Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It doesn't take that long...

It doesn't take that long...

I hear myself saying this when I have an unpleasant chore.

Like dishes.

Or scrubbing the bathroom.

Or giving the dog a bath.

I say it to my kids when they complain about homework...

Or emptying the dishwasher.

Or feeding the dog.

And is truth.  Most jobs in life...especially the day to day, every single day of your life jobs don't take that long.  They are drips in the steady stream...pebbles on the shore...crumbs on the counter.

So the dog gets a bath; the sheets are changed; the e-mail is answered, a phone call made...and it doesn't take too long.

The seconds and minutes and moments and pieces of my life just fly by as I chip away at small, mundane tasks that don't take that long.  They build on each other, huddle together in a pile, filling all the empty spots of my small task at a time until...

The small becomes big.  The seconds turns into hours...the minutes into days...the moments into memories.

Life doesn't take that's brief and momentary and fleeting and oh so fast.  Babies walk, then run, then rush their way off to college and beyond...and it didn't take all that long.  Moments click together like Legos, building a life...a biography of small happenings.

The hands tick on and on...

I remember a dainty silver watch my sweet husband gave to me when we were dating.  It was nestled in a long box...tied in a ribbon.  I opened the gift in my Grandmother's kitchen in Salona, Pennsylvania.  She watched me open it, curious too.  And then her long intake of breath and quick tears..."oh my, honey girl!"

"Gramma!  Are you okay?"

"Yes.  Yes.  Just.  When you opened it, I saw another watch from a long time ago...sitting just so in the box like that.  It was from someone very special to me.  I don't know whatever happened to that watch."

And now...eighteen years, four kids, and a mortgage life is ticking, ticking...pieces flying together into the string of memories that will surface in my own kitchen someday, with my own grandchildren.  I'll be searching for words to express how the moment takes over my mind...a quick glimpse back into treasured fleeting...gone.

Because life doesn't take that long.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Such quantities of sand...

"The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear."

 -From The Walrus and the Carpenter, by Lewis Carroll

 The last couple of years have felt at times as if I was trying to sweep the sand away from the beach (not sure why I would ever want to do that...but go with it here...for the sake of a goofy illustration).

The house has suffered the most.  All of the sand I cleared ended up on my kitchen floor.

Working full time...taking classes full time...four kids...a huge dog...and a busy weekend schedule have worked their sinister magic on my life.  We have come undone.  I feel much like the oysters at the end of Carroll's poem...eaten up by the very thing that wooed me on to the beach to begin with!

And...also like those oysters...a large job was accomplished one. bite. at. a. time.

Finally, it is done.


The classes are over.

The papers are written.

The exams are through.

Evaluations have been made.

Something amazing has happened here...

I finished something.  I ran the course to the end.

Now I'm not saying there won't be more races to run...far from it.

But this one race...the one that I began in August of 1993 (whoa.)...this race...the one I detoured from to begin ministry, a family...this race...

Is done.

And now...I have this one glorious summer ahead of  Cleared.  Swept clean.  This one amazing summer to make a beachful of memories with four lost children...who have missed their mama as she busily swept the sand off her stretch of shore.

For one sandy summer I will not be college-ruled.  I can let the waves bring whatever they bring.  I'll deal with that in the Fall...or next Spring...or next year.  The Master's can wait a bit more while I let the sand gather here.

Ah, Summer.  Sun on sand...sand on skin...sand and salt and shoes and ships and sealing-wax...

"'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax
Of cabbages and kings...'"

 -Lewis Carroll