Tag Archives: musings

Under the Apple Tree

20170418_173453The house is too still.  Her non-stop action was just what I looked forward to at the end of the day.  And on her last day she had helped me wake by moving from a spot by my knees to lying on my pillow with her paws over my chin and her face on my face.  We would do the routine: get up, go to the kitchen, put on the tea kettle, open a can of cat food, and look out the window to assess the day.  I would head to the bathroom, she would use her cat door and go outside.  I would make the tea and bring it back on my tray to savor the first moments of peace.  She would bounce back in and join me on the bed, licking her paws and cleaning her face, she would then sit in my lap for the obligatory pet and purr.

At the end of the day she would be on the counter, across from the kitchen door, or sometimes come out the cat door to greet me.  On her last day, she was in the kitchen picture window watching me in the car making that last call.  I was tardy and so she left the window, went around to the study and her door, bounced out and when I opened my car door, she jumped right in.  Up on the dashboard, waiting for a drive, or just announcing that she was in my space, she was my companion.

Mum had returned from her trip to Spain and she had been greeted and loved by Mouse. I gave her the update of all the shenanigans and adventures she had the week before.  Dinner was made, mouse served first, and I was off to a meeting. Long day with Hospice and tomorrow was going to be long as well.  I needed balance.

I returned home to Mum’s bedroom light on. That was strange. Her goal was to stay up till 7:30. It was later than that. The kitchen light was on, she was sitting at the table, TV on but muted.

What’s wrong Mum?  She couldn’t speak, then she whispered, “I have bad news.  Mouse is wrapped in a towel in the garage.”

I retrieved the bundle, and unwrapped her to see her limp and lifeless, a bit of blood out of her ear stained the towel.  No broken bones, no gaping wounds, she was still a bit warm and listened for a purr as she was in the morning.  Her eyes were open but it was clear that she was gone.  I brought her back into the kitchen so that Mum could say goodby and I dug a grave under the apple tree.  I laid her down, curled up as she was with me, looking peaceful and said goodbye.  Gently covering her up I gave thanks, checked back in with Mum and bid her goodnight.

She had gone out on her own accord and had been under the lilac bush.  She had been hunting bumblebees and flying bugs as of late and I imagine that she had darted out in full chase and unaware of the car.  The driver didn’t stop and I hope didn’t know.  The next driver saw her on the side of the road, stopped and looked for the owner.   Mum wouldn’t go to the door when they came knocking because she didn’t know them, but our neighbor stepped up, and brought the news to the door.

Fast and lethal.  I knew it was a risk to have and inside outside cat.  I knew that she might live a long and fun packed life. I balanced that with the knowledge that she might be hit by a car, taken by a coyote or otherwise killed.  I took the risk because I needed to have life and non-stop-action to balance my work.  Life is a risk.  I got her at the shelter and gave her the best life I could in the short time we had. No regrets there.  But I have learned a huge lesson.

We are all created in nature and in nature we should live.  I just don’t live in a place where she had a fair chance. And I am guilty for thinking that getting clipped by a car was a smaller risk. I felt she was smart enough to learn fear of cars.  I didn’t count on her natural predatory instincts over-riding that awareness.

I yearn to be where I can walk a dirt road, be in nature, and have a pet.  This week was full of patient deaths.  It was full of tending to those who are grieving.  I found myself tearing up in a staff meeting and coming home bawling as I park next to the apple tree. I found myself lost in the vastness of the silence and rethinking the cost of living off the farm.

I want to float, not dive

7239cf715db990fa2babb5c00ec962e1.b2c7dcabcd02d6b1a207e0dffe7b5242.jpgNot quite ready for the day.

I have my tea and mouse is keeping me company.  I kinda want to be all on top of it and hit the ground running, but today I just want to ease into it.  Like when you are going swimming in the early morning and you slip slowly into the still waters, trying not to make a ripple.  You are one temperature and the water another and the change from one state to another can be a welcome shock, but not first thing in the morning.  Late in the afternoon, in the heat of the summer, you welcome it, along with the other swimmers. But early in the morning, you move slowly into the depths.

And today I have patients to see and meetings to attend and driving to do between one place and another,  all within certain times, all seemingly crowded together. There are notes too. Notes to say what I did and how I met the goals already written.  “Patient will transition through the end of life process with peace and serenity.”  ” Patient received pastoral presence and silent prayer.”  Today is like most days, but today I want to slip into it slowly and purposefully, not reactively. I want to slip into the sacred and let it support me as I go,  I want to float, not dive.

 

Getting ready for church, maybe

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I should be getting ready to head to church.  But as I look at the clock next to my bed, I still can jump the shower and get dressed and get out…maybe a few more minutes musing. I have a love hate relationship with going to church. It is perfectly sunny and warm out today, something that we have been waiting for all winter.  And I have my kayak and paddle within reach.  The river is close by and high enough that I can do the loop.  I can very easily justify that I am having my worship time in the wilderness of the water with turtles and bank beavers as my fellow congregants. Why waste a morning inside sitting in a pew reciting creeds that are hundreds of years old.  I am not preaching, or teaching Sunday school, so today could be a good skip day.

This past year I was busy during the week visiting patients in the hospital as a chaplain intern.  To translate that, as an intern I was not paid rather I was enrolled in a Clinical Pastoral Education -CPE- unit that was extended over the course of the fall and winter.  I need 4 of these units, plus my M.Div to be board certified as a chaplain. There are a few other bells and whistles that I need as well, but the point of this ramble is that I was working as a chaplain in a hospital.   I had overnight on-calls and 24 hour shifts where I could be paged to respond to some horrific situation.   Death and dying, that is why a chaplain gets paged, for the most part.

So Sundays for me was the place that I refilled my cup so that I could then give to others in need.  That is the thing about our cup, it is more than half empty or half filled.  Cups are refillable.  I didn’t enjoy having to preach on Sundays when I was also being a chaplain.  I wanted to limit my pouring out and keep a balance for my own self care.   I agreed to teaching a unit of Sunday School for April and May because I am in between CPE units and there are several off weeks when I don’t have to teach.  I can handle 6 classes.  Kinda.

Now that I have the day off of teaching, I am wanting to ditch.   Or even go and visit the Mormons, I miss them a bit.  I miss the inclusiveness they practice when you show up to church*.  The protestants of New England could learn a lot about hospitality from them. I like being able to walk to church and I like that many of my neighbors attend the same church so there is a community feel.  What I am reluctant about is … well… I don’t exactly know.  I am just wanting to blow it off.  Perhaps once I get up, shower and dress, eat some breakfast, put one foot in front of the other, I will get there.   Put your body in the place and the mind then the heart will follow.  Perhaps my cup is so low I just don’t realize how much it needs to be filled.   Not sure.

I do know that this whole Easter tide of Christ coming out of the grave has not been felt. I actually skipped Easter service this year.  Was at the end of my unit and was moving back and forth between Boston and East Charlotte.  I  felt crappy and stayed home.  Perhaps I am still burnt out.

But this is what I know to be true.  Even chaplains and those in ministry sometimes what to ditch church.  And I know that this to will pass and most likely now that I have bitched about ditching I will pull myself together and get up, make the bed, get dressed and eat breakfast.  Most likely I will walk out the door and head down to church.  Most likely I will feel good about the decision.

 

 

*I am so very aware that the Latter Day Saints have some regressive stances of women in the priesthood and same-sex marriage/families/ children of same sex parents.   No church body is perfect.