Friday, July 14, 2017

Adirondack Moments

This is a story for day dreamers... 
(Thanks Frank & Kim for the inspiration)

There they were, perfectly positioned along the walkway, welcoming guests into the house.  Each chair casts a bright pop of color on the muted white & gray tones of  "The Scozzari Family" beach cottage. The bold pigments offset the tranquil ocean hues all around. Ken looked intently at the colorful Adirondack chairs, storing the design and color into his subconscious memory.  

“Chris, we are going to get ourselves a few of these chairs to brighten up our backyard.”  In all our years together – this was the first time Ken expressed any desire to own a piece of furniture. Just like that, the mission began. For it became Ken’s quest to hunt and gather colorful Adirondack chairs.  He searched with the promise of adding a new one every year.  

The first sighting came on a country road in Pennsylvania with a sign “Amish Made” proudly printed on the outside of the store.  Ken walked right in and selected a bright yellow chair at the far corner of the room.  The excitement of finding and purchasing the first in our collection was immeasurable.  Unloading  then placing it near the pool was a pleasure only we understood.

The years following would bring us to many roadside stores displaying varieties of these colorful chairs.  5 years and 5 chairs later – Ken still finds excitement with every purchase! We have only to look at each chair and remember the song playing on the radio, jokes we shared, where we were going and what we were doing – when we “happened” upon each one.  

Today, you will find us jockeying for the best seat, favorite color and most comfortable design.  Many summer evenings I will find Ken sitting in silence, enjoying the simple pleasure he alone finds – within the company of these Adirondack chairs. 
For me, sitting in my favorite yellow one permits me to daydream - but not about the past any longer.  Surrounded by these colorful Adirondack chairs – I look into the open space before me and fantasize about the days ahead.  I wonder what song will be playing, what jokes will be shared and where time will “happen” to take us.  In solitude I begin to set a new course & mission for us.  It has become my quest – to hunt and gather colorful dreams. 

What a joy to sit in these chairs - visualizing where the road will lead and searching for the promise of tomorrow. 

And maybe, just maybe adding a few more colorful chairs to our collection.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Rushing Wind

Sitting in the backyard on this beautiful summer morning brings about a strong sense of oneness with nature.  Perfect temperature in the low 80’s keeps me from running for the shelter of the cool house.  Extreme fatigue and acute weakness are  my constant companions & makes the notion of getting any housework done an unattainable goal.  But the beauty of my surroundings can not be denied

My Chocolate Lab is lying close beside me and I understand a dog’s contentment doing nothing but relaxing in the moment.  I wait for time to pass, without so much as a concern for agendas, accomplishments or pressing matters.  In dog terms – waiting for a yummy treat or playful belly rub.  The simple pleasure of watching Shade’s life could really teach “this old dog” some new tricks!

It is hard to ignore the gentle breeze moving the tops of the trees lining our property.  The dazzling, vibrant colored leaves seem to be dancing to a rhythm only they can hear.   As hard as I may try, the direction of their movement remains a mystery to me. 

The force guiding such motion is invisible to the eye and appears without warning.   A light and gentle rushing from the west.  A hard and forceful rising out of the east.  Flowing and driving winds from the north and south - breathing life into the air.

I look on in amazement, responding to the rhythmic movement of each branch.  Gathering all my strength, I leave the comfort of the porch and venture out onto the grass.  With feet planted firmly on the ground, I extend my arms outward and upward.  Closing my eyes can usually bring about feelings of unbalance – but in this moment – I stand firm. 

The rushing wind seems to encircle me causing my senses to come alive.  I do not move or bend, acting like the tree branches around me, but choose instead to remain perfectly still.  Without hesitating I know that what I am experiencing is the movement of the Holy Spirit.  That mysterious 3rd person of the Trinity - which cannot be seen – is embracing me and I am in the presence of the Divine.

In full surrender, not anticipating or predicting its movement - I respond to the gift of knowing that I am held and cared for.  

