Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Remembering the days by the pond

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

25 comments:

detweilermom said...

i have found that the hardest times inmy life are usually the ones that I learn the most and in some ways are the ones I cherish the most. Thanks for reminding me to take time to stop and remember.

carla said...

The picnics by Lake Michigan sound wonderful. One of my favorite things to do in life is sit on the beach and just look at the water, maybe just wade in a few inches of gentle waves. But we live 6 hours from Galveston, the nearest beach so we only get there a couple of times a year, and then just for overnight. What a blessing to live so close to a Great Lake. And I do understand being too tired to fix anything but a glass of water. When I read your posts I honestly wonder how in the world you do everything. I'm not able to get half that much done. Lovely post.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

When I read your blog I always think God has blessed you so amazingly to hear his message everywhere, even in the sound of crickets. I am hoping you have some quieter days coming up as the seasons change. It is amazingly beautiful here just now.

Mrs.Rabe said...

Beautiful memories, and what a reminder to us that God does make beauty from ashes.

Thanks Brenda.

cottagesweet said...

May the Lord give you spiritual respite. Although Jesus did say we would have tribulations on earth, He also promised He would never leave us. That alone is comfort. I hope you get to go and enjoy the pond and rest.

Jonell said...

God Bless you..It seems if we live long enough we all have those difficult times don't we?
In our lives it has been those valley days that we look back on and are so thankful for coming out on the other side.
One period of time I refer to in our lives as the "miracle years"

scrappy quilter said...

What a precious post. How I wish I could spend time by the pond, reading my Bible and listening for His still small voice. I'm thankful autumn has arrived so that I can slow down.

Thanks for the reminder to all of us that we need to slow down. Hugs

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your much needed rest.
With prayers,
Kelly Lynn in TX

Kimberly said...

Oh, Brenda! How I wish I was closer. I would have put the kettle on and brewed you a good, strong cuppa. I'd putter around your kitchen and whip up a little something for you to enjoy. We'd sit on the couch together and talk and laugh and cry and pray together.
I'll do what I can from here and pray for you.
Much love!

matty said...

Lovely posting! I agree with Mrs. Rabe, "exchanging beauty for ashes" is a difficult task, but one that makes us stronger! Have some rest today, won't you?

hmsclmom said...

((((HUGS)))) Brenda...I understand how you feel. Just yesterday I looked over at my husband while we were running errands (and I was sick and still am sick with the flu) and told him that I felt like we needed some "couple time" to just relax and be. KWIM? We have been so wrapped up in helping our children and dealing with family crisis that we lost ourselves somehow. I too find solice and peace by the water. My husband pointed out that we had not taken our trip over to the lake in Montana yet this year and both of us were craving the peace that comes over us when we are there. We made a plan to go to the nearest lake here soon and pack a picnic lunch. We both need that time and since resources are limited we will do what we can.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, you have a gift for writing which lures me back each morning to read your latest post. (I live in Oregon, so by 9am here you have already posted) You make the simplest blessings sound like treasures. I am 74 years, a widow, and I really look forward to your writings! Thank you for your faithfulness!

nanatrish said...

Brenda, I have been out of commission since Friday so I have missed your posts. I must get caught up. I was in the hospital and I'm so sorry about Sasha and all that's going on. Your peace by the river sounded so good. I am at my daughter's chilling out and getting started with a new lifestyle and way of eating so I won't be back in the hospital. Your time sitting with Christopher on the blanket sounded so sweet.

Anonymous said...

After 15 long difficult years in the place we have lived longest yet in our married life, hubby took a job that was as remote as one can get in the lower 48. It was one of the most blessed times of our life and we just let the peace seep into us during our 20 months there. Next stop was another 20 months in a mountain town that takes you back to about 1960...and we lived on 50 acres 6 miles out of town on the edge of the snowline. Another period of deep peace. How we need those times. Of recovery from the madness of this world.

We too are looking forward to THAT CITY in the KINGDOM...maybe not so very long off, yet we think some days of difficulty yet ahead. But we must keep our eyes on the prize!

(((((HUGS))))))) and hope you find some more solitude and peace to soak up!!
Elizabeth

Connie said...

Lovely post. You have a way with words. I feel like I am sitting right across from you while you talk. This I know for sure - God's peace is eternal. We spend 12 days at Lake Michigan this summer and it was beautiful.

Quinne said...

Hi Brenda :) Sending you hugs today - so much going on. Keeping you in my prayers. Love, Q

Anonymous said...

When I have looked at our calandar these past months it lookes like every day is filled in with one, two, or more activities...99% of the time it is doctor related. We yearn for this season to be over. We are homebodies and when we come back to our home at the end of yet another weary day home is the most wonderful place on earth to us. I guess home is our lake. I am hoping you get your spirit renuewed. Also your body revived. Looking back and realizing we have gone through many other trials and come through them and that this too shall pass is a helpisen't it. Knowing He is there with us every step of the way is a real lift. Jody

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I also know how life can be so difficult, but in retrospect you see how much your faith grew in response to it. I hope you heal from your grief (I love kitties too), and that at the right time the Lord send you another "comforter" with fur on! V.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember you ever mentioning a year by a pond before...I would love something like that as well.
Going thru difficult times over here too..
j.

Storybook Woods said...

I do not know why, but it seems to be when life is stressed, that causes us to slow down, pull in and seek God. It would be lovely if we just did that, but I know it is in my time of need I always draw closer to Him. Clarice

Elizabeth said...

I love your blog. It is very encouraging and just what i needed today.

SydQuisNia said...

Thank you for your meaningful story days by the pond. My world keeps spinning non-stop and this story gave me encouragement to keep on but take time to stop and open the bible.

Anonymous said...

Wow, What a writer. Please write a book.

Sandi said...

What a delightful post! I'm glad I stumbled across your blog.

I grew up on Lake Huron in Michigan and now have a big pond in my backyard, so I can really relate to your moments of refreshment by the water.

God bless you!

Sally said...

As I have just found your blog, I'll be reading and trying to catch up. For now, I'll just say I've found that no matter what life brings to us, HE is with us all the way, day in and day out.

Blessings.