Avian Dwelling

I took the bird photograph above with Photo Booth, too - a set of file folders that I purchased to organize my life. As of today, those birds perch on my MacBook desktop to greet me each morning after I push the power button. Their innocence and color palette cheer me, so much so that I decided to unload my cheer on you readers by giving my blog a face lift. A similar background hue anyway; too much red text was a little garish so I changed it to blue and brown. A new color scheme is refreshing since I am still butt-bound to the couch with either heat or ice stuck to my back. To be fair, there is more backular improvement, but I also know that I better take it easy or my progress will quickly backslide to extreme pain.

I had plans today, you know. Not exciting plans, but I wanted to clean the bathroom. Do laundry. Bake Papaw's buttermilk pies for my friend Charity and the nurses at the nursing home. Go with Johnny to Home Depot and peruse a few more paint and bamboo floor colors as well as Sherwin-Williams' Duration Home and Harmony lines (I'm thinking paint with low VOC's are ideal for asthmatics such as me and my Mom, so long as the price is reasonable). Not to mention another Pilates class I missed this afternoon.

Enough complaining. This verse snapped me back to serenity: "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by." The Psalms are always good for my personal psyche. Though written by a royal poet long ago, they feel like prayers spilt from my own lips. Today I recommended The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy, and "Women's Work" to a Shelfari friend and flipped a few pages to find a quote by Dorothy Day, "My strength...returns to me with my cup of coffee and the reading of the Psalms." I concur. This morning I rolled out of bed groggy from Valium and pouted until I received more coffee from Johnny's hands and finally got around to reading Psalm 57.

Then my frown turned almost upside down as I took inventory of my simple accomplishments today. Vitamins ordered. Psalms read. Mid-morning stretching accomplished without writhing pain. Johnny sported more shining armor and did laundry. Took out the trash. He remembered exactly how to fix my high-maintenance oatmeal from yesterday (coconut oil, honey, and ground flax seeds). He picked up Milo from the vet sans his balls (Milo, that is).

I do not wish injury or illness on Johnny, but I've had very few chances to reciprocate such service mainly because he rarely gets sick or strains his muscles. You know why? He worries much less than I do. I truly believe worry and stress take a physical toll on our bodies. I didn't want to admit this to blogdom, but I experienced my first two scary panic attacks - one last week and one on Sunday. Ridiculous. I've always known that fear is my prominent vice and panic attacks were a wake-up call. In fact, one of the reasons I think I might turn out to be a good writer is my vivid imagination. I can take any twitch, bolt of pain, headache, or the like, turn it into any chronic illness and envision my death bead and funeral. Trust in the Maker is lacking.

So as I sit, I pray with the rhythm of breath for more faith, peace, and strength. No silly-nilly immaturity will do. I want to mimic Billie in the nursing home. Her favorite Psalm is #91 and when I read it aloud, she gazes out her window whether it frames sunshine or tumultuous weather. Her eyes glow with faith comprised of steel. Her mind is rolling in the fog of Alzheimer's, her body is riddled with lupus and God knows what else (she cannot get out of bed alone), but as I've shared here before she always says, "Honey, that is why I don't fear anything. Not a thing." I look back at her wrinkled face gorgeous with wisdom and know she will be on my list of heroes, a spiritual mentor.

I see the current issue of Dwell on our coffee table, the cover displaying a cool loft home, a renovated punk-rock club in Los Angeles Chinatown. Dwell. Today I dwell in God's feathers. After all, Johnny Cash sang, "Then the father hen will call his chickens home." I dwell under our current little roof anticipating our spacious house with walls of color and new furniture to replace futons and hand-me-downs we've gratefully lounged upon during our first four years of marriage. I smile with hope at the yet-born children who will chaotically fill our natural home. I dwell in a thankful state - for hope, for healing to flourish. I'm awake.


allison said...

It must be in the air. I just took a long, hot bubble bath (my friend Maleah's remedy for stress migraines which I seem to be developing) with an Advil. Fortunately, I also took the Book of Acts with me, the new translation from the Voice, and read with fresh eyes about the original "emergent" church. How out of whack my life seems to be in contrast to those exuberant believers, how bogged down and squandered. Sigh. I just bought those same file folders over the weekend. Maybe my obsession with birds, or part of it, has to do with the fact that they are the example Christ pointed to when He admonished his followers not to worry. "Look at the birds of the air..., he said." I'm looking and looking and looking.

Christine said...

I love love the new blue color. Reminds me of a robin's egg. I understand the anxiety, I do. I'll be praying for you, Jenni.