Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Notes from the inside of a rainbow

While I was driving the other day, Emeth chirped in the backseat about how the leaves of autumn made him feel like we were "living inside a rainbow." At the stop-light, I quickly scribbled these words on the back of my hand. How apt they were in describing our lives at the moment.

If you want to get me ranting for a while, try saying something like "this is not a black and white issue, there is a gray area." I would rebel against the rigidity of these options and talk your ears off about how God did not create the world in black and white or shades of gray. He splashed onto the mountains and threw into the oceans a spectrum of colors, billions of shades, patterns, textures, nuances, and contrasts. Not merely black and white or gray. Just because we can't see them or understand them does not make them "gray area."

Yes, indeed. That would get me ranting for a while.

Khesed now lays asleep across my lap. His slightly parted lips, each strand of his eyelashes, and his warm, soft breaths fill me with wonder. The house is quiet while they are asleep, and I can blessedly hear my own thoughts. These moments melt away like chocolate ice cream, dark and bitter. I savor each spoonful knowing the hustle and bustle of dinner time will soon descend upon us like tart lemon sherbet. And when I am rocking a crying baby in the twilight, I know that the sun will come, and there shall be coffee. My days are like a high towers of ice cream. I prefer some layers more that others.

Emeth's fish died. It is hard to believe Emeth named him Jolay Dalay two years ago. Early last week, he hid under a rock and went to sleep forever. The day he died, Emeth refused to run. Instead, he sat under the trees and thought about his fish. He drew a portrait to say goodbye and went to bed that night with a lump in his throat.

We had a funeral the next day. We placed Jolay Dalay in a tiny red coffin. Before we covered him with dirt, Emeth read the story of creation and we gave thanks for the gift of life. The stuff animals gave their condolences, along with a smiley baby. It was a glorious service, blessedly short because of the cold, and everyone cheered up and cuddled afterwards.

Life has been quite intense. It is never just one thing or one person at a time, but it is everything and everybody all at once. Nevermore alone, nevermore apart. Here, in the quiet stillness, I want to record a snapshot of this craziness, these layers of swirling colors, these autumn days, tart and bitter and sweet.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Brother ass

The sight of the loaded dishwasher has never been so pleasant.

I've been down with mastitis these past two days. I was really, really sick. Two things that I accomplished yesterday: nursed Khesed, laid across the living room floor. My head throbbed. My body shivered. I mumbled short instructions to the boys. They lent me their blankets and pillows, and covered me over and over again, which was really sweet. They had pasta, cereal, and bread -- for two days straight. They were quite happy.

When I was laying there, delirious, I thought of women in famine, women in refugee camps. What do they feed their children when they are down with mastitis and their pantry is not stocked up with ready-to-eat dried goods? I kept thinking of my mother, coming into the room and asking me to eat some porridge. I remember that though I did not have an appetite, sticky rice and soy sauce was comforting. I miss my mom. I wonder whether the boys will think of me when they are all grown up, and sick. (There I go again, being all morbid.)

I turned the corner this evening, elated when I was able to stand for more than a minute or two. Praise be to God. Tonight, I am a free woman.

In some of his correspondences, C.S. Lewis signed off as "Brother Ass." This was what he called his body.
Ass is exquisitely right because no one in his senses can either revere or hate a donkey. It is a useful, sturdy, lazy, obstinate, patient, lovable and infuriating beast; deserving now the stick and now a carrot; both pathetically and absurdly beautiful. So the body.
I often take my Brother Ass for granted. Pain reminds me that it is there, and how I am to be grateful for it. My body is a working donkey. I'd like to imagine it is happiest when I use it for the sake of others. My body is a tool, not some art display in a museum. So, by the time I die, if this body is a little dinged and dented, I will consider them my marks of honor.