Monday, November 21, 2011

Soul incarnate - and a little cleaning

Sarah McCarthy, Sarah Edwards
Camp St.Christopher, Seabrook Island
November 2011
I had so much fun watching Sarah Edwards in choir Sunday.

Before she rode with my group to the women’s retreat, I barely knew her.   I didn’t appreciate her wiry, buoyant hair or her dry, quick wit. As a storm blew in as we drove along oak-draped sea island roads, she quoted a line form E.M. Forster that aptly depicted the smell of the air: "The air was white, and when they alighted it tasted like cold pennies." Lovely, I thought. A little literature along the way.

I discovered we shared similar pains and losses in our childhood and are kindred spirits in many ways. It’s amazing the bonding that can happen on a car ride.
To be honest, I almost didn’t offer for her to ride with us because it meant coordinating four schedules and what if I was running late, which I was. What a blessing I would have missed, though. I’m learning to listen to how God uses other people in my life to deepen my journey, whether a short, chance encounter or a lengthy, blossoming friendship.  
Relationship, writes Thomas Moore in Care of the Soul, is "the discovery of ways soul is incarnated in the world." Each pair of two has a unique relationship found nowhere else in the world. It’s a wonderful way of looking at life, at the gift of making connections.




A bowl of water
(clean, cool)
And one of food
(always the same, 2 cups per day)
Satisfy your needs
(at least, you never complain).
A warm place to lie down
(in the sun if possible)
In our yard or on your bed
(or most often on mine)
Is enough to elicit contented sighs
(deep, peaceful).
Your many friends
(human or canine)
Are never taken for granted
(not even close),
But welcomed with smiles, wags, and happy yelps
(no matter if they left only moments ago).
A trip to the park
(the beach, the pet store)
Sends you into paroxysms of gratitude
(spinning and jumping with uncontainable joy).
How easy to forget
(after more than a year together)
That you were hurt
(beaten, abandoned, starving)
And so afraid
(of everything, everyone).
Fear was cast out
(slowly, so slowly at first)
By love, as the Bible says
(though my love is far from perfect).
No matter what I ask
(sit, wait, don't chase the kitty),
You comply obediently
(however unreasonable my demands must seem).
If I could ask one more thing
(though you give so much),
Please teach me dog-like faith
(and hope and love).
Could I trust God as you trust me
(constantly, unconditionally),
I would count myself a saint.



It’s time for true confessions.  Sometimes I enjoy cleaning - scrubbing down the kitchen, cleaning out the fridge, washing the walls and baseboards, dusting the book shelves, vacuuming black cat hair off of everything, cleaning the mildew off the back porch,  laundering linens and curtains, washing the windows until they sparkle  (although I haven’t found a great formula for that yet!). 

Cleaning is a tangible job.  You can see the results - unlike my usual work of listening and encouraging and teaching.   There are results in that work as well - but those results tend to be more of a long term, feel better nature.  A clean and organized fridge - now that’s something you can see on the spot.  
Good clean work.

I particularly enjoy cleaning this time of the year.   This is the great holiday scrub down.  Cleaning means company is coming for the holidays and this week, it’s family.  My daughters and son-in-law are coming home for Thanksgiving week. Yay!   Extended family plus some good friends will arrive for Thanksgiving Day.

At this time of year, cleaning has a meaning all its own. It means welcoming my children and family home.  Cleaning is preparing for memories yet to happen and anticipation of good times to come.   It makes me happy just to grab the duster and get ready!

Welcome home!


1 comment:

  1. Three wonderful posts! I especially like the Ode to Hurley. It's like the faith of a child.