Ever so gently, in time with the trees around me...begin to sway.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Just "Things"

I have lost my share of “things”.  That disappearing white sock lost in the dead zone of my dryer or the earring that mysteriously dislodged from my lobe.  Keys, money and important documents; all misplaced by yours truly.  Losing “things” is woven into the fabric of my being.   I’m sure my family can retell stories when Mom was guilty of mindlessly throwing something of value in the garbage.  There will undoubtedly be the hastag - #whereisit?  etched on my tombstone.   Every item lost is accompanied by some pain.  And every hurt experienced usually offers a valuable life lesson. 

Losing my ability to walk and even greater; losing power over my MS progression has been a tough pill to swallow.  Such overwhelming loss can change ones attitude about  “things”.   It is not worth crying over or being angry when “things” are lost and out of our control.  Because that is exactly what they are – “things”.  It took living with an illness (very much like a death) to teach me this paralyzing reality.   “Things” are just “things” – and over the years – “things” have become of minor importance to me.   

So when the unthinkable “thing” was lost – I struggled with the lesson.  

Becoming aware that the diamond on my engagement ring was missing from the setting on my finger, made me want to scream!   I was frantic as I looked at the empty space where the promise of two young lovers once stood.  I gasped at the opening, now vacant, where my precious gem had once shined.  And then only sadness filled the void.

It was lost.  And no amount of self-loathing, berating or anger would bring it back.  I cursed and struggled for a few dark moments.  Then I remembered it was only a “thing” and what held my sentiment could never be lost. 

There is a story in the bible where questioners tried to trap Jesus.  They wondered about giving tax money to Caesar.  Jesus asked to see the coin and answered simply, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's".  In my current situation I am comforted by this gospel story.  My diamond’s value was man made and “of this world”.  But the diamonds worth could never be greater than what it symbolized.   Its loss comes with considerable pain but – my reaction to that loss – is truly how I glorify God.  

“Things” will come and go - but faith will allow me to hold tightly to what is forever mine.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Mercy Drops

The sky seemed to open - pouring down rain upon this already dreaded Monday morning. Parting the curtains, I look out my bedroom window to see gray overcast clouds all around. 

I am instantly reminded of something I read the night before,
“We’ve all experienced showers of blessings – mercy drops falling around us”

These words tugged at my heart so I took that moment & jotted down the phrase.
~  Showers of blessings   ~  mercy drops falling  ~
Never could I have imagined the storm that would befall our lives the very next day.

The house phone on the nightstand rings, immediately setting the day into motion. I look at the clock flashing 7:30am and think, “It’s kind of early for anyone to be checking in”.  Upon answering and hearing the sadness in Michael’s voice – I am suddenly wide-awake.  He did not have to say anything or go into detail because I knew.... Kathi had lost the battle she had been fighting for her life.

I try my best to say something to console his aching heart.  I hang up quickly (allowing Michael to continue the litany of early calls he needed to make).  As Ken returns to the room, he is unaware of the news waiting to shatter the embrace of life’s routine.

I say a quick prayer asking God’s protection over her soul.  My heart is full of thanks and gratitude for God’s promise of eternal rest.  I wonder in that moment who would be there to meet Kathi and welcome her home. 

Returning to the window, I gaze outside and take note of the rain falling.  I feel sorrow for the pain Kathi endured and I am sad for those loved ones (especially Michael, Kate, Matt & Kerri) whom she had to leave behind.  The darkness of day seems to overshadow the mystery of death and resurrection into new life.  I feel hollow, empty, and void of any joy.  Looking to the dark sky, I ask God, “Why today?  Why today did He shower His mercy down and take Kathi Home?”

In the depths of my grief, I am made to see the blessings of His Time and the Greatness of His Love.  Today, mercy drops feel upon Kathi - giving her the courage and the peace she needed to leave this world. 

We are left to trust and accept this storm.  
To Capture & to Believe that blessings can be found in each fallen raindrop.

Rest in Peace, my dear sister-in-law & friend, Kathi