do something different

This morning I decided to do something different. After a mug of piñon coffee and Psalms 90 & 91, I took a walk with Johnny around our neighborhood instead of waiting until evening. We inhaled the scent of spring as the wind teased hair from my ponytail. Mockingbirds swooped at cinematic angles. I'm surprised they didn't break into songs of joy they had learned for all the hope bursting from the seams of creation.

Our tired eyes rested on a young cypress tree. A pink oleander tree. A favorite sycamore tree. An elm tree. Johnny admired "his" turtles by the pond. We greeted a bold baby squirrel perched