There is both more and less to say than ever. I won’t describe myself as a spectator but I am mindful that my ability to influence the direction or outcome in any significant way related to ministry or world events is, at best, very limited. I don’t have the relationships here in Lowndes County, and I cut the ties with Fort Lauderdale. I get glimpses, both here and there, of challenges and opportunities and as much as I’d like to wade in and engage, I can’t. For now, that is a very, very good thing.
What I can do is right in front of me. My dogs are better but neither is back to 100%. When Sherod called early this morning I only had to say a few words for him to say, “you sound all stressed up”. I was. Earlier last week, I moved upstairs to the large room over the garage because our bedroom is the first place getting renovated. This morning I came downstairs and slammed into a wall of stench. Boo had left me a present on the kitchen floor last night. A bit later, I went out with the dogs and Daisy hunkered down to do her business but some was left half-hanging out of her. No amount of effort worked to finish the job. I was headed into the house to get a washcloth to help her clean off when she made a mad dash and slipped in ahead of me. She proceeded straight to the rug in the front room to do some serious (and seriously disgusting) carpet surfing. I really wonder about this sustained metaphor in my life right now. At the very least, I sure am having to clean up a lot…
On the other hand, while I was out with the girls this morning, that fall breeze with the edge of chill in it wrapped around me. This weekend I did some more work on the bed where I will plant some of my roses next spring. I have mixed compost, and good soil in with the clay, and covered it over with pine bark mulch. I’ll do that at least once more over the next few months and hope to be able to do my planting in late March. But for now, I get to anticipate, and imagine, I have to allow the earth to lie fallow for a while.
And my new cat. My sweet, new cat. Maria and I have renamed her so we now have a set: Spot and Dot. Dot is my faithful companion when I am out gardening and most evenings, I sit outside and she comes and gets on my lap. Regularly, she moves closer and closer to the house. She is spending most of her time upstairs on the deck, though occasionally, she lies under a tree next to the house. Weather forecasters and the Farmer’s Almanac are calling for a cold winter. I am hoping and trusting that the cold will be a way of bringing her further into our family life.
I am still moved by the way our little brood comes together at night. I expected Daisy join me in the other room and she has. It is harder for Boo to get upstairs, but she makes the effort most nights. I had thought Spot would prefer to keep hanging out downstairs, in the part of the house that’s more familiar to her, but that isn’t the case—it’s a veritable parade up the stairs each night at about 9 o’clock. Then, without fail, at about 4:30 in the morning, Spot nuzzles up to my face, settles on my chest and begins purring and making biscuits. Not long after that, we stumble and tumble down the stairs to start a new day. Most days, I go ahead and feed the girls first and then make my coffee, but occasionally, I ignore their Jedi mind control games and get my coffee first. All three of them have no compunctions about sitting in an almost perfect semicircle in the kitchen looking at me a bit accusingly while I grind my coffee, and do the rest of the liturgy to the Coffee Gods.
I don’t quite know what to make of all this goodness as the world around me burns with rage and horror. I pray a lot. I wait and listen for what God is calling me to next. I am especially aware that this is Sherod’s last Monday in Fort Lauderdale, that Sunday he will say his final goodbyes, Monday he will visit with Maria and Tuesday he will be here. This growing season of solitude is almost over.