It's not as odd as it sounds...

Prayer happens everywhere, even in the tanning bed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The joy of cockroaches...

The most important person in my life isn't here... she's far away. And I haven't seen her in years. Maybe 18 years. I would give a lot to be even an hour away. I think I'd get insight and advice and encouragement from her that I'd want to drink in daily like the MacAlister's  unsweetened tea that used to have me in it's grip.

She's important to me because, through her blog... the most beautiful blog I've ever seen ( I have lived her life, or as much of it as she'd let me. And I've realized a lot of things about me - good and bad. I admire her in more ways than I've admired almost anyone in all my 47 years of life.

Ironically, her name is Karen, too. But right now, at this very moment in time, except for knowing completely the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, there is little else we share. A year or two ago there were a lot of things that we could discuss that we'd laugh about and realize the commonality in all of it. But her world has since been turned upside down and well only I am upside down. Interestingly, I get the impression that in spite of her world she is anything but upside down; she's standing firmly on her own two feet.

I know, if she were to comment on any of this she would remind me that it's not her that is standing so firmly but the Holy Spirit in her which is all the more reason that she is important to me. When I read what she writes I know that everything about her is focused on Christ. I know that the perspective she takes daily is because Christ lives in her and I know that she lives an "in spite of" life because she has an eternal perspective that has left her free of the hindered life. She has walked through the narrow gate and down the narrow road and although I know that there were times she was teetering on the edge, she persevered and has since found her balance and no longer looks to the left or to the right but straight into the eyes of Jesus.

She has encouraged me in more ways than time allows me to say. One thing though, I am taking more pictures. She is a masterful photog and I marvel at her work. I can produce occasionally good pictures of my kids and the shocking "Wow, that picture turned out pretty good" photograph once or twice a year, but she... well, she's amazing. And she's artsy-craftsy, in the way I wish I was. She's made me want to have pictures of things that bring me joy on my hard drive just to have around "in case". So I spent my very early morning taking pictures of stuff that may be meaningless to you but not so much to me. Or pictures that I know I will want to place strategically in my future blog posts.

I hope she sees my adding more pictures to my blog as a compliment to her and not as "copying". Nah, she won't even consider it from a negative perspective... I think she'll be happy for me that I am storing pictures away to bring me joy later. I think she will be really happy to know that what she thinks are her simple words about her struggles with life, the joys, the pain, the adventures, the inconveniences, all give me in a very odd way, a glimmer of hope that when all is said and done I too will wake up one morning and be able to find happiness in cockroaches.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening...

Whose woods are these I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

No one would argue that this Robert Frost poem is most likely one of his best. Tonight, it became the definition of my life. Until tonight, I couldn't articulate why I have felt the way I have and why I seem to fight who and what I know I am.

Tonight, I was simply watching Criminal Minds. A show that I really like but I find gets increasingly disturbing every season. At the end of each show the character most focused on throughout that episode has a short soliloquy and often ends it with a famous quote. This night the show ended with "But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep." And suddenly, in the midst of ironing one of the 2500 shirts piled on the chair beside me, I began to cry. Well, that's how it started anyway but as the tears began to flow, the complete and total understanding of what I had just heard sunk in and crying turned into weeping.

I have this poem in a children's book that is beautiful but I couldn't bear to take the time to weed through the hundreds of books lining the shelves of our dining room turned library, I ran to the computer to look it up.

And as I read I remembered all the bizarre explanations of what Frost meant by "this" and "that". What a way to ruin a great poem. No, I am convinced I know exactly what the rider on that horse was doing.  He was a man of action. One that was typically in demand and on the move. Obvious, because his horse was confused by the premature end to their mission.

It wasn't an end at all though, it was a respite, it was a wish that bubbled up from the depths of his being. He had been there before; he had ridden past that place many times. But on that night, that deep, dark night, the snow reflected off the moon in just the most wonderful way that even he, a man of many responsibilities couldn't resist.

And he stopped...

He stopped and took it all in.

He stopped, took it all in and realized that he'd been missing a lot. He realized that there was more to his world than what he knew living the life that he chose to live. He realized that should he have the time to slow down, breath deeply, and really look at the beauty of the world around him, that somehow it all might be a little different.

And yet...

He couldn't succumb to the temptation. He had made promises and a man of action, mission, and honor (which he must have been because he rode away from pleasure for work) must not sit idly by in a dream world but must forge ahead to fulfill the commitments he had made. And he appeared to do so without resentment or hesitation.

And what brought me to tears? Realizing that I am that man but that I don't have the honor that he had. I have made those commitments; my own important commitments. What I do have is the resentment and a hesitation that only exacerbates the helpless feeling I am currently wrestling with.  I want those commitments to go away and I want to stay basking in the beauty and quiet and unencumbered nature of... well, nature... and my own selfish desires.

I want more than my requisite 15 min of vitamin D each day, but home-school beckons.
I want to sleep later than 6am regularly, but the puppy whines.
I want to do what I want, go where I want, eat out whenever I want, but the children, the husband, and
the budget require my presence and self-restraint.

I want to sit out in the woods on a deep, dark, snowy evening, wrapped in a warm blanket with a huge cup of hot tea watching the snow glisten off the moonlight... alone... in complete quiet... for an amount of time of MY choosing ... lost in my OWN thoughts...

but I have promises to keep
       and miles to go before I sleep
              and miles to go before I sleep.