August 3, 2016 | My Jottings
I woke up this morning five minutes before the alarm was set to go off at 5:43. I reached over in the semidark and patted Millie, who was sleeping curled up in a circle on Michael’s side of the bed. I don’t just spring out of bed anymore like I used to. My knees are stiff and seem to have little knives stuck in them, every tiny bone in my feet shows up for roll call (“Ten hut!”… “First metatarsal! Present – SIR!”… “Fifth metatarsal! Present – SIR!”… “Proximal phalanges! We’re all present – SIR!”… “Navicular bone! Present – SIR!!”) and my dry eyes do their own sort of complaining that I’m making them perform so early in the morning. You’ve heard the trendy phrases like “Hey girl, fifty is the new thirty!” or “Sixty is the new forty!” I’ll jump on that bandwagon and offer my version: “Baby, fifty-eight is the new seventy-six!” Because for about fifteen minutes each morning, I could swear that’s how old I am.
Yesterday was the eighth and final week of the summer Bible study that meets at my place each year. A group of the dearest women have been gracing my home for about thirteen years now, and we finished up our study of Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place with a simple luncheon. We watched the last segment of the movie, discussed the last of our questions from the final two chapters of the unforgettable, truly life-changing book, and joined around the table for Cobb Salad, Spicy Grape Pasta Salad, slightly dry Lemon Bundt Cake, hearty Dakota Bread, and strong, real Dutch coffee. It felt bittersweet to me, as endings always do.
Sara whipped up a little centerpiece for us (although I wish I had thought to take a photo when the table was set, or even better, when everyone was gathered around it), and I put a little Delft windmill there because the Ten Boom family was from Holland.
I have come to love and treasure these women and what they bring into my home and our group just by their very presence. When one had to miss because of a child’s wedding or a trip to Canada or due to illness, the void was felt, and we prayed for them and asked Jesus to fill in that gap and to draw them near, in a way. Deb, Kristi, Kay, Dawn, Connie, Laurel, Fiona, Sharla and Sue shared such deep, encouraging and enlightening answers from their study each week. It felt like a feast as we sat in my smallish living room on Tuesday mornings, partaking of the beauty the Lord opened our eyes to. I love how the Lord indwells His people, and that very life in them brings different gifts and manifestations of His love and wisdom and power in individual ways. So it feels a bit sad and empty when our study comes to an end each year.
Aren’t these little cardinal salt and pepper shakers lovely? A thoughtful gift from my friend Kristi.
After the last hug was exchanged yesterday and I began to slowly put things away, the phone rang. It was our local veterinary clinic, letting me know that Edith’s ashes were ready to be picked up. Ah. Evidence of another ending.
Sara and I still get teary-eyed when we talk about our faithful little Schnauzer who has been gone for almost two weeks now. How she showed her love and loyalty to our family every day for almost fifteen years. I wonder how many humans can make that claim? That without fail, without insult or injury, without neglect or carelessness, they have loved and been completely loyal to their family every single day of their lives? God really did a wonderful thing when He created dogs, I think. Without words, they teach us.
Aha! The title of my first book has just come to me…
With Woofs We Are Taught.
We are planning a little funeral ceremony for Edith soon. We will spread her ashes on Michael’s grave, which we all agree is the perfect place for them.
Millie continues to act very subdued as she seems to notice Edith’s absence. She has no one to dominate now, no one to be jealous of, so she’s acting like a good dog, something relatively new for her. We’ve called her The Bad Seed for years now. Perhaps soon that can change to The Mediocre Seed. 🙂
This morning as I was reading from John, chapter 8, and then writing out my praise, thanks and prayers to Jesus, I glanced over at my bed and had to smile at this sight. Millie’s little schnauzery eyebrows peeking just over the top of the covers as she was settling in for her morning nap. That’s an awwww moment, don’t you think?
Now I’m heading to the kitchen for round two of cleanup after the luncheon yesterday. A better woman would have gotten it all done in one day, but I did half yesterday and will finish up today. If you’re wondering why I’m taking so long, see the above reference to fifty-eight being the new seventy-six.
The photo below is part of my kitchen this morning, the remaining evidence of the yesterday’s joy. I like that thought, that a mess can remind us that blessings just occurred. I love to putter around my home, and don’t mind picking up at all. I’ll put on a CD I’ll feel like singing to, put on my Birkenstocks so all those little bones in my feet stop calling cadence, and bring some order to the place.
I’m so grateful that while we live inside of this thing called time and must see the end of people and beasts and things we love, there is a day coming when those who are in Christ will step outside of time and enter eternity. No more endings. No more goodbyes.
If any of you get weary of endings, here’s a beautiful verse from Jeremiah 31 to meditate on today:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you.”
God’s love is everlasting. It will never end. And His faithfulness will continue forever, and ever, and ever…..
I thank Him for that!
I have more to share about some of the lights that went on when we studied The Hiding Place, but I’ll save that for later and get to work.
Happy Wednesday to you!
I have always hated endings and goodbyes. It is a real comfort to me to think that in Heaven there will be no more goodbyes or separations. I love that you are going to have a little funeral for Edith and those ears of Millie’s are too cute! What a beautiful blog this was – your blogs are always a bright spot in my day.
You are so nice to read and leave such encouraging words, dear Pat. xoxoxo
“58 is the new 76!” Oh, I chuckled at that. I shouldn’t; I’m sorry it’s slow going in the mornings, but the media is such a bunch of chuckle-heads. They never know what they are talking about. I mean, for me it was practically a case of “9 is the new 42”.
As for time, think about it. Michael is gone, Edith gone now too to a place where there is no time. It’s logical then to think that their souls are not waiting for us. We are already all together. That thought, however loopy, comforts me anyway, when someone I love goes on ahead.
You are the second person to tell me that if heaven is outside of time, I might be there already with the Lord, with Michael, and those who have gone before. I can pluck at a fine gossamer thread in understanding this, and then it disintegrates in my very finite mind and it’s gone. I love the thought though, and having my mind boggled by thoughts of eternity. Thank you so much Leah! xoxo