Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Picking Blueberries

When I was a girl I spent my summer days with my brother at my grandmother's house.  I tagged along with her each day, her 'helper', while my brother looked for mischief with Danny, our youngest uncle.  We did the laundry and she would let me run the wet clothes through the wringer (once getting my hand and arm stuck, which remarkably did not cause me to lose my arm though that is what flashed before me as I saw myself looking more like my uncle Dickie -who'd lost an arm to polio as a child).  We baked sticky bread, and ate it with cups of cream with a splash of coffee.  After lunch we'd sit on the porch to rest awhile, watch the weather, quiet.  Sometimes, standing in her kitchen, grandma would call to me, hand me an old colander, and say 'let's go pick some blueberries'.  She had bushes along her back yard, and I'd hold the handles, lifting it's bowl to catch the berries she'd drop in by the handfuls. 
I was browsing when I came upon an old colander that conjured up this memory.  I had never seen one like grandma's in all these years, and there it was.  I was glad for the prompt.
Months later, I came across it again, still there in the etsy shop, and this time I bought it.
By the time it arrived, I'd forgotten again.  We were standing in the kitchen when I opened it, lifted it in my hands while the surprise of tears spilled out.  I was 9 years old, my hands feeling the handles as though it were only yesterday, the patina of memory timeless.  I told my husband I don't know why I'm crying, and he looked at me smiling.  I think he saw the girl I was remembering...

Sunday, May 12, 2013


This came in the mail from our oldest - Jessica.  Part of her Mother's Day package to me.  Included in her note so full of love and thanks was this line, "to allow that 'place' to develop, to grow, to bloom". 

This mess is a place -  This place a mess that we tidy a thousand times over, pick up the tossed jacket, the dirty dish, the Band-Aid that fell off, the damp towel off the floor, the moments glory lost in embarrassment, the laundry stacks to put away, the baby crying in the night, pick up the papers with stick figures smiling- sunshine tucked in the corner, pick up the blanket and cover them again, the shoes under the sofa, pick up the dirty socks and turn them a thousand times, pick up after practice, after the skinned knee; the fall from the tree, pick up the tab, pick up the hair in the sink when she cut her first bangs; he cut his curls, pick up the rag and wash behind the ears, pick up the pieces and start again, pick up the toys, the popcorn in the cushions, pick up a boy by his feet, pick up a girl and put her in the swing, pick up the room while they play, pick up the prayer that began in a dream, pick up the Christmas gift, the birthday card, the medicine, pick up the note, the one I can hardly lift anymore but still needs my full embrace, pick up the pillow and talk, pick them up and over the waves, pick up the pieces after the fight, the paint and crayons and threads,  pick up after the dance, the game, the moments of shame, pick up the pizza, the dog poop, the broken heart you want to mend, pick up the keys and hand them over, the one thing they had to have, the trash overflowing, the homework they forgot, pick up the things left behind as they grow and go, let go.

I have spent the biggest part of my life bending down in this mess of a place we call home.  I have bent crooked, imperfectly, begrudgingly and gloriously.  I still am asking to tidy up - to make room for another beautiful mess.  My walls have strange markings left from crayons and growth lines charted through the years, (so do I, come to think of it).  I woke this morning, picked up the stuffed animal in the hall on my way out to the kitchen, picked up my glasses, my heart full to overflowing, I pick up that prayer again and again.  Tonight we will gather round the table, pick up the conversation, the mess of dishes and food on the floor, pick up a child, a husband, a bride.  Every bending down, every picking up to offer thanks to the God who has blessed me beyond belief through this ordinary grace. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

If God said, 
"Rumi, pay homage to everything 
that has helped you 
enter my arms."
There would not be one experience of my life, 
not one thought, not one feeling,
not any act, I
would not