The Benediction of a Moment

It is not even 8 am, and I hear

the engine of your pickup zooming up the driveway.

You have forgotten something.

Truck door slams, your steps thump across the porch,

the mudroom door opens, closes …

My ears trace your journey through our home,

up the stairs.  You are close enough that I hear you humming

or maybe singing under your breath.

There is a rushing in my chest —

tinkling, playful,

joyful.

I allow myself to receive it —

Gratitude.

You are alive

Your body is strong enough to rise early,

to work,

to run up stairs,

to sing.

Son, I was not sure this day would come,

(Can we ever be sure of days to come?),

but here we are

living

an ordinary day in which you swing a shovel,

work up a sweat in the summer sun.

So many weak, bed-ridden days we have had together, you and I.

We are forever changed.

And this Ordinary day of an Ordinary Life feels unbearably beautiful.

Even more so, when I reflect . . .

Could we have had THIS day, this moment

without all that came before?

Did all those sleepless, trembling, chemo-soaked yesterdays

lead us to this place?

Where we see ordinary as exquisite, dear and remarkable?

 

 

My whole purpose

In a conversation with my 19 year old son today, he told me, “You inspired me . . . ”

And

I did not hear the words that came after

because my brain latched onto those 3 words

I looked at his sisters and brother,

“Will y’all carve that into my gravestone?” I asked

She once inspired her son.

Feeling vaguely pleased with myself

until I realized that I had rudely stopped

hearing my son, interrupted him even.

Chagrinned, “I’m sorry, you were still talking but I was not listening. ”

He said, “I said that you inspired me to get back to work on building that table for my elements collection.”

She once inspired her son to build something.

I just want to lay in this small puddle of contentment,

happy that in this one breath,

I inspired my child to create,

rather than to fracture or tear down.

 

Infinite Christmas

Relaxed around the Christmas table, warm, replete,

all the time in the world to think of bigger things,

we are the privileged ones.

“There are different kinds of Infinity,” my son said.

His brother’s face reflects my own disbelief.

But isn’t Infinity infinity?

Eager, my son jumped up and drew a number line on the dining room chalkboard.

“The Infinite set of all numbers between zero and one

is larger than the Infinite set of all whole numbers,” he insisted.

How can this be?

Surely it is impossible,

a definite boundary,

the boundary beginning with zero and ending in one,

is no boundary at all.

It is both and.

.

.

I like to think that Love is Infinite.

At least some Love is, the cynical part of me whispers, but

Other people hoard something they call Love, yet . . .

Are there different kinds of Love?

That boundary I find impossible to scale,

that wall I build between me and the other,

can Love expand, fill it up and move beyond,

a limitlessness existing within imposed limits?

Easier to understand what is finite, within lines, boxed, defined.

We are primed to expect scarcity —

The beginning and ending of a life,

the last brownie in the pan,

a few dollars in the bank account,

Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches in a terrarium,

laughing together as we pull mystery gifts from stockings,

this is what we know.

 

We speak of Infinity and Love

as if they can be defined and explained.

We do the same with Truth

and Paradox.

My tongue cannot speak of these things,

my lips unable to form their shape,

They are beyond the veil

but I divine their presence,

an umbilical cord connecting me to

Whom I came from,

 

who confined Himself to flesh and blood,

to the margins of zero and one,

yet human life could not restrain

Her

He showed Herself to be

Infinity, Love, Truth, Paradox

with a beating heart, dusty feet, gentle hands,

a tired sigh,

so ordinary to the naked eye

with the vibrations of extraordinary

for the attuned ear.

 

This is also what I know —

If my Love feels small and limited,

let’s say that on a scale of 0 to 10,

I feel caught between zero and one.

And yet,

perhaps,

maybe

my stingy, narrow Love

is also boundless and all-encompassing,

as beyond comprehension

as Infinity between zero and one.

