Nine years ago today…

Nine years ago, a little red puppy was born. I didn’t meet her until three weeks later, when I fell in love with a small, sweet puppy who snuggled into my arms and fell asleep.

That may have been a ploy on her part, as that was the last time we saw her asleep until several years had passed.

 Years full of running…

playing with friends…

 

jumping for joy…

leaping up trees…

 watching for us to come home

being a little sister to Rowan…

 

snuggling on laps…

and being a faithful shadow..

I can’t imagine life without this little red dog. She is my companion whenever I slip out at night to savor the starlight or walk under the full moon. She curls quietly beside my chair whenever I sit to read. She has a contagious way of living fully in the moment that helps me see and experience the fullness of life. With all her idiosyncrasies and quirks, she occupies a unique spot in our home, and with all her devotion and love, she fills our hearts.

Happy Birthday, Petra, and may you have many more years of exuberance and joy!

Moving and the Passage of Time

I walk in the bedroom and stop. There’s just a rug, stretching out long on the cleanly swept floor. No beds, no dresser, no end tables. I go back into the dining area and kitchen; tables, chairs, and counters are piled high with old videos, puzzles, a hair dryer, pots and pans, even the yellow baby blanket I wrapped Arielle in 24 years ago.

My parents are selling their farm, and we’re in the midst of sorting and packing. What are they keeping, what do each of us take for our homes, what goes in the yard sale? Much to do, decisions to make, too many questions. Moving is overwhelming.

Keeping busy tackling the to-do list occupies my mind, my energy, my time… and keeps my heart at bay temporarily. But when I step outside for a few minutes, I see the sun warming the tops of the hills across the field, the cows grazing, five crows flying over as they greet the morning, and my heart speaks up with an ache.

I’ve loved this place and will miss it very much, but that is only part of the ache. A bigger part is the unmistakable pain of the passage of time, with the knowledge that it will continue to pass and the fear of what that will bring.

The cows will have to move too, and they won’t come back to this field, but they won’t miss it. They will live and graze in another field, and they will be fine. We all will continue to live in other houses and we will be fine, but we will carry our memories as precious and grieve for what we no longer have. The cows live each day, eating, walking, and sleeping, and then they live the next day, eating, walking, and sleeping. They don’t regret what has passed; they don’t worry about what lies ahead. They eat, walk, and sleep.

We eat, walk, and sleep, also, but we look back and enjoy memories, but also count loss, and look ahead and fear more loss. Moving bolds and italicizes that “time is passing” and we cannot push it far from our minds, as we usually do with the routine tasks and chores of daily life, because the tasks and chores of today are the bold and italic markers of the passage of time.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1

Solitude

There is a contemplative 
in all of us,
almost strangled
but still alive,
who craves quiet
enjoyment of the Now,
and longs to touch
the seamless
garment of silence
which
makes whole.
                                                 Alan P. Tory
I move
around the house, breathing air rich with potential. My thoughts slow, not in
lassitude, but with quiet peace that opens me to the broad expanse of today. I
look around, see sunlight painting patterns on the fir flooring,
Milo basking on the hearth, the meandering stream sparkling through the woods.
Birds sing from time to time, but not often; I hear the near stillness of a
winter day.
Time alone, solitude– words of invitation to step out and in.
Out of the bustle and pressure of rushing toward the future, into the richness
of the present moment. My tattered soul longs for, yet resists the quiet
invitation, clinging anxiously to the
demands of the urgent, even while reaching for the Now.
The
present gently envelops me; my eyes open to the small and the large that I’ve
been missing in the rush. Fingers relax, breathing slows and deepens, colors
catch and hold my eye, smiles dance across my face…
This
hour passes timelessly, I in concert with it. Afterward, my soul once again
whole, I look to the future, now filled with peace and joy. 
Morning Sparkle

Savoring Here and Now

Sitting in the darkened living
room, Stephen beside me, we watch the Christmas tree
lights randomly sequence slowly through varied color combinations–the
result of Stephen’s programming fun last year. Milo is curled on
the hearth, absorbing the fire’s warmth; Petra is snuggled at my feet,
twitching slightly as she dreams, and the other pets are sleeping
nearby.

Christmas
music is playing softly, the fire is quietly crackling. All else is
still. And so we sit, absorbing the fullness of the moment. Quiet inside
and out, reflecting on the gifts of this season. Peace, love, time
together, life, hope. A Savior, freely given, and the gift of faith,
that we may know him. Nothing is lacking. 

I
want to stop time and hold this moment forever. I
know I can’t, though, so I savor it fully, heart attuned to the present moment
in both this time and this place. All of myself here now, with Stephen, with
myself, and with our God. 

Silver

A small question nibbles at the edge of my mind. I turn my back on it and refocus on the book I’m reading. It pushes forward and gnaws more persistently. I swat at it and again force my attention to return to my book.

Suddenly my throat constricts, my breath feels tight and unsatisfying, my insides churn. The question has become a statement, bold and condemning, arising so quickly I didn’t have a chance to do battle. The attack comes in wave after wave, each higher, wider, and darker than its predecessor, and I shrink, confused and overwhelmed.

Then, a small, soft paw lands on my left shoulder. It is closely followed by three other paws and a loud purring aimed right into my ear. Silver—she has taken up her favorite perch, and I adjust my position to accommodate her moderate weight. Her relentless purring drives off the confusion and her velvet touch on my cheek causes me to smile and relaxes much of my muscle tension.

As I feel a soft nose nuzzling my ear, I realize it is March 2009. Those waves are in the past, and my life is now filled with love—from my pets, from the wonderful people in my life, and from God who has brought me to today.