Sit in reverie and watch the changing color
of the waves that break upon the idle
seashore of the mind.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
For nearly 40 days I have disengaged myself from much of my social underpinnings. I shut & locked the front door of my blog, then put a hold on Facebook. It wasn't so much a Lenten thing as it was a pause. I need them every so often. As it turns out, my pauses are often a means of experiencing life in fresh, new ways.
This pause was multi-faceted, and strange.
It began with our decision to bid farewell to the Irish Wake, our seaworthy boat. After many fun & joy-filled excursions, we decided it's season had passed, and the money (can anybody say "gas prices"?) best spent elsewhere.
We then had the great, good pleasure of spending a few days with our Arizona Pastor (surrogate son & best of friends), Greg, and his wife Lori. They were in Seattle for a speaking engagement, but we managed to carve out time to catch up. As some of you know, Greg was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy (a lethal illness that combines Parkinson's symptoms with something akin to Lou Gehrig's) last March, and given a not-so-lovely prognosis. We are always blessed by his attitude. Lori's too. As you can well imagine, it's a tough, cruel battle they're waging, with 4 children (14, 12, 10 & 6) battling alongside them. Their faith AND humor is nothing short of amazing. We treasure the time we have with them.
That same weekend we got a call that Terry's older brother (by one year), Tim, was gravely ill; that we probably ought to come to the care facility to see him if we hoped to connect before he passed away. Seems he had pneumonia-like symptoms and was being treated for that. When there was no progress, the docs performed further tests only to discover he had an acutely advanced case of lung cancer. Before we could change our clothes and make the hour long drive to see him, he slipped away ... the first of my husband's 6 siblings to leave, and only 65.
On a lighter note I began facilitating a women's mentoring group. There are 7 of us, and our weeks together have been a rare blend of digging into God's word and sharing life's challenges. I remind them I am but their Tour Guide, which leaves much room for God to move; and move He does!
Spring has been an elusive element here this year. The pause has seen torrents or rain, then sunny skies, then SNOW, then more rain, and now days of glorious sunshine. Our weather forecasters are false prophets, that's all I can say! What joy it is to watch the trees cloaking themselves in new layers of green, and the shrubs & flowers unfurling in splendid array.
My youngest son's wife, Katrina, has decided to work part time in order to help with their finances so I am doing the Nanny Granny thing two days a week. It means I'm drawing upon energy stores I didn't know I had. The older boys - 17 & 13 - are typically in school while I'm there, so it's young Kole that is my primary focus. He's a busy little guy, but so good. On Tuesdays we go to the YMCA for Toddler Gym. His workout is MY workout. Need I say more?
In the midst of the pause we have continued to forge new bonds with friends from church ... Mike & Sue, John & Karri, Carolyn & Mike, Jim & Kazziah to name a few. Home Group is a highlight of my week, especially when Terry's in town to join me/us. Last week we had a potluck fellowship at our home, complete with stories, games & much laughter. Doing life with others makes for some rich experiences.
Wednesdays are dear to me because I spend them with my older sister, Dolores. At 79, she has the outlook & energy of a much younger woman; and we share a common love of the Lord. In recent weeks we've been working our way through the Book of Revelation - marveling at the promises and the glory to come. Hours lapse as we talk & share, laugh & pray ... The world is a much better place when we're through.
It's amazing how much has been crammed into my pause - - some of it planned, some of it serendipitous (is that a word?), some of lovely, and some of it not-so-lovely. What I'm aware of most is that I am much more alert, more in the moment. I am also grateful for the freedom to press pause any time.
"And the work of righteousness will be peace,
and the service of righteousness,
quietness and confidence forever."