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What Is Saving Your Life Right Now?

May 29, 2016

wandering the grass out front, eyes down, hands ready, to catch the unsuspecting grasshopper to feed the slow and steady chameleon residing on our porch

5 am and a brown chair in the corner, by the window where the cold air comes in

slipping on the red runners, scraping hair back into a messy pony tail, turning the key in the lock quietly so no one awakes, heading out into the gray of the morning new

her question: ‘is love really free?’

four pots of flowers filling up my windows, carefully watering their ever-thirst, considering their fragile beauty, tamping down the panic they might wither on my watch

his curls, scraggly more than shining, keeping him small

poetry; and this line: ‘…Love for the earth and love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart…’*

the cat I tried not to love, who sleeps curled up in the bend of my knees

hanging the laundry, snapping out the wrinkles of the brown khaki skirts, the brown khaki shorts, lining up the white button up shirts (stains from paint, ketchup, green-grass tumblings I couldn’t remove) and the blue school emblem on the pocket

Ephesians 3:14-21

how he smiles when he might have scowled, how he laughs in spite of himself

him, walking by the window on his way down the hill, pausing to scratch the dogs’ heads and I’m there at the window, washing the dishes, and he doesn’t know I’ve seen him there

how she reminds me of a camping trip along a brown, muddy river, high on a sandbar, when she caught the biggest fish and her daddy brushed the sand off her feet and rolled her into the tent for the night

a candle in the dark, for when words are too loud and too uncertain, flame flickering and dancing, heaven-bound

staying out too late on a Thursday night, wrapping hands around warm mugs on the back veranda of our friends’ house, kids running in the dark when they should be long in bed, chatting on when we should be saying good-bye

the flock of birds gathered in the tree out front that Saturday afternoon, a symphony of chaos, wagging their tail feathers as they called and sang, flying off to the next tree, and the next, until I couldn’t see them anymore

the nights not so black, the ones shimmering silver, when I know the moon continues her ever-circle, even when I see her not

ruminations on prayer and memory, longing and faith, doubt and silence: about love, about hope

I wake early and run. I come home to splatters of milk on the counter top, kids half-ready in navy blue school socks pulled up mid-calf. I say the same things I say every morning: did you brush your teeth? is your homework in your bag? is your bed made? how did you sleep, stop fighting and I love you so. I scramble to get us all in the car, 7:50 is two minutes too late, and I bump them down the rutted dirt road to their school and their teachers, their friends and everything else changing them and growing them and filling up their lives. I come back up the hill to the demands of the day and go about in various stages of contentment and dis-ease, depending on the day and the mood and the way I find the heart to trust that day. I sweep and I cook and I pray and I hang laundry and I fold clean clothes and I play games of Uno with the wide-eyed boy with the crazy hair and the unending smile. I watch the clock and head back down the hill to collect the children, I make it in time to watch them swim with their swim team, to never stop marveling at the resiliency and evolution of kids. I watch for Kilimanjaro from the window of my car, these rainy season days unveil her shroud of silver and gray to let the sun shine on her looming slopes in the late afternoons. I bring the kids home and say the same things I say every evening: do you have homework? change your clothes, put your uniform in the dirty clothes basket. how was your day, stop arguing with me and I love you so. I fix dinner like every other night of the week and I pray bedtime will arrive because this is the hour things like to fall apart. I help wash their feet and their hair, squeeze a pea-sized ball of toothpaste on Cinderella and Lightning McQueen toothbrushes. I tuck her under pink and blue sheets, pull the blankets up high against the cold nights, read Prince Caspian to her and listen to the sounds of a game of Uno coming from the boys’ room. I give kisses on foreheads and whisper prayers with hands smoothing their hair, sing ‘I lift my eyes up’ because he wants me to every night, and always answer from the doorway: yes, you can call for me in the night if you need me.

So many ordinary days. So many ordinary ways to be saved.


*from Thirst by Mary Oliver

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