Tuesday, May 19, 2009


(this will be my last post for awhile...but I send my best to each of you~K9, Kate, Rox, Skunk, libby,Bad Bob, /t, SJ, Foamy, Luxie, NYD, X-Dell, Bardouble, and others who read and love me...I love you too <3)

She sat on the river bank looking West towards the only home she had ever known. It was perfect there. A place without want, or care, or pain. Cool water splashed around her feet while the sun above burned her exposed arms and scalp. The burning was yet a new sensation, and it wasn't pleasant.

Sitting there alone, with time to think about the way her life had unfolded, she was instantly filled with remorse and sadness. Tears welled up in her eyes again and ran down her cheeks. For long moments she simply sat there and wept until her inner well was dry. A gentle breeze ran it's fingers through her hair and left a tingle on her shoulder. As the grief lessened she slipped into the river and splashed cool water on her face and was refreshed. The water was sweet and clean, and except for the sharp stones which jabbed her feet when she moved, the river reminded her of the blissful years she'd spent in her first home. A home where fruit hung heavy on every tree, the grass and fields were free of rough pebbles, and the animals on the farm knew no fear.

Her present home was less pleasant, harsh actually, in comparison to the life she'd once lived, but not unbearable. In this new life she still had access to everything she needed, but she had to work hard for it. Nothing came easy now. Pleasure was almost always accompanied by some amount of pain. She exchanged a life of ease for a life of information, and there seemed to be no shortage of things to learn and things to do.

Before now she had never known fear, anger, jealousy, or an ache in her lower back from the toil of the fields. Her thoughts had once been pure because all that surrounded her was pure. Her life had been filled with love and goodness, but not many choices. She had one choice actually, to obey, or not. The flowers in her first garden did not resist growth. The animals on the farm always came when she called them. The fruit trees always bore their crop, no one had to compel them to do so, and it was the same with her. She had no reason to disobey, until the one fateful day when she was asked the simplest of questions, "Did he really say...?"

She played the encounter over and over again in her head. If only she had refused. If only she had said no. If only she had heeded the warning given to her... but alas, when presented with a choice, even though it was deceptive, she chose her own will. Her choice brought her knowledge, but knowledge came (as it often does) with a heavy price.

Years would pass and she lived always within sight of her first home, but could not return to it. She created a new home, though not as lovely, but every aspect of the dwelling had her touch. The mats on the floor, and the drinking gourds, as well as the flowers in her hair were each chosen by her and she took great pride in making her dwelling a home for her husband and children.

It was a good life. A life with seasons of dedicated work and seasons of harvest. A life with a mix of birth and death, of beauty and of murder, a life where love was even more brilliant in juxtaposition to grief. She marveled at all she had learned. From the way a tiny seed could grow into a tall tree, to the way a moment of passion could plant new life within her- and bring her joy and agony like nothing else in all of existence.

Perhaps, within the confines of her first home her body would have aged more gracefully? Maybe the lines of age etched around her eyes and across her brow would be less if she had never known the pain of mistrust, or the screeching pangs of labor while giving birth? Perhaps her life would be shortened because of one choice made ages ago? She would never know.

What she did know was the strength of her own body and a powerful will to survive. She understood her limits, as well as her ability to surpass those limits when it was required. There was no end to the things she could learn, or love, as well as no end to often painful discoveries.

She had walked with God, spent time with the devil, opted for the freedom to choose her own will, and felt the sting of regret as well as the healing balm of forgiveness.

She had eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Her eyes were indeed opened and she understood the painful, yet enlightening, results from that choice. She would endure death, but she had also lived a full life with experiences both common, and uncommon.

When her days were reaching an end and she could no longer walk in the fields she had tended, or swim in the streams which refreshed and renewed her, she asked to be taken to her own private garden, one she had created with her own hands. There she lay on a mat, under the shady branches of a big tree near her gorgeous flowers, and waited. Would Adam join her in her final moments? Would a serpent stray into her garden for one last bite?

