Sunday, July 28, 2013

IT DOESN'T ALWAYS FEEL LIKE A NEW DAY

God bless to me the new day,
Never vouchsafed to me before,
It is to bless Thine own presence
Thou hast given me this time, O God.
                                      --Celtic Prayer

I read these lines in Healing after Loss by Martha Whitmore Hickman several days ago, and at the time they seemed very appropriate.  It was morning, the air was still cool and fresh, and I was eating my breakfast, reading my Scripture for the day, and listening to the fountain playing peaceful music out on the patio.  I felt at peace, grateful for the gift of a another day, for the chance to go to Mass and praise Him for all He has given me, and for the opportunities to accomplish a number of interesting things during the day. Nothing has happened in the house to minimize the mess from the flood as I am still waiting to get the estimate from the insurance agent, but I am able to work in the rest of the house, and I've even been getting my little study more organized so I can work more effectively in there until I have my new office.

It occurred to me that this has been a productive year so far in my writing--I am writing more than ever before, and have had two poems accepted for publication.  My poetry collection is at a publisher, and I decided I needed to send my novel back out, so I found a publisher in England who is starting to publish middle reader novels.  I wrote out a synopsis and emailed it off, and prepared for the usual long wait.  Instead, the next day I heard back from them that I had sent it in Pages rather than Word, so I spent several hours relearning how to put it into Word and sent it back.  Then the publisher said they liked the synopsis and asked me to send my entire manuscript.  This time, I remembered to send it off in Word!  That evening, I was organizing my manuscript papers, and discovered that I had actually sent a somewhat earlier version, so I spent the next day finding the newest version, doing a final edit and check, and sending that back.  They had said they have a long reading list, so I knew they wouldn't be getting to it any time soon.  But this is the first time that I have had someone actually ask to see the manuscript, so I saw this as one more step forward.

Generally, I find myself so busy that I seldom allow myself to slip into feeling sorry for myself.
In addition to all the writing, greeting cards, scrapbooking, and keeping up the house--and I am starting to cook a little more--I have lunches and dinners with friends, visits from my daughters and their families, and telephone calls or Skype with the three daughters who live farther away, so that if someone wants to plan a social activity with me, I usually have to give them a date several weeks away.

But last Thursday evening, I suddenly came down with a fit of depression.  My son had had his wisdom teeth out in the morning.  I had thought I could really be a mother and do things to help him recover, but he had a very easy time of it, and left to pick up his girl friend and brought her back here, and they were busy making smoothies, watching Ratatouille, and I didn't get to do much soothing of his fevered brow. (It wasn't even fevered, actually!)  I suppose I felt a little de trop, and by evening, after a long French horn lesson, I felt rather like a fifth wheel on the carriage of life.  My bed seemed very empty when I tried to go to sleep and I found myself missing even more the ongoing conversations I would have with my husband throughout the day, talking over even the littlest details of our lives. It was a very lonely feeling, but I could also recognize it as part of grief, and necessary to work through.

The next morning, I went to Mass, got several things done quickly, including my horn practice, and was ready when my second daughter and her children arrived, and then my decorator.  I treasure these days when the grandchildren are out of school so I can see all four of them.  My decorator and I talked through several of the things we want to do with the reconstruction and went out to choose mat board for reframing one of my grandfather's paintings.  It was a crazy, off-kilter day, but it restored my sense of connection with those who are dear to me, and reminded me again that God's grace is lifting me up and carrying me through all the waves of grief as they ebb and flow.  Then I was ready, several days later, to take in Dag Hammarskjold's words, also quoted in Healing after Loss:

In the point of rest at the center of our being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way.  Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud a revelation, each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses.  The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.

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