10 November 2009

Her God Calling

Turmeric stains my denim jeans and Miss Betty calls my name three flights down. Her daughter is here only during visiting hours, and her son, who lives at the end of the drive, only brings the mail (check). And besides, he's got Ginny now.

Her grandchildren love her, but their youth has held them captive, and so she only gets an occasional holiday card that reads, "Merry Christmas Grandma. Love, So-and-So." And that's it. For all the ponies and the thousands, the summer camps and the caviar, "Love, So-and-So." That's it.

And so I've become like a daughter (or at least I imagine so) to her. She often calls me dear and she reprimands me too. I dropped an egg the other Sunday, and she nearly sent me to my room. Not for one less egg, but because, like the Renaissance artists, I had created a binding agent of egg and water that she believed would forever coat her linoleum. I assured her it wouldn't and immediately began with boiling hot water and green dish soap. And soon enough everything was as before, under her control and within her reach.

She uses these things called "reachers." Or at least that's the name she's given them. "Get me my reacher, Laura!" And off I go to find the metal stick with its springs and blue trigger. At each end are two quarter size suction cups and along its side is yellow electrical tape with my writing in black Sharpie. She has several reachers (in fact one for each room), and in essence, these things have become like children. I suppose I might even be considered a reacher. Her fifth child and twelfth reacher.

The other night I made a pumpkin tart. It was a job she had given, and so I used two of the other eleven eggs. We were both in the kitchen and the sun was almost set, and she continued, "I am not a drinker..." For her late husband died of it, well that and lung cancer, and she hates the stuff. She despises it. So she always assures me, "I only cook with the stuff." And I did as instructed, replacing 1Tbs of milk with 1Tbs of rum and left the bottle where her late husband couldn't get to it.

Even though he was dead, he'd still make his trips to the kitchen. He'd come to lite his smoke or come to fill his gut, but he'd always come to say mean things. And once he called her a very bad word and hurt her very deep. She wrote about it the day it happened. And when I stumbled upon this note, scribbled in the small box of march the thirteenth, seven and some years ago, I wept. I cried and cried for the mean things he called her and especially for this day, some odd seven years ago, where her worth was cursed by this man who said he'd loved her.

It's full bloom autumn here on the grounds of her late husband. The tulip trees have dropped their rusted leaves and the deer this season are plentiful. And she promised to love him, in sickness and in health. The brook is deep and the trails wide, and in plenty and in want, he promised. Her days are still a mix of good and bad, and the occasional visitor helps. And as the sun sets for night, another day done, in her loneliness and vacant state, she hears her late son, her late husband, her lost children, her God calling.

2 comments:

Beccalynn said...

Beautiful, as always. I never tire of reading what you write. So GOOD to have you back on blogspot!!!

chad said...

in sickness and in health....easy in words, tough in action. this makes me think of a prayer my mentor is teaching me, so ill share it with you:

Into My Hands This Day
An ancient Eastern prayer
adapted by Rev. Jason Hubbard

First position (hands held open, palms up in shape of House)
Into my hands this day is given all that I need to be truly alive.
All of the joy and all of the sorrow;
All of the success and all of the failure
All of the blessing and all of the suffering;.... add your own.
All of this, given to me freely as a grace from the One who has made me.

Second position (hands together in prayer (Namaste hands)
With this blessing, I am invited to gather up my hands
And take the seat of the student.
Here I shall find that all that has been given to me exists
so that I might enter into some new teaching.
This teaching may be easy or difficult;
simple or complex; … short/long, beautiful/ugly
It may require my attention for a moment or for a lifetime
...add your own.

Third position (hands lifted up and open- giving & receiving)
And if as a student, I allow myself to be truly open
I will come to understand that my learning is not only for me,
But can be poured out into the world as a gift to others
This is the Divine Rhythm of giving and receiving
No different than the movement of
my breath in & out
the beating of my heart;
The rising and setting of the sun
The movement of the ocean tides... add your own.
This is my life & work – a rhythm set forth as a gift to my neighbors & friends.

Fourth position (arms across chest w/open hands)
And I can be assured that in this Divine Rhythm
The dove of blessing alights upon my heart.
And I am held in the loving arms of the Divine;
The Mystery that moves within us, between us and beyond us.
Here I am safe and free to become the highest to which I am called.

Let this be my prayer.