At last, in the hours before the sunset, He came to her. He strode through her garden and smiled at her as He once did many years before. With new strength she stood to greet Him and felt no fear or pain. She knew, inspite of the agony she had caused and the grief released into the world, He was coming to take her home, and she was ready to go with Him.

Taking her by the hand and looking into the aging face of His daughter Eve, he asked her about the life she had lived outside of Eden. With the honesty of a child, because nothing more and nothing less is required, she said, "Lord, I know of pain and of death, of mercy and of forgivness. I've known purity and I have known sin. I know of ease, and of toil. I know of life, and I know of loss. I now understand the life you wanted to give me, but I chose a different path along with the brutal, yet often beautiful, knowledge that came with it. Above all, being in your presence yet again, I understand love."

With unspeakable grace and tenderness, He asked her, "Daughter, do you have any regrets?"

A flood of memories and feelings swept over and through her. In an instant she thought of Adam, and her children, and of the hundreds more who came, or would come, because of her. In that same instant quick flashes of joy and heartache were recalled. Moments of humility, grace, guilt, impatience, peace, gentleness, anger, despair, hope, love...every emotion she had ever felt visited her in the span of a heartbeat.
The question hung in the air like a hummingbird at his favorite flower.

Eve looked up at her Father, and said quietly, "Lord, I have none."

He smiled at her and took Eve home to a place she would never have to leave again.
She had made her final choice, and He saw that it was good.

CRB/ 5-21-2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What mom's and teachers have in common...

Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.

-Mark Twain

Monday, May 04, 2009

Life, death, time...love

I dug a grave last weekend. It was a first for me.

My old cat was exactly that- OLD. I noticed early this year his weight dropping and his hearing appeared to be diminishing. For weeks he went through a phase of either running out in front of my car as I tried to leave the garage, or failing to get up when I pulled into the drive way. His once muscular and stocky body was becoming thin and frail. I changed his diet, added olive oil to his food, and fussed over him a bit more than usual. He loved the attention, but his health did not improve in the slightest.

On Saturday he collapsed following a week of steady decline. Ignoring food and water, and then falling over while taking care of business...I knew it was time to call the vet. I'd been saying goodbye all week and part of me wonders if he hung on as long as he did because of those extra rubs behind his ears. As sick as he was he still purred when I scratched his head and would stretch out a little as I started to withdraw my hand- as if to say- "Please don't stop". When it was time to go my husband and son, with tears in their eyes, took Kramer to the vet and were with him when he passed. I stayed home, got the shovel, and began to dig a hole. I would spend his final moments preparing a place for him to rest.

I discovered as I dug his grave that grief is somewhat lessened (or the edge is taken off) by the act of physical labor. Grief, if fully given into, is much like a sponge and can absorb energy. Having a somewhat mindless physical job to do gave me a sense of purpose. I knew this would be my last task for Kramer.

I thought about men and women ages before me who dug graves to bury their spouses, or worse, their own children; but how it might have created a connection between the temporal and the eternal, between the earth which would hold a physical body, and heaven which held the soul of the deceased. I suddenly understood (though my example pales in comparison to losing a family member) what it meant to stand at a grave and look heavenward with a once living and breathing loved-one beneath my feet and my eyes/heart searching for the spirit of the person which death can not contain. It was a powerful moment for me.

As the grave deepened I marveled at the properties of soil and it's ability to absorb death, and to promote life. It gives, and it takes.

I needed help to finish the grave, and once Tim returned from the Vet's office we finished it together. We cried and we laughed as we worked. Finally it was time for me to put my dear old cat in a box and place him in the spot we had prepared for him. I gently put the box in the bottom of the grave, put 3 good sized stones on top of the box, and then filled in the hole. It was finished.

I wondered if we, as a society, miss something valuable in the process of laying a loved one to rest by turning over disposal of the body to professionals? I could have allowed the vet to take Kramer's body and burn it, but in the resolution of his passing I would have missed something profound.

He died in the presence of those who loved him, and was buried by hands who had always taken care of him. I ached because he suffered. I wept because he died. When I placed a pot a pansies on his grave site I took a deep breath and felt the purest sense of peace.

Rest well old friend~