Friday, April 04, 2008


For me, blogging is an exercise in being truthful and doing it well. But sometimes I don't go back and finish stories on here, largely because in my head I've said what I came to say and I think that going on and on about the same topic is boring. And sometimes I just want to say "ouch" in a thousand words or less and know that someone out there heard me, sometimes I want to make a joke out of minor irritations, occasionally I want to be profound, and, very occasionally, it's about self discovery.

Being in the throes of life means it is often complicated. Raising four boys is by itself fraught with headaches, and even the best husband on the planet will occasionally drive a woman crazy because "best" doesn't mean he remembers to pick up his socks or record every check he writes. Then there's all the struggles of making ends meet on a working class income. Add to the mix my belief that it's my God-given mission to provide for the animals that cross my path (five dogs and six cats--all but one rescued from one thing or another and most of them now middle aged or more) and this writing thing and you get an interesting stew and never, ever a dull moment. What's that saying? I'll sleep when I'm dead? I think that applies here.

Debby accidentally sensitized me to the fact that perhaps I should summarize the conclusions of a few recent events. Not so much for anybody reading, but because I need to say outloud what God has been revealing to me, if nothing else to solidify it in my heart and mind.

So here it is, moving backwards in time:

Solomon, is very, very slowly improving. But I'm not sure if it's because he's learning to handle his body in a new way or if he's healing. He's still wobbling and sometimes stumbles when he gets in a hurry. It hurts to watch him--he's always been such a graceful animal, but he's surprisingly upbeat--keeps wanting me to throw tennis balls and sticks for him and is constantly looking to me to answer the question, "What's next?". His determined joy is contagious. If you haven't figured it out, he and I share an uncommon connection borne of many years of training, "working" and playing together. If he was human, we would finish one anothers sentences.

We still miss Random. For a week after she died, we left her kennel sitting empty with the door open because we couldn't bring ourselves to put away her bedding or move another dog in. We buried her under a cedar tree at the edge of the yard and put a wooden cross over her grave with her name on it and the words "Loyalty Undeserved" burned into it. To be honest, I'm not big on graves or marking them or visiting them (humans or pets). But Random was different. She deserved to be noted.

My father--who is wealthy and lives at some distance from us--very, very occasionally sends money (like three times in the last two years--and never before that). This time his unexpected check arrived just in time to help pay for the hot water heater. Thank you Dad. Thank you God.

The replacement microwave is running well; it's ugly and slow, but it defrosts meat, melts cheese, and steams veggies. The vacuum cleaner is still picking up dirt better than any vacuum I've ever had, and, considering the fact that it's survived six years in this house with four boys running it (unlike its probably five or six predecessors), that's something. Fortunately, the few carpets we have in this house are low nap so we don't really miss being able to raise and lower it. Minor, minor stuff and not worth losing sleep over.

It's been a slightly challenging few weeks, but in truth, our problems are pretty small by comparison to so many around us. But whenever there's a trend like this of things going wrong, one on top of another, I do find myself in prayer, asking God what it is he wants me to see. The "reply" I've been getting has been a strange one though. It is "Say thank you."

Say thank you? Say thank you for what?

"Just say thank you."

So I've been doing just that. And what I've discovered is a small but growing well of continuous gratefulness for everything followed by the realization that Life is very, very short. And Fragile. And if I'm not careful I'll get so bogged down in the struggle and the headaches that I'll miss the many joys that come with it.

Ah. There. Now I've done it.


Scotty said...

On the whole, and in principle, I tend to agree with your last couple of sentences.

I asked a Christian friend of mine about the power (or usefulness) of prayer when times are tough; the response he gave me was that all prayers are answered but that sometimes the response is no or be patient, I have plans for you.

Fair enough.

I'm nullifidian by nature so my views on life are fairly pragmatic, I guess.

If I can offer anything at all, Mary, it would only be that you resist the entirely natural urge to see the negative in things. I certainly can't offer anything that would be spiritually enlightening to you but I can say (from that pragmatic point of view) that, while it's often harder to find a positive aspect to something, it's not impossible, and the joy you speak of has its own rewards, yes?

Obviously, I'm not a praying man, but if I was, I would. The best I can offer is a chin-up, hang in there, and try to find a positive?

Thinking of you and hoping you can find some peace/resolution on certain issues.

debby said...

Oh, Mary, I am so very glad. God IS in the details. I'm very glad that you noticed. The gratitude that comes from that realization is what makes a joyous life.

Mary Paddock said...

Thanks Scotty. We'll keep looking up here.

Debby--so true. :)