Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thoughts from the hammock

A conversation with my sweetie:

"Why are you into
working on the yard all of a sudden?"
"What do you mean?"
"I thought you didn't like yard work."
"I don't, but you can't do it now, and I know it matters to you."
I wandered out to the back yard to watch Guy plant some of the lovely flowers he bought.  A few weeks ago a crew of church folks came and cleaned winter's death from the ground, and left it welcoming and hopeful for Spring.  I followed Guy's hands as he worked and felt the itch in my arms to join him; the imaginary soil under my nails.  The whispers of "need to" and "should" in my heart began their little battle with the logic-and-practicality lobes of my brain.  Gardening makes me want to work, plan, improve, perfect.

After Guy felt done planting (though there were plants still waiting their turn from their black plastic pots), he sat down in the hammock.  He has the gift of being able to be "done" and not have to work himself into the ground.  The hammock scene called to me, so I made my way across the uneven lawn and settled in under his arm.

At first, I only noticed his arm under my head and the feel of the hammock on my back.  My mind was an airport terminal of weary travelers waiting their turn to be processed.  Soon the tree above us groaned, barely beckoning me away from my crowd of frustrated thoughts, the carousel of un-handled baggage going round and round and round in my mind.  A bold squirrel with huge black eyes, who clearly owns the yard, emerged from the mulberry  and demanded, "What is the meaning of this?" with his arched tail.  Bird's voices, that had been there all along, began to ease over the rickety fence and to stretch down from hidden places in the trees.  Somewhere, dozens of somewheres, a chorus of wind chimes sang together as though they were sharing the same secret. 

A sudden raucous gust of wind lifted the gently bobbing spring branches over our heads with a whip and a thrilling wave, and raised up music from the new leaves like a rushing green river.  I fell up, into the branches, and was engulfed by the intensity that mocked how un-noteworthy a moment this was.  My vision held only the branches overhead as they settled into whispers of sea foam that meets wet sand, only to leap again like a crowd in a grandstand in united celebration with the next gust of wind.  A hummingbird buzzed through the shuffling green-clad crowd and somehow found easy footing on a slender, swimming branch.

I floated up beside it and held on.  Suddenly nothing mattered in my head anymore, just the rush and thunder and calm of the wind in the trees that, despite my inattention, had always been there.

In the past few days I have been hearing so many "should's";
- in my own harsh mind,
- on the lips of friends as they question their parenting abilities,
- and in articles and posts from people I have never met that scream at me
 in yellow highlighter
 where my shortcomings lie.
When I focus all of my attention on them, they seem so important. 

Then I listen...
My friend Ellen hears me critique myself and gently points out how I gravitate towards self-shaming.
Kind Chantal reminds me over and over that we are all on our own journey, all of us trying, and that our Creator would never judge us as harshly as we often judge ourselves.

My gentle husband reminds me that my own heart is where
 I have always found my greatest answers.

Wise Amanda points me to all that I am doing right.

And Kathy, her heart as open as the sky, takes my concerns, wraps them lovingly,
and hands them back to me with all of their sharp edges carefully tucked away.

For the past two years, there have been no irises.
This winter was so cold it killed my 13 year old rose geranium,
but because of the harshness of winter, the irises have produced a bounty
 to be envied by a seasoned gardener... which I am not.

I have given away cuttings from my old geranium to many people over the years.
I know I can get a cutting from one of them, and start over again.

The loveliest spots in my garden this year have surprised me.  They are the places
 I have been cultivating for years in my awkward way. 
It took the efforts of others to bring the polish to my flowering beds,
but what was there
was already going to be beautiful.


Jan and Carol Van de Wetering Family said...

Well, Laine, my thoughts are so simple, and simply stated. You are not only an amazing woman,wife, mother, and friend.... you are also an amazing writer. Your words captured my mind and drew me into your thoughts, creating visions and feelings that were enriching, edifying and endearing... just like you!

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I'm not an outdoorsy person at all. Having to do anything resembling gardening would be torture. LOL! But as I read your thoughts, Laine, the parallel between sowing & reaping, waiting, planting, hoping...finally seeing the results after the harshest winter...sigh. I can't even begin to tell you how much this spoke to my heart. God is at work, and he just used your words to speak to my heart. Thanks for sharing. <3-Coppelia