I told my husband recently that I had to hold up my hand and say STOP to how hectic my life had suddenly become. Somehow we had scheduled multiple doctor's appointments, the trip to the V.A. hospital, a few food pantries (having spent most of our cash on repairs), taking the car in for new tires and then yesterday to have a belt replaced, and necessary errands all in the same week.
Then the added stress of Sasha's sudden illness and the decision to have her put to sleep on top of an already busy schedule... and a personal crisis going on in Christopher's life which kept me up into the wee hours of Saturday morning... AAAACK!
I finally lit a candle and stretched out on the sofa (Sasha-less) with a cold glass of water. I was too tired to brew tea. I shut my eyes and listened to the sound of crickets outside the window, which brought remembrances of my year by the pond with nostalgia, forgetting the hard times... remembering the peace.
We rented the house by the pond when we were going through a difficult time, one of the "years with no income", and one of those time periods I have written about when life was so difficult I had to remind myself to breath. I knew why poets wrote about hearts breaking from sadness.
The front steps to the house were only fifteen or twenty yards from the pond. I spent hours upon hours sitting on those cement stairs with my Bible open, a mug of coffee or cup of tea at my side... taking pen to paper as I pondered and prayed.
I would often pack an inexpensive picnic and take Christopher to nearby Lake Michigan where we would place an old quilt on the sand and watch the boats sailing nearby and great vessels in the far distance on their way to Chicago, wondering what important cargo they carried and what port they originated from. We would often enjoy a sandwich and perhaps an apple or freshly baked cookies and then walked the various trails in the forest that hugged the Lake.
Days and days and days of nothing but quiet and nature... nature and quiet. Well, kind of... for anyone who has gone to sleep on a summer night with the window open to catch a welcome breeze also knows the sound of rowdy neighbors... the hundreds of crickets and frogs singing their evening serenade. Their song continued on this autumn evening in another place and another time... but the song brought the memories as songs often do.
I find it interesting that the year by the pond was in many ways the most difficult year of my life. It was the year it all changed. But it was also the year of the fire of affliction... along with the hours watching the life in and around the pond with my Bible on my knees... holding on to the Rock of my salvation. This was the year of pain and loss but also the time of great miracles.
I can look back and know this to shall pass. The days of multiple appointments are now behind me. This isn't Heaven, yet. Like Abraham in the book of Hebrews, I search for a City whose architect and builder is God.
In the meantime, I may visit the pond in the park where my mother and I would take days old bread to feed the ducks... as I did with my own children so many years later. Perhaps I'll pack a sandwich and my Bible... and rest.
Picture: Ducks Unlimited, As Good As Home; allposters.com