Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Courage and Fragility

I am waiting for words.

I imagine but I do not do:  the simplicity of hand-washing the dishes, finally peeling and freezing the apples, baking the pumpkins, unraveling the rust colored yarn from an old afghan, combing Nora's hair.  Silently.  To speak through motion, through repetition, through stillness, and patience, and watching.

The more fragile I let myself be (I am the master of self-containment), the more courageous I become.  Can this be right?  It must be.  It has to be.

There were deep-throated barks coming from the yard at midnight.  Big dogs.  I could tell this already.  When I opened the door, cold on my legs, I saw two pony-sized neighbor dogs pawing at one of the kittens.  And I yelled and I ran them off, but the kitten was gone, stillness in the grass, the other two mewling from the tree.

This is not the first I've buried, and as my landlord says, nature has a way of taking care of over-population.    I found myself in bed later writing to mom about one of the kittens being "taken out."  And I regretted having said it this way.  It was beyond regret.  There was something wrong in my thinking, something hardened.  I can always tell when something isn't sitting right with me.   I feel a sort of stillness of the blood, like ice drawing a line through my veins.  I told God I was sorry I had spoken so coldly about one of His creatures, one He imagined and made and loved.  I told Him I couldn't let myself feel for this one little kitten because I knew there would be more kittens, more tiny deaths in my life.  And the answer was so clear and so good:  Mourn this kitten, and I will bring you healing when you are ready.  So, I cried.  But I didn't cry all night.  It stopped.  And I knew I had responded the way I had initially wanted to respond but had choked back, all business and shovel.   And it was as He promised.  He never left my side as I let my own heart break so it might continue to love.

I am really just a little seed under the pressure of water and weight and heat.  Inevitably I will need to break open if I am to produce any fruit at all.  Give me strength.  (And You do, even today--three Thank You notes, a card from a friend afar, and a note written in pencil on a torn piece of cardboard left on my desk that simply said:  Just so you know, you are loved.)

How the words arrive.  Alleluia.

1 comment:

  1. Like a seed, we need to be broken open before we can produce fruit. Thank you so much for that thought.

    The words absolutely arrived. Keep them coming. :) I love reading what you write.

    And you ARE loved: very much!