Mother of God

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

– Luke1:46-47

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Shock absorbers

My husband would never admit it but he is often a lot like me. We sometimes talk to one another for shock value, just to make sure the other is listening. It’s an effective way to measure our attention level.

My husband of 27 years entered the kitchen and stood next to where I was writing at the table. I looked up to see why he was standing still. His eyes met mine as he said, “I never thought it would come to this but I bought some marital aids.”

I put down my pen, turned toward him and said, “I’m listening.”

He took a step back, reached into his pocket and gave me a big smile.

What he produced was not what I’d imagined. I quickly turned my back. I also continued to write as he put in a new set of orange ear plugs.

His shocking behavior had my attention. I have to admit, the joke was effective. Richie walked back outside to blow the leaves and I laughed my ass off, comforted by our sense of humor.

Pug nightmare

Sometimes I write random sentences in my head. Many are orphan thoughts that don’t fit into a larger piece of work:

“I fart so much in the middle of the night, the local bubble factory asked me to work the night shift.”

The process helps me to deflate and fall back to sleep. They are purely hypothetical; I’m a piece of work.

The Art of Production

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.

Confused.

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.

Or rediscovered.

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.

Holy Water for sure

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?

I am a writer whom journals about life, family, New England, everything and nothing and whispers of the Holy Spirit.

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