 

There is a luxury

in never getting angry, never showing emotion

a privilege of the powerful one,

the one who treads upon,

who has never been underfoot

 

But the one with the foot on her throat

must get angry to fight

or slowly suffocate,

fight to be heard while

the devout one cuts off her oxygen,

lungs straining to supply logic and words

to her brain

 

Her anger, indignation, sorrow

is judged emotional,

drama,

a lack of control

her own damn fault

for not being content

to find a comfortable spot under the shoe

 

She is shamed for not appreciating

the kindly smile and loving way he

corrects her,

for making him feel uncomfortable

with her struggle to breathe.

 

It is exhausting

this struggle to simply be,

this hope of living in love

when there are so many eager feet,

so many vulnerable necks

 

So much security cultivated by controlling another person’s inhale and exhale.

Scapegoat

They are everywhere.

They won’t go back in.

All this squish and wiggle…

I grab one, and three escape.

They cannot be swept, and now I must hide this ruined broom.

 

I would let it all go,

except for the others who will blame me.

They will frown upon me.

Even in my confidence, they will hold their scorn,

but roll their eyes to each other when I look away.

They will complain about the mess, the slime,

the sound of stickiness.

 

I did something very natural;

the blame should not be at my feet, glistening as they are, with shiny trails.

The fault is his who came before me.

 

Who in their right mind would put worms in a can?

 

Redemption

ticktock

sounds like the End

or Redemption,

maybe they are the same thing

ticktock

I am the mouse running . . . nowhere

marking the calendar, scheduling bloodwork, MRIs, lumbar punctures, chemo,

crossing off these days

longing for The Day.

 

I have my Son here whom I cherish,

Together, we make a doctrine of our present, amputated life

with music and new friends.

We make happy in the moment

but sorrow nudges our periphery,

stretching to a hazy horizon,

a destination where I hope to find

the Father, another Son, a red-haired Daughter, a brown-eyed Daughter.

 

So far away

yet close

sorrow and hope entwined.

You are my bones, breath and blood.  I spill You from my pen

onto my little notebook

while I sit in waiting rooms.

I talk to You in the shower, driving to the store, taking out trash.

All my Words, spoken and written to You, for You, about You.

Perhaps I try to speak You into being

here with me.

 

Your Absence is as real to me

as the person standing beside me in this borrowed kitchen

while I stir the cabbage.

 

Perhaps I hear Your Absence louder

than Your Presence  —

I hope not.

I hope my ears hear

and my eyes see You

clear and subtle

when You share Your heart,

tell me Your story,

show me Your beetle,

play Your song.

 

ticktock

Did you know Time is elastic?

It stretched long these last months,

each moment anorexic without

You

and You

and You

and You.

I want to snap Time back to

our Together in a wooded Eden on the hill.

ticktock

Instead, I wait

ticktock

I wait for our Restored Home on the horizon

while I use my heart, hands and words to redeem now.

A son to his father

POSTED BY: Sidney the Third, in respsonse to A father to his son

 

As long as I have lived, there have always been three,

The great old father, his son, and then me.

And now that the father has moved along

we are apart,

You there, me here,

both a bit confused, both searching

 

I have learned from you what you learned from him,

My two greatest examples to follow – to become a greater man

To care for others over oneself,

To serve, rather than be served,

 

I have watched and learned practical skills –

Beware that innocent-looking capacitor,  or

Don’t bend the pipe too much, it will break

And make sure you weight your hay bales with children

So they don’t roll

 

You are a Protector – teaching, but sheltering

To make sure I did not fall too hard, too far,

Always ready to lift, to help,

To share the burden

To lift what I could not

 

You have prepared me for all that you could,

Yet we feel lost – who could have prepared for this?

What skills could you teach?

What weight could you lift?

 

I know the words you long to speak,

“It’s OK, son.  Don’t worry.  I’ve got this one.”

But you cannot.

 

I have the shovel, and you cannot reach it,

But its OK, Dad.  Don’t worry.  I’ve got this one.

Your part in this battle is done.

 

I can wield the shovel because you showed me how,

You made me work,

Made my hands and arms strong.

 

I can lift this weight that you cannot,

And climb this mountain that you must go around.

But only because of you.

 

You have done your job.

 

I am ready.  I can do it.

 

I love you, Dad.