You give me a better way to live, so I live as you want me to.
– 2 Samuel 22:37
You give me a better way to live, so I live as you want me to.
– 2 Samuel 22:37
When the chicks leave the nest, there’s a relationship dynamic that needs to be rediscovered and rebuilt with patience and a whole new respect for one another. For example, this year I remembered my husband is artistic. Now that I am his aged wife, I admire his commitment and discipline to his most recent medium: oil on canvas.
When we first met I knew he could draw and create. I enjoyed watching him sketch with his younger brother in the dining room or produce strategic military scenarios in the sandbox with his baby brother. Nowadays he and I go on Friday night dates that include a 40-70% off canvas sale or a quick stop to replenish an oil color. Our early Sunday mornings usually consist of old episodes of Bob Ross or the Jenkins. When Richie is in his own makeshift studio, I love seeing his art come to still life.
This past weekend we went into one of our girl’s abandoned bedrooms to view his gallery that is taking shape. Christmas presents and potential future sales adorn the walls. We took our conversation across the hall to our other daughter’s abandoned bedroom, to view all the stored art supplies. My artist husband was like a kid in a candy store. He excitedly counted his canvas inventory, by size, as he considered his next subject.
My more analytical perspective concluded, “At the rate you are turning out finished pieces each week, you still have a two years supply of canvas!”
“But I bought them all on sale!?”, he replied with an appreciation for commerce I wish I’d seen more of over the last 27 years.
“Yes, hon, and I know you’re excited to transform them but your storage costs will break you in the end.” Although I’d considered our gallery ambiance as romantic and thought about the Picasso series, Genius, we’d recently watched, I was unintentionally a buzz kill.
My perpetual inventory comment ruined the creative mood, so we walked outside to enjoy an Indian summer on the deck. Our preparations for winter were viewable at the back of the garage: bagged coal, stacked wood and kindling piles. We milled about watering the plants that were still enjoying the warm weather, rehung the hammock that isn’t quite ready for winter storage and added Halloween decorations to the yard.
I retrieved a fall slate for the back door, came back out on the deck, and as Richie raked wood chips near the railing he announced, “I need another 8×10.”
I became impatient. “Are you kidding me? You’re addicted! Didn’t we just have this 2-year stockpile conversation?”
He looked hurt.
Liked he’d lost respect for me.
“A tarp. I need an 8×10 foot tarp for this last small pile of seasoned wood!”
It’s our dynamic.
It doesn’t need to be rebuilt.
Our relationship is still a blend of old habits and new beginnings. I have a lot of respect for my husband’s hobby but must continue to work on the art of conversation. After all, in our family, the chicks are gone, the cock does more than a-doodle and I am still the mother hen.
When I entered the side of the church, I noticed there was no Holy water. I knew the dispenser was at the front, so I pulled out the inner font to get a refill. I had plenty of time to go back and forth before other parishioners arrived.
At the entrance, I turned my attention to the Holy water vessel in the corner. I pushed the button but the spout was bone dry. I turned to our Pastor, also in the vestibule, readying the other celebrants. He must have seen my unknowing expression, and said, “Let’s take care of that right now. Go to the sacristy and find a bucket. Bring me some water to fill it up.”
I’ve not spent much time in the sacristy and didn’t remember seeing any buckets. Regardless, I headed back into the church to help address what I interpreted as a religious crisis.
Now in the sacristy, I saw songbooks to my left and a closet of robes on the right. The sink was straight ahead but there were no buckets. I spun around: a cross, a bookshelf, a wastebasket, Ahh! a big green watering can.I filled it as fast as the faucet would allow.
I walked as calmly as I could, back down the aisle of pews, with my creative plastic salvation.
I filled the stainless steel vessel and Father approved by saying, “Now go get a couple more of those.”
Back in the sacristy, I hurriedly focused more on filling the green watering can than which way my water spout was tipped. At the half full mark, I realized I was spilling water all over the counter. I reached for the first thing I saw and wiped up my mess with a crisp white piece of linen that was probably already blessed for another occasion.
Knowing the error of my ways, I walked as solemnly as I could, past all the pews filling with parishioners.
I added the contents of my second watering can to the Holy water vessel. Father peeked in and said, “One more should do it.”
The pressure! I couldn’t imagine how Moses or the apostles felt being spoken to by God. I was sweating unholy bullets just trying to fill a water vessel for the local Pastor.
I returned to the sacristy a third time without incident.
Until I started to walk back. The woman that cares for the altar was in the first pew. She had seen my mission from the start, stopped me and said, “We use that for the plants. We put Miracle Grow in there, ‘ya know.”
My heart immediately sank. I wasn’t even done yet and had also slopped up one of her linens in the process. I smiled at her with no answers, or options, and continued past everyone in the church.
I poured my last full watering can into the Holy water receptacle. Father readied to give a quick blessing while I considered what the woman said to me.
– Nobody will be drinking it.
– Father was aware of my bucket choice.
– We resolved the situation in record time.
