Outside, Inside, and Deep Inside

I have been ever-so unavailable.  Not busy, just occupied.  With gazing in awe at all the winter-buried life bursting up and out of the ground; the rhubarb looks as though it is gradually going to take over the world.  The peach tree is covered in blooms and the strawberry leaves which have bravely remained a silent green all winter are coming alive and alert and verdant.

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I’ve been planting seeds and hoeing the earth and watching the earthworms wiggle.  The skies, oh the skies so mesmerizing as dark clouds crouch at the horizon and then run across the sky, whipping-up wind and sending sideways rain.  All this fuss and fury and beauty-blitzing after the sober quiet of winter; it’s enough to leave me slack-jawed.  Even if it would just be the magnolia trees, heavy with soft pink flowers, even then.

Indoors, the soap kettles are always being filled and emptied and cleaned and filled again. Soaps stand curing and piles of it sit waiting to be clothed and labeled.  My babies are fed, changed, and played with.  The Lord knows the laundry and I make quality time together a habit.

Truly indoors, below the skin and in the soul, the heart, the mind, another scene, another realm of duties and joys.  Radiant joy is there, gratitude and peace.  Also despair, and the prayers that surround it and carry it off as able.  Yesterday I fought despairing thoughts all through the day.  No one had died, I and my family were all healthy; it was just the disorganization and mess that had settled in my home that battered me.  From the attic to the cellar were vast evidence of lack-of-care:  discarded dirty socks, playthings left scattered, piles of papers, construction supplies, and on and on.  Familial negligence, some laziness, some sin; a mess.  I was overwhelmed and angry; “How can they live like this?  Why doesn’t anyone care how things look?  Why did they tell me they cleaned when there’s dishes and dirty clothes under their beds?”.

Then I remembered to pray.

And I simply started.  Started to clean, to organize, one drawer here, one corner there; staking a flag of peace and order in every conquered space.  And God led despair away from my side while I was cleaning; I hardly heard it leave.

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