How it is


I started writing this as my girl lay napping next to me on her bed in BARC in the late morning.  I suspect the meds play a part in making her sleepy, though she said she was too excited to sleep last night, waiting to see me.

I came into Fort Lauderdale yesterday but it’s different these days—we do what’s necessary for her body and those around her to be safe, which means I visit with her at BARC, for a block of time in the morning and another block  this afternoon, not taking her out, especially not keeping her out with me overnight like I used to.  I fly back home tomorrow.

With Maria, there have been so many lessons and each time with her is another. Instead of getting to shed restrictions and do more things with her, for now at least, it’s back to basics. We watched part of a movie on my iPad and we held hands. She asked me to run my fingers through her hair as she fell asleep. Her hand rested on my arm as she slept. For now at least, this much must suffice.

I realized how tightly I’ve bound and put away the grief of those days when she visited us in April.  I let go of that kind of sadness in carefully measured, small bits, because to take it out and look at how much pain was contained in those days is overwhelming. I get to function that way.  But it means I am wrapped up pretty tight.  And when  I see her again,  the only thing that counts is, this is my daughter.  She  breaks open my heart all over again.

The new way is hard. Seeing her at BARC, we can color, watch a Netflix movie, take some short walks. I can watch her nap, as I did this morning. But this afternoon, I sensed that her schedule is really important right now and I have so very little I can give her in its place. So the time was brief and the leave-taking simply devastating for me. I got in the car and drove away; I did what I’ve learned to do: the next thing.  I went to IKEA and got my dad herring and Marabou choclade, and salmon roe spread. And then came back to my friends’ house.

They have a dog named Duke, a dog I wrote about years ago, who still remembers me from when we used to live in SoFla, who loves me enough to bring out his blankie and go round and round me enough to wrap it around my ankles when I come in.  After a while, he and I went out and played fetch, his happy self bounding back to me each time he caught the ball, just happy to have caught it, so extraordinarily willing to be with me, not with artifice or pretense or expectation, just pure playfulness. He was my comfort.

My daughter. Oh my daughter.


Straddling the urban and the rural


Recently, I had a lovely conversation with a friend about what it means to have a life that straddles what goes with an urban existence and what is woven into life in the country.  Sherod and I certainly live in the country and as I walk these days, my friends the cows, always gather to stare at me, sometimes to follow along with me, surely because they hope they’ll get some food from me.

So today, I am at Ascension after the services are all over, preparing to give a class called Safeguarding God’s Children which aims to prevent child sexual abuse in our churches.  I am setting up my fancy equipment in a lovely church in the heart of Montgomery, when I get a text from a parishioner who has a cattle farm not far from where I live in Lowndes County.  I have transcribed it below with permission.  This is what it looks like to live in my particular “both/and” life, a life so much more fun and so much funnier than seems permissible. Sometime soon, I suspect we’ll have us a good cookout at Church of the Ascension. And God bless the bull.

“Hey Rosa. Frank wanted you to know he is bringing a lot of hamburger meat to church tomorrow. He has coordinated with Will and Octavio so all will be well. A huge bull had to go. Hattie Boo”

A Lowndesboro kind of Sabbath time


This Sunday’s Scripture lessons in the Revised Common Lectionary are about observing the Sabbath. I preach on Sunday so I have been reading about the different preparations, the prayers, the ways in which our Jewish brothers and sisters observe the Sabbath, though today is technically, kinda, sorta a day off.  Just that little bit of looking in on the holiness of Shabbat brings quiet with it.

I took my dad to his physical therapy appointment in Prattville today, and drank coffee at Panera’s and worked on my sermon.  Then I came home and picked back up on the cross stitch project I’m working on.  It had been a while since I’d done this kind of work. In the heat of an Alabama summer (98 today, with heat index) that feels like it started too soon, the slow, careful work of sewing fits just right. When it had cooled down in the late afternoon, I set out for one of my walks, listening to Benedict Cumberbatch read Carlo Rovelli’s new book, The Order of Time.  Four miles and 1 ½ hours later, I walked back into the house just as the sun was setting, the beginning of the Sabbath.

A trug of vegetables, onions, new Yukon Gold potatoes, and fruits, including our first peaches, were sitting on my kitchen counter—Sherod’s harvest for the day. Some of the bounty is roasting in the oven, some will get blanched and put up, some I look forward to eating raw and juicy and delicious.  This is actually just a little bit of Lowndesboro kind of Sabbath time. May peace enfold us all this night.