Saturday, January 22, 2011

A String of Ordinary Days

I’ve been pondering life lately, likely caused by a looming, landmark birthday.

I have come to understand that my life is a strand of gold, fine and precious and filled with dozens and dozens of ordinary days; I do the shopping, I do the cooking, I wash the clothes-although I do not iron; I’m a mom; I’m a grandma; I’m a wife and daughter. I’m a Sunday school teacher, a gardener, a would-be farmer. Nothing one would consider special yet these things, while ordinary in their ordinariness, are anything but ordinary.
Like the oyster with an ordinary piece of sand, we take the ordinary days and create beauty and joy.

A day at the beach with sand in our hair and between our toes becomes a glowing pearl in our string of days; a kite flown at the park, an ice cream cone on the patio; the whispers of a child playing hide and seek in closets and cupboards; all of these ordinary events create more pearls and lengthen our string; polishing them as we go.

Heartache and sadness take away some of the glow, but can only break the string if we let it; some laughter and giggles, love and tenderness, and the glow becomes vibrant once again.

After my brother died, I hungered for ordinary days; I longed for the averageness of life to resume. It has. As the first anniversary of his death is marked this week, I realized that the string never really broke at all, but has been fortified with faith, and we go on; not letting the complacency take root again is a daily routine, not taking anything for granted again is a continual process, but we try.

I have tried to treasure every grain of sand in my growing string of pearls, and endeavored to make extraordinary my string of ordinary days.

I'm taking it one Ordinary Day at a time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Old Friends

I had intended to post about winter, but that will have to wait; we lost a dear friend on New Year’s Day and I have to tell you about him.
His name was Meshach, and he was 13 ½ years old.

Meshach came to us as a mewling,  at around sixish weeks old; our youngest son, Ethan, was just one year.

His mother was a pure bred Siamese; his father some old neighborhood Tom who happened to court his mother one winter’s night.

My husband’s sister was the owner of the Siamese, and we were offered to “go see" the kittens; what fun! I love babies of all types; “let’s go” I said!
I think there were 8 kittens; I’m not sure. We sat down and let them crawl all over us. They lost interest rather quickly; all except one. He lay down next to my husband and cuddled up close; he’d made his choice.
We had no other choice, we took the tiny thing home; he survived the 6 hour car ride from Utah to Colorado nicely, getting lost amid the bodies and baggage to emerge happily with his new family.

Meshach and Ethan became fast friends; Ethan would stuff the cat in a cooler or in a suitcase; I would ask “where is Meshach?” “We’re playing” my toddler would exclaim. “You have to let him out!” “We’re playing!” After a couple of go rounds, the container would be opened and dear Meshach, sleeping on the bottom, would look up at us as if to say “Are we done already?”
Ethan would pull the cat across the room by his tail; “STOP!” I would holler, and he would; the cat would just sit there, waiting for the next round of “Pull the cat by the tail”; nothing, literally NOTHING, would faze him.
Meshach would tend all of the other animals--we are a multi-animal family here; washing the babies, holding them down for their baths; mothering everyone. Strange for a male cat I was told; not so, he learned from another male cat, but that’s another story.

He was quite the mouser in his glory days as well, catching eight-EIGHT mice in one day (OK, so we lived in a drafty but glorious old farmhouse; there were mice). One never feared; Meshach was on the job.
Meshach got old; he lost his inside manners, and had to become an outside cat. He did well for a while, sneaking in for a snuggle every now and again; the people he owned looking the other way.

In the last year, we could tell he was failing, but he couldn’t be trusted inside, so he was alone in his final moments; something I will always regret.
We lost a beloved dog about three years ago, his name was Bear; Bear and Meshach were best friends. My daughter asked if I thought Bear and Meshach were together again.

I told her I absolutely believed they were!

Farewell beloved friend.