Circumstance without the Pomp

I am grateful for a walk in a light rain.

I am grateful for sounds of small town USA.

I am grateful that in the silence of my walk, the rocks cry out, and the droplets of rain rain, and the birds sing, and the stems of grass reach, and the hyacinths open.

I am grateful for my family – my brother’s help and always happy demeanor, my sister’s calls, my brother and sister-in-law’s zoom reunions now in effect, and my Dad’s love…and Alexa Echo calls from grandchildren in Texas and Washington.

I am grateful for a renewed motivation to get back to 15,000 steps.

I am grateful for Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir music that fills my soul.

And I am grateful for a bucket list item checked off – I am a soon-to-be graduate, even if it is just an Associate’s. Two weeks ago, I received an email asking for a picture to be included in the graduation ceremony that will be virtual and online this year. I thought it was a mistake and ignored the email. But I got another one that was a reminder. When I responded that they mistakenly had me on the list, I received an email this morning informing me it was not a mistake. I am graduating with an Associates in General Studies.

It took me long enough, and it was a surprise, but I did it. Now if I could just figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I could go on to get the next two years out of the way.


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Easter and a PSA about a cat toy.

I am grateful for a quiet Easter morning at church with Sam, for beautiful music and a message that brought us to tears, for the emotions of a lit candle signifying He is ALIVE.

I am grateful for wonderful weather on Saturday before Easter, so we could enjoy the porch and the sunshine before Easter Sunday’s April winter hurricane and snow flurries.

I am grateful for plenty of food to make a fairly decent Easter lunch for three.

I am grateful for technology when I am usually NOT grateful for technology, because our Easter Sunday included an hour long video call with my family and then another one with all of Sam’s family. It was like we were all sitting around the table on Easter afternoon, my brothers, my sister, our niece and nephews, and Dad. It did my heart so good.

I am grateful for a box of masks that was supposed to be for our grandchildren, but they sure are coming in handy for us right now.

I am grateful for an Easter afternoon and evening of playing a game with Sam and foster son, something we NEVER do but should do more often, and I am grateful for the game my daughter sent to us, because Sam really likes to play it.

I am grateful for aluminum foil. So here is a PSA for cat owners, and they probably already know, but I didn’t, so here is my enlightenment:

A ball of aluminum foil is the best cat toy in the history of the world. Banana and Split are incredible soccer players with this thing, and they will play for HOURS if we fling the aluminum ball across the floor for them to chase. You’re welcome.

A Holy Week like no other.

ho·ly
hōlē
adjective
1. exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness

It is Holy Week.

The neighbor dog barks, the rhythmic crunch of gravel keeps a beat with every step, and I am surrounded by beauty – a pink and orange sunrise to the east, and a full, orange moon as big as Dallas setting in the west.

The nose-crinkling smell of pigs wafts down the street after a truck goes by.

A beginning band trumpet player serenades to the practice-will-make-perfect tune of “Jingle Bells,” as we walk by.

Adult cats who are accustomed to social distancing sit under cars eyeing us with a stare reminder to back off, Jack.

Downtown is empty at 7:45 in the evening with the exception of “We are the Champions” by Queen playing on the crisp and static-y speakers attached to the light poles

Evidence of spring is finally beginning to take shape, and the first flowers we notice are purple phlox just waking up from a long winter.

Occasionally, a fly annoys enough to require a hand swat in front of our faces.

Banana is adventurous enough to experience grass for the very first time, and he loves it so much he runs full speed across the yard and out into the street, only to be scooped up quickly and reprimanded with a stern “no.”

The 68 degree breeze whistles through the window screen and offers such a peaceful background noise while I work, along with mourning doves cooing, robins gossiping, and blackbirds announcing to the rest of us they are back and ready to annoy.

Monotony is interrupted by a squeal and scream of a child playing in the safety and confines of a back yard.

37 When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

38 “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
    Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”[a]

39 But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”

40 He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” Luke 19:37-40

A Dad and son enjoy time together playing a yard game, laughing together after a particularly bad throw and then waving “hi” to us as we walk by, socially distant and safe on the brick covered street, nonetheless.

Foster son beep-beeps at us with a big grin as he rides by on his electric scooter, a semblance of freedom after feeling trapped inside for so long.

The harmonization of the big wind chime keeps us company during lunch on the porch as Split is fascinated by a new toy with 8 legs, skittering as fast as it will go to escape her curious paw.

It is Holy Week.

My internal jukebox is playing an old favorite, from Friends Church days: The Lord is in His Holy temple, the Lord is in His holy temple,
Let all the earth keep silent.
Let all the earth keep silent, before Him.
Keep silent.
Keep silent, before Him.

Even in the middle of what we’ve never known, storefronts are festively decorated with bunnies and flowers and springtime colors. Our neighbor at the end of the block reminds everyone who goes by that the cross is still the most important yard display in these times of uncertainty. My mind swims with menu ideas for the three of us on Sunday.

The earth is much quieter right now. It makes Holy Week even more poignant. It is a good time to recognize all that is holy and worthy of our praise and gratitude.

Besides, God still has us in the palm of His hand. The gravel, the birds, the flowers waiting to burst, the welcome breeze, the sunrise and the moonset – they all say the same thing to me this week. The worst thing is never the last thing. Just hang on, keep silent, and enjoy His holy creation.

Palms up Sunday.

Thank you for the words this morning…because You live, I can face tomorrow, because You live, all fear is gone. Because I know, Who holds the future, life is worth the living, just because You live.

Thank you for simple toys – plastic grocery sacks that are fun to leap up and knock down as they float, aluminum foil taco wrapping in a ball to chase all over the house, any and every box, little flying bugs in the lamp light, and dead lavender bushes to jump into.

Thank you for one of the best messages I’ve heard in a long time…and for communion at the table, in front of a fire in the fireplace, while Sam and I had tears of reflection.

Thank you for anticipation of our small town USA version of a Passover meal tonight with social distanced next door neighbors…hotdog roast over a community fire pit, pasta salad, baked beans, and chips, separated by two patios, but close enough to enjoy the evening together.