Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ode to Work

Our family is not adverse to hard work. For goodness sake, we've done enough of it; academically, we have an obscene amount of degrees between us; socially, we've invested in our church and community groups volunteering countless hours investing in the success of programs and people; physically, we've worked out for years (o.k. I haven't since I ruined my knee 2 years ago, but that is a source of worry, not rejoicing), as well as restoring our acreage; Familially- well, 5 kids is more than a few but we haven't just birthed them, we've raised, trained and mentored them.
This year has been a whole new ball game in the area of work. Our house burned, but it didn't burn down and we, along with many friends, acquaintances and some people we didn't even know, sorted, bagged, hauled and dumped tons of burned and smoked stuff. What was left was taken to a cleaning company, but we ended up doing much of the sorting and cleaning still and now we are left with an odd assortment of stuff, much of it junk really, that we still need to sort and throw, inventory (we're beyond insurance purposes now and are concerned with taxes) and piece together (like, where are the kids birth certificates cause KB needs a copy for her job). And hauling what's left back to the acreage, fixing or repairing what is worth salvaging and inventorying what needs to be replaced. It's been depressing, stressful, dirty, grievous. What I've really wanted wanted to do since about Oct. 30 is this:
Sit in a corner, put my fingers in my ears, close my eyes and sing really loudly LALALALA.
Cause I've been overwhelmed with responding.
Overwhelmed by kindness and people blessing us with their time, possessions, money and prayers. There are not enough Thank-you's to be said. And between moving from the house, to the retreat center, with a foray to Ohio, to the hotel, to the leased house, back and forth between the cleaning company, much has been mis-placed, included the list of thank-you's to be sent, and those that have gone out. But I am hoping that those who have helped, know, really know, how appreciated their contribution has been.
Overwhelmed with grief. I am sick of crying and feeling hurt and sorrow. The loss of the house, which in the end is a blessing- a miracle really, because God is creating beauty from ashes -literally, but dealing with all of the emotions regarding the stuff that is gone as well as what's left.
The loss of my sister, which still catch me by surprise at times and tears and hurt spring up.
Visiting my Gram right after the funeral in Chicago. O.k. 93 is old, but seeing her so old and easily tired and little shook me, and dh too. She has been a rock in my life, in our life, but she is out of strength. She has been my Giving Tree for so long. How can I be this old and still rely on my little old Gram so much?
Overwhelmed by stuff and knowing that that's all it is, but grieving the meaning attached to it as we threw it away.
Overwhelmed by the demands of our own emotions. The kids thrown for a loop, not only by thing thrown out but by the funeral of Aunt Susan, who we had just seen in August for her birthday. Flower would asked me daily in November and beyond, "Are you going to die, Momma? Please don't die, I love you so much." And Cub praying at night that I wouldn't die, and KB laying her head on my shoulder and saying, "Thank-you for not dying." And Miss R. calling from Chicago this week, there on a mission trip, talking about the last time she was in Chicago was with Aunt Sue and they walked along the lake, and then bursting into tears. Grief upon grief and putting it in order, laying it on the alter- it's yours, Lord- so that it doesn't consume us.
I've relied the last couple of months on the daily routine, the familiar, hidden really, in what I know that is simple and safe; homeschooling the kids. The days that we work diligently seem good and wholesome, not wasted or hard or full of grief. Reading, writing, arithmetic- that we remember. It's brought me peace and a sense of order. Which I feel a little blasphemous saying, because of what I'm not saying: that I've found solace in reading the Bible, praying and seeking God. Which I have and do, but somehow the order of moving forward in tangible ways has brought a sense of simple goodness to our days.

Yesterday we spent the day on the acreage; Viking Man and Feche Boy working in the basement with Contractor Dick, doing yet more cleaning and then sealing all of the wood and cement. I sanded the stairs, a classic Stickney rail, and worked in the yard ( Between the pieces of junk all over it, the debris from the soda blasting and the huge ruts left by the fire trucks (11) and the dumpsters, it needs a little TLC) the notsolittles played and helped rake the gardens with me. The sun was shining and gently warm and it felt good to work. Good to be building up, instead of tearing down and throwing away. Instead of going home covered in greasy soot, smelling like nauseating smoke we came home with sunburns and covered in clean dirt, welcomed by a fragrant dinner that KB had prepared, talked with her about her day and with Miss R on the phone and fell into bed.
Work is a beautiful thing.
And today rest. A blessed Sabbath- a day of peace and rest- to you!

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