Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Quiet Life Where People Talk Angrily


Ah, the country.
Neighbors sprinkled sparingly like salt. A little friendliness makes everything more flavorful, too much and you gag.
We met a few of our neighbors over the summer. Nice, quiet, peaceful people.
Then a man tried to build a road adjacent to our private country neighborhood road to construct a house on, and the country got angry.
I was texted.
I was called.
I was visited.
The evil of this act was explained to me and it had something to do with CCNRs. I tried to get a word in edgewise to explain that I didn't know what those were. But no, my words were not to be. I signed something and my new neighbors left happy.
In parting they said, "We're sorry you have to be involved in this when you are new to the neighborhood."
I responded, "Well we used to live across from government housing so you guys are a step up."

About 5 days later, I was headed out alone to the store when I was intercepted on our road. By a man in a fuzzy gray robe with dangling earrings. He stopped me and introduced himself as Junior. He was about 50 years old. He was angry that the man was building his house in the mornings when his dad was trying to sleep. His dad is 87 years old and this house building is threatening his life.
I had already heard from the other neighbors that 2 of the senior citizens on our street had to be seen by a doctor because they were so upset about the illegal road activity, but this was new news.
Junior went on to tell me all the nasty things he planned to do to this builder if he didn't stop threatening his father's life. A couple of times he stopped and looked intently at me to see how I was taking it. I think he could tell I was stunned because he said, twice, "You look like a very nice lady." To which I nodded acquiesce. I finally just started driving slowly away, he walked beside my car, still talking for a bit.

I take back what I said about a step up. Sure there was a shooting, several drug dealers, and brawling in the old neighborhood,  but I never once saw anyone in their bathrobe.

I don't know what is going to happen next but I hope that everyone it involves is fully clothed.

Speaking of clothing, I went out warm up the car to take Grant to school on Thursday morning, and found the car already warm. It was running. It had been running since 11:30 am on the previous day. Almost 21 hours of my car running but not going anywhere. This is my mom's fault. She is in Pennsylvania visiting my brother and I am all too obviously co-dependent.

Thanksgiving is this week and again, despite absent mothers and fuzzy robe clad neighbors, I am so thankful.
Thankful for the breath that fills my lungs every morning.
Thankful for the people God has given me to share life with.
Thankful for the Truth that is interwoven into the trite, making all of life meaningful. (I know you're thinking bathrobe here. Stop.)
Thankful for laughter that knits my family together through everything.
Thankful for the interesting people that live in the country. Who knew!

Growing Still

Thanksgiving drifted into Christmas and Christmas slid into January. The weather up at the cottage was just how Dave likes it...cold and snowy. We took full advantage of it with downhill skiing, cross country skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing and sledding.

The first day of January fell softly like the snow out the window.
It's newness reminded me of birth, of a wrinkled wise baby waiting to grown into itself.
We spent time together as a family, dedicating the baby year. Asking God to grow it strong and healthy and hopeful.

Then we came home and I moved back into the comfortable, happy rhythm of school and life with my husband and four children on the path toward adulthood. The familiarity of schedule is good, but there's a deeper good underneath it. I know I am growing. There have been years spent just trying to maintain sanity. Years when growth was, I thought, only what the children did.

Rose bringing in the New Year with Elijah and Annaka

Maybe it had something to do with an impulse I had right before Christmas. Our family initiated our new house with a game of sardines. We used to play it in our old house but just hadn't gotten around to it here. All the lights were out except the Christmas lights and we hid and found and frolicked. Then, inspired by the levity of the moment, I popped in a video of myself (previously unviewed by the kids) dancing and singing when I was 14. My children were shocked. I was obviously not stage shy. I danced with full abandon. After watching that video I had an epiphany. I am growing. I wasn't that same girl shimmying across the stage. I had grown demure.

Once I woke up to the fact, I saw other evidences. I could keep my mouth shut for longer periods of time. My devotions were consistent. I kept my temper with Rose during math (this is meant to be a general statement). Growing is present tense. I'm still in the midst of it. But it's there, and it's good.

So the year started and I recognize it as a journey, a single stair, a stepping stone.
Another opportunity to grow along with it.
So I dedicate myself again and I ask God to make me strong and healthy and hopeful.
And nice.
And sensitive.
And forgiving....good thing I'm only in my forties!
My niece Saylor

I try to remember that this is where we all are. In process. Being born. Growing up.

Happy baby year to you....may it be full of growth and joy....may it live up to its potential.


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