour later the wood was ablaze with a good flame. It didn’t take long to consume it once the fire restarted. Not too long afterward the chair was gone.
I wrote last week about the struggles I have when February rolls around. Many years have passed but the layers of hurt, anger, and uncertainty still lay buried, ready to ignite when fuel is added. What I try to do, instead of dwelling on the past, is not feed the flames. When I am aware and notice my mind drifting back to the place of pain I find a place to breathe. I close my eyes and take deep breaths. I remind myself of the truth that I cannot change the past but I can be present in the now. Does it always work? No. Does it work? Yes. Maybe one day I will be healed, maybe not, but I don’t want to give up on living today because of the difficulties of yesterday.
Lack of Information –
The last few weeks I have been dealing with a situation of which I have a limited amount of information. In fact, I’ve had enough information to make one decision or another without knowing how it’s going to work out in the end. It’s a difficult place to be and an even harder place to stay and find peace. It’s nothing life threatening though it could have life-altering consequences.
Situations such as this one can be the source of stress, ruminations and endless supplies of; “What ifs…?” However, I have found myself embracing the moment and repeating a wisdom quote; “If this happens you’re still breathing, still alive, still on the journey of your life. If that happens…same.”
It reminds me of the proverb;
“When confused; chop wood, eat your dinner, sleep.
When enlightened; chop wood, eat your dinner, sleep.”
It’s hard to be in those places of uncertainty as we walk along the path but sometimes it cannot be avoided. So, I place one foot in front of the other and know sooner or later the way will become clear.
Bird in a Peach Tree –
Tuesday night Beth and I were watering our trees and plants when she noticed a small bird near the bottom of the back fence. It was young and finding its wings so it didn’t move when she was near it. Last night she told me to be on the lookout for it as I watered in the area where she first saw it. I looked carefully but didn’t see it and proceeded to water with abandon.
When I water the trees and plants I like to start at the top, with the leaves, giving them a good soaking and make my way down the trunk/base. The next to be watered was a Peach tree that’s grown a lot since we planted it a couple of years ago. I aimed at the top of the tree and began spraying it when all of a sudden, feathers fluttered and the little bird flew out of the Peach tree and with every pump of its wings went higher and higher, finally settling on a branch in a giant Birch tree.
Thankful it didn’t hurt itself I reflected on the truth that it was the scare that caused it to fly, perhaps further than it ever has flown before. In 24 hours, with nothing to urge it to go further it had moved from the fence to the Peach tree, about 20 feet. Following the fright, it flew hundreds of yards and into of the tallest trees in the yard.
Life has its uncertainties, dangers, difficulties, pain, and heartbreak. These are usually not welcome but they could be the very catalyst that allows us to climb to our highest heights and find our wings to soar.
It’s been raining all day, since yesterday. Non-stop dripping, dropping, sometimes a mist others times buckets, of precipitation. It’s muddy, cold, windy…yucky.
Out in my workshop there is an area where the roof dips and water likes to gather. Most days it’s not a problem but with all the rain we’ve had the last couple of days, and forecasted for the next couple, it’s going to become an issue. I have buckets at the ready, the location cleared of anything water could damage and now its a waiting game to see if the puddle on the plastic roof gets big and full enough to make its way into the workshop.
In life its the opposite. Anger, anxiety, stress, despair, pain, hopelessness, pool inside of us as the storms of life batter and beat us. We do our best to be prepared for the worst but sometimes reality supersedes our greatest fears and dreaded expectations.
Sooner or later what the storms bring into our life have to come out. Emotions in themselves are not negative or positive. It is what we do with them, how we react to them, ways that may inflict pain upon ourselves or others that is good or bad. When the rain of life falls and keeps falling, when we are drowning in stress, rage, disbelief and can’t see an end to the chaos we run the danger of pulling those who would help us under the waves.
Wisdom reminds us how important it is to deal with our feelings, draining away the unpredictability and hardships life can drop upon us. Knowing how to deal with chaos and catastrophes may just save us and those we love.