After the blessing, I put the stainless steel cover back on top of the Holy water dispensary. I refilled the font insert and replaced it at the side of the church. I considered how Holy water renews faith. Some believe it also repels evil. Maybe this batch would even help miracles grow?
When there’s need to focus on something besides the daily news, that brings back a multitude of negative thoughts, so you focus on inane things, take a walk and end up hatching a new memory.
Thank you to my husband for helping me forget, showing me how to heal and gifting me a seven-mile egg, the result of which is a beautiful testimony to my newest Valor collection.
Physical suffering is torture.
Mental suffering is worse.
…continual pauses in life –
– live it again
There’s no stopping it.
The scene unfolds again and again.
There’s no control.
The memory stays.
The tape plays and plays.
Can’t shut off.
Can’t throw out.
An unwanted reminder.
Not just a night –
Enough then –
You are the cause.
Worse than torture –
And you have no idea.
Don’t hurt me anymore.
Don’t rule over me.
Don’t rule over anyone.
If someone says, “I love God”, but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Expose my heart string…
and I will tell you a story.
I have a train friend that was born and educated in the Middle East. We know one another professionally and continue to learn about each other’s family and background.
My electrical engineer sometimes seat mate is married and has a new granddaughter.
On the flip side, he knows I have two daughters and grew up in the town where I board the train.
I explain that my husband grew up here too.
He had more questions and I answered:
“Yes, our families know one another; Richie and I went to grade school together.”
He concludes his thoughts and restarts our conversation on a new track, “Oh! So it was an arranged marriage? ”
Our two very different upbringings are translating across the miles.
Public train transportation is the way to travel into the city if you want to ditch the traffic, read a book or fall asleep behind the wheel. Train commuting is a type of home away from home. The MBTA is not the way to travel if you desire consistently being on time, don’t like crowds or require privacy.
The 6:42 a.m. train was a unique scenario as we boarded the now 7:02 a.m. dark passenger cars in Shirley, MA. There was no battery power, lights or air conditioning. The passengers grumbled as they boarded their unreliable steel pool cars. One man in our boarding line read the riot act to the conductor. Said man was riding the rails to catch a 9:15 flight out of Logan. I think half of us were chuckling at the psychotic traveler; he wouldn’t have made that flight on a good day. He was already cutting it way too close for morning Uber traffic, and airport security checks, even if he did arrive in Boston by 8:00. The conductor told him the best bet was to wait for the next train. There were no guarantees and the crew was already hoping this engine would make it to North Station.
Reassured on every level, I made my way to the top of the double-decker.
We pulled into the next station braking with a jolt. Nobody on the train understood what that had to do with no battery. The Ayer passengers embarked complaining about both the lack of power and the man that ran in front of the train. Evidently, someone had crossed the tracks to get to their platform. When the man realized he dropped something, he ran back in front of the oncoming train to pick it up. Everyone waiting on the platform thought they were going to witness a fatal accident. As they boarded, the train was still dark but their trauma was visible. The situation added more time before we were underway again.
The next stop is right off the interstate, and the largest pick up. About 200 people boarded our moving cave and we were on our slow way again without incident.
We arrived at the next depot with incident. Passengers boarded and then the train stayed on the platform. We weren’t moving again. Everyone hedged their bets to either disembark and reboard the next train or wait it out and hope the situation improved. The experienced group I was sitting with knew better, got off the snail and lined up for the following train that would be pulling in any minute. About 300 people were back on the platform and headed to the crossover when the headlight of the the savior train appeared.
The crowd had words for each other as people tried to hurry in front of the next. Everyone jumbled together trying not to be last. The mayhem was railroad “musical chairs”, knowing not everyone would get a seat.
The rest of the ride was uneventful. We were already an hour behind schedule and so many people were standing up, the cars looked more like a subway. The situation could not possibly get worse but the earlier commuters remained visibly on edge.
This second train would arrive on time, so the last few standing passengers weren’t otherwise effected. They had lights and air conditioning. The commuters just outside the city had it made, they just didn’t know it. One woman, standing next to my seat, couldn’t understand the frenzy.
She remained positive, “The railroad does get us there.”
“Yes. This is still better than driving in traffic.” another Cambridge passenger agreed.
“Right? A few less seats does not make a difference.” declared the first.
A dangerous remark from someone that had just boarded in Belmont. I was already on the 2nd train, after the first arrived 20 minutes late, and was an hour behind schedule after offloading and reboarding with 300+ of my most intimate friends.
The morning commute included a bigger crowd, no privacy and I was late. Yes, I had avoided traffic and read a large part of my book. But no, I couldn’t fall asleep, even though it was so much like home. There had been a lot of excitement with the lights off.
Late Sunday morning my husband returned from taking his mother out to breakfast. With the day promising 80’s sunshine in mid-September, Richie said he’d be outside. He saw my heart was elsewhere, “I’ll be out in a bit. I’m writing.” He knows me too well, recognized that was an indeterminate amount of time, and took advantage of the situation. When I finally went out on the deck, I felt betrayed by him, her…and a fellow writer: