Yesterday was a very busy day. I worked an “A” period; which means a 3AM wake up. Then I went straight over to Bethel Atlanta for church from the airport. Then I got home around 2PM and put the finishing touches on my sermon. We had church at 6 and after I preached I got home around 8:30. I went to bed at 10:30 to start it all again today with a 3AM wakeup. It’s no wonder I was just sitting in my chair watching the news in a light sleep for the last hour and a half. The good news is I don’t have to get up until 6:30 tomorrow. Work doesn’t start until 9:20. I was able to get a run in this afternoon. It was a beautiful day, hot but the humidity seemed lower than in the past few days. This afternoon I spent a little time out back pulling a few weeds and fixing my “squirrel proof “ bird feeder that the squirrels were eating all the food from. Yes, I am still having a running battle with the squirrels, and I think that they are winning. No, I haven’t bought a gun yet, but it is more tempting every day. Less than a month ago I gave up on my baffle that was supposed to keep them from the feeders. I also gave up on my feeders that weren’t “squirrel proof”. I went and bought another feeder. This one was “guaranteed for life”. Well last week I came out and found parts of it chewed up and strewn along the back yard. I know the little devils are mean and vindictive, but this is ridiculous. So I took it back with my receipt. Well, they won’t take it back (the squirrels have chewed on the metal, marking it all up.) But they did give me new parts. Evidently they keep a supply for just things like this. The owner is very nice, and I certainly am not mad at her. She said she would order a metal part for the plastic one that was eaten up. So I took my new parts and put the feeders back together. That was Saturday. Today, one of the feeders was messed up and the squirrel was hanging off it getting fat. It really would have been a good shot. Well, if I ever do get a gun, I will never tell. Otherwise I might get arrested when I post on this blog that I had target practice today. Well I wanted to have target practice, but I didn’t have anything to throw at them.
I like our back yard. Julia and I have worked hard on it. About a year and a half ago, we went all natural in the back. We had it terraced, and plants and pine straw put in. I like three things about it. First it is small but backs up to the woods so it looks big. Second there is no grass to cut. Third, there is no grass to cut. Did I tell you that there is no grass to cut in the back? When we downsized about 6 years ago, I really wanted to move into a condo. I was tired of doing yard work, and I didn’t want any more. Our previous house had 3 acres of land and the one before that had 13 acres. I have done my share of yard work and I was tired of it. But Julia wasn’t ready for a condo. She loved to work in the yard. We have blueberry plants (I like them). We would also have two to three tomato plants and some Jalapeno pepper plants. She would tend to these and all of the other herbs and plants. I would cut and edge the front and the side yard. It really doesn’t take too long to cut, especially now that the back has no grass. But I really got mad at Julia for a minute. I am seeing weeds come up in different areas and she’s not here to pull them out. She is the one that wanted the yard. It’s really not fair that she left me to have to deal with it. I’m halfway joking, I really wasn’t mad; although the thought she would have to do her share did cross my mind. It’s just another thing that I have to find time to do. There are so many things to do that I don’t really care about doing. But they have to be done, so I will get to them. I have watched much less TV since she has been gone. Part of that is being in school and a lot of it is that I am usually writing and thinking about this blog for a t least an hour a night. This started out as a discipline, then it became a habit. Now it is life. I couldn’t go to bed not having spent this time. Some nights are more inspired than others. Some like tonight are sort of rambling. But each night serves it’s purpose. Each night’s purpose is different and it’s hard to figure it out until I start writing.
The back yard is pretty right now. There are purple flowers, some yellow flowers and others about to bloom. The terraced layers each have its own feel. There is a birdbath on the second level. Then farther down are the bird (squirrel) feeders and finally in the very back of the yard sits a beautiful Cypress swing. It is natural wood that has been stained. It hangs from it’s own wood stand. There is a metal table in front and two metal chairs on one side with another table. The swing is empty. It was Julia’s mother’s day present last year. I had a heck of a time putting it together and staining it, but I was really proud when we got it up. We spent a lot of our summer and early fall afternoons sitting in that swing talking. Even on the hottest days, it was fairly cool in the shade back there. But the swing is empty now. I haven’t been able to go down there yet. It still hurts too bad. Last summer it seemed that most of deep conversations were held there. We both loved just swing next to each other and enjoying the back yard and each other. To day would have been the perfect day to swing, but not yet, not by myself. I’ll wait until I have company or when the kids are here. It will be fun to have the granddaughters out there. They will love it and so will I. Or there just might be a night when I want to go out there. I don’t know. I do know that the swing will draw me out eventually. I pray that when I do go, I will be able to sit and just bask in Papas love. I know that He will let me grieve for Julia for a while, and then He will gently begin to show me His love, and His desires for me. Just like now, the pain will be intense, but will be immediately washed over by such a peaceful restful feeling.
I am beginning to discover a secret. This is a secret of how His love is working through me. He is allowing me to see things, not all at once, but separately, like the empty swing. Then He allows me to process my thoughts and feelings. I have been thinking about that swing for around three days, if not longer. I know the joy and pain that is associated with it. The He has me write about it and the joy and pain become so strong and so real that it is hard to bear, but then His love and peace flood over me like a fire hose or a car wash and just as quick, the pain is gone replaced by His peace and overwhelming love. Right now, I feel that if the sun was out I could go right down and sit in the swing with His love and Julia’s love surrounding me. This is what the writing is doing. It is sometimes creating a quick cathartic moment in which I can see the pain, and He comes and helps me release it. Wow, as I look back over the last few months I see how He has used it to enable me to deal with so much. I don’t know if it will always be like this. Like I said, every night is different, but the Holy Spirit is sooo creative and so good.