I awoke this bitter cold morning to a hush. Not much stirring inside or outside. Missouri broke record cold temps overnight, a whole 10 degrees this November 12. Little stirring in the neighborhood as school was called off and commuters leaving late for work. An early season snow storm set the whole area in an icy mess late yesterday. Typically I would be in the shower by now, focused on my 9-hour day ahead at the office. But I was attending the funeral of a colleague who suddenly passed 5 days ago. I prayed for a blessed day despite needing to say “goodbye” to this friend later this morn.
I was blessed with the song birds coming to the feeder this morning. Chirping and feasting. Shadows of the birds, feeder, and perches lingered in the window panes. The contrast of light and dark resembled life and death. Guess which one wins? “He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces … But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Isaiah 25:8 & 1 Corinthians 15:37. The warmth of the guest bedroom lured me to a nap after the funeral this sunny afternoon. I awoke knowing my life and my death is in His hands like my friend, his wife, and his son.
This past weekend was a reunion with three of my high school classmates. We recalled those days many years ago, and laughed all weekend. Endless fun, without any men, children, work, alcohol, or drugs. High on life. I have had the need to connect to my childhood outside of my family of origin. So much is a fog, just glimpses of faces and scenarios. The past class reunions are minus familiar friendly faces. We had about 500 graduates in our class. So I sought three classmates I am connected to on Facebook, where we seem to share the same interests and connect with our comments on each other’s posts. I remember well all three. One friend is an authentic pal from elementary school, another is quite the comedian then and now, and the other illuminates peace to anyone in her surroundings.
We reserved the entire country inn in a small town. The host and hostess accommodated us well with a bonfire, plenty of bedding options, and a delicious breakfast. We grabbed lunch first at a unique BBQ diner with a resident pig sleeping in a stall. After lunch we stopped at a local antique store. The antiques were as old as us. We visited Big Spring, a natural spring in the Ozarks of Missouri. I came across a metal disc right on the cliff ledge near the spring flowing from the Current River. It said “U.S. Geological Survey Bench Mark”. According to Wikipedia, “the USGS (United States Geological Survey) was created, by a last-minute amendment, to an act of Congress on March 3, 1879. It was charged with the ‘classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain’. This task was driven by the need to inventory the vast lands added to the United States by the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Mexican-American War in 1848.” This bench mark has some kind of significance, probably either a elevation or earthquake marker. My curiosity will have me research until I know the facts.
I felt like this was a bench mark weekend for me. I had never done this, invited old childhood friends to gather for an overnight. We all did not hangout together as a gang in high school, but knew each other. None of us belonged to cliques. I felt a bond would form as we came together now. I have gone on women’s retreats, but this was a different kind of retreat. This weekend rendezvous confirmed we had so much in common. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s. Childhoods and schools in St. Charles County, Missouri. Troubled love relationships. Divorce. Made better choices with age and wisdom. Faith. Caretaking. Deceased parents. Mourning. Parenthood. Grand-mothering. Jobs. Thrift. Hobbies. Strength. A confident beauty that a 59-year old woman possesses despite it all. The differences were fewer. We share a sisterhood. The “plump sisters (PS)” vow to meet up again in about 3 or 4 months for another destination, maybe another bench mark weekend.
“Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.”
~ Robin Benway, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June
I am a planner by nature and vocation. Letting things go for a whole day is not easy. I think the Lord designed the Sabbath for a reason. I am not faithful to take that day of rest each week. And it catches up sooner or later. I have a quiet time each day where I meditate, pray, and just sit in the quiet. But a whole day of this refreshes my body and mind. My spirit needed it, too.
At my little cottage house I created my boudoir, designed with a comfortable chaise and vintage forget-me-nots such as comfy pillows, a lace-paneled screen, brimmed hats, scarves, hosiery, aprons, gloves, a pearl-beaded clutch, and special evening attire. It is tucked in one corner of my husband and I’s large bedroom. I turned on the mood lights picking green to illuminate my boudoir matching the plush green outside the window this summer season. It invited me for an afternoon nap, a day of rest from my weariness. The dark memories of days from over 20 years ago fainted away. “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” ~ Psalms 116:7. The pitter-patter of the rain on the window panes serenaded me to sleep.
A week’s vacation is finally coming next week. And a retreat may be in order for this autumn. But also a sabbatical. Traditionally, this is a 1-year recess for every 7 years worked. I cannot see this happening until I retire from full-time employment. So maybe a whole month off next summer, before I move into another chapter of my life’s work?
On several occasions I have had an older gentleman ask me “where did you come from” or “from what place are you from”. He forgets what I told him the last time, so he asks time and again “whence you come from?”. Here is the definition of the word “whence” and the use of this phase …
from whence (adverb)
from what place or source.
from whence (adverb)
from which; from where.
- to the place from which.
- as a consequence of which
In the physical realm I came from my mother & father, who met at the grocery store chain they both worked at in the mid – late 50’s, married in 1958. I am their third child. Their firstborn is my older brother by 17 months. And then came my identical twin sister, born 7 minutes before I. The doctor and my parents were not expecting me, as my mother did not show signs have being pregnant with twins. Remember ultrasound was not used back in 1960. Right before my twin sister was born, they felt what they thought might be a “tumor”, but lo and behold, it was me, a 2nd baby barely over 5 lbs. My parents waited, and my little brother followed 3-1/2 years later. Mom said “if the pope wanted her to have another baby right after my twin sister and I, he can raise them”. Born and raised in Missouri, we lived in a small town subdivision for my first 8 years, and then lived on a tree farm in the same county for another 10 years before moving across the state to go to college.
In the spiritual realm, I am a child of the Living God, predestined for His wonderful plans. “In Him we were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will … having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit … live a life worthy of the calling you have received”, the book of Ephesians tells us. This is where I come from, from our Father, Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
How do you escape from this sometimes crazy world? “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us. Being thankful is one way to escape from overwhelming thoughts and situations. You say, “that is a challenge right now”. I know. I experienced one of those days today. But more importantly, woman warrior, what recharges you with more resilience, courage, and purpose? Is it being nestled under a comfy quilt with a book or the Bible in one hand and a cup of steamy tea in the other? Is it a brief foray with an art medium or craft you are developing? Writing or making music? Is it an afternoon out with a friend, or date night with the hubby? Or maybe a whole weekend away or at a retreat? Whatever it is, just get there. Make it a priority, plan it, and the escape from this crazy life will come. Go ahead, do it, and giving thanks all the way through … I knew you could.
In everything you do, stir in love. In your cooking, baking, cleaning, fixing, budgeting, planning, giving, working, playing, resting, & relating … stir in love. Every day love unceasingly!