This Is One of Them

Sing it Sting. Just as fall inevitably ages to winter, the lot I walk through on my daily route is being primed for a new condo, and the old coffee shop—Mitsy’s—has changed hands. The warm yellow walls have been slicked with gray, and I can’t find the familiar smiles anymore. The sky too is gray, but there are no orange leaves on the tree branches to make a splash. Their boney digits grasp with no respite.

And I… Just as I have changed coats for cooler weather, I have taken off one employer and put on another—different, yet the same. Taken off the bank and the bakery with its bread, put on the uniform of a grocery store clerk. New faces, new merchandise, with the same cash and the same aches—the same human aches.

But I am hopeful. I’m thinking about seeds. I’m thinking about a small life—a small sphere—and how many seeds could be scattered abroad. This is one of them. One seed.

As I write, “this is one of them,” Art and Rose walk by. They are eighty-something and live down the hall of our apartment. Never had children. I came up the elevator one day and they were lounging on the hall couch, Rose with her feet up on the coffee table, Art goading her mischievously, looking like a couple of teens. Does Art ever love a willing ear for his Mennonite jokes.

Then there’s the cacophony of clanging and life that passes down our hall every morning as Dania—single mom dying for a break—takes her two kids to the laundry room, little Tia gleefully riding in the basket, Evan explaining what his snake said this morning.

And then there are words, trying to catch life’s pulse, stringing together syllables and sounds that lead to indelible moments and emotions, speaking the language of the heart. That’s worth getting up in the morning for, I’d say. That’s one of them.

 

Have You Ever…

Have you ever wanted to let it all go, just open up your hands and let it all go? Just let it all float like powder to the ground? I’m talking about possessions, ambitions, pride, ideals; all the things we clutch and lock. I have. Felt like that today.

I’m telling you I felt like that today. Felt like it before. But never thought it was possible.

Till it struck me how easy it is to be with God.

I’ve struggled for most twenty years just to find out how easy it is and have a moment with him, just a moment—

with him.

It’s like waking from a perplexing dream to soft morning light in the bed of my youth.

Let Your Heart Be Light

Christmas is jazz and jingle, old, golden, nostalgic and on it’s way. A few leaves have clung on to the tree boughs, and small patches of sappy snow lie like jigsaw puzzle pieces on the wet grass. Brilliant slabs of sun cut onto the coffee shop floor. Large, sloppy drops fall from the eaves, and the world is alive with wet and light.

I know that it’s only the 10th of November. I also know that many a brow furrows at the thought of Christmas. Loneliness, loss and commercialism make us cynics. They make us angry to the bone. So when I am merry, and greet people with a jovial “hello!” in the season I love, I am met with weary pessimism. I am scolded for my joy. I tuck my joy away, and don’t take it out quite as often. It’s a sad state of affairs.

My husband and I press against each other with rose cheeks on a busy bus. We are talking enthusiastically about our five-dollar Christmas tree garage sale find. “You can have all my decorations. I did it for fifty years and I’m glad to be done with it,” a voice from across the aisle broke in. “They’re selling Christmas decorations before Halloween these days. It’s a consumer’s holiday.”

What about mittens and snowmen and hayrides and gingersnaps and hot chocolate? What about holding hands by the fire? What about love, tenderness, wonder and flushed-faced kisses under the mistletoe? Who’s gonna tell us to let our hearts be light these days?

We so desperately need this medicine. We need a babe in a manger. Christmas makes salubrious sense to me. We need large doses of it to get the blood flowing again.

Life

My skin isn’t comfy today. I have this angst, this unsettledness. I know that I will have to slip on my banking skin tomorrow. I don’t know if I’m ready to wear it. The position I’ve been given is casual CSR, which means 8-12 hours a week. Last week I stuffed my brain full of information, terminology and acronyms until it hurt. So much so that everything started to blend together and get muddled up. I am hoping the minimal hours I get will be enough to solidify the influx of information.

Since I put on my big girl pants and got the bank job, I have come to realize I need to put on my yoga pants every other day and slice bread at the bakery, just so Brad and I can make ends meet. My dear husband has demoted himself at his workplace to get full time work. He worked in computers and cameras with a ragtag group of techies who became good buddies, now he packs shopping carts for ornery cashiers.

I’m looking into waiting tables for a bit of extra coin. What I’ve tried so hard to break free from, to not let define me, still comes back asking for dues. Yes, serving. I feel at times this demanding profession I have shouldered out of necessity has sapped me of destiny.

I was walking home from my interview in high heels today, struggling with grocery bags, grimacing from aching feet, and thinking about the effects of the fall of man. “Through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…” When I got home I sat down on our old green couch, closed my eyes, and let silence enshroud me. I let the day slough off of me. I took a moment to be holy. I took a moment to rest. Is the “cash and bread” of our lives destiny in the breaking or destiny in the making? It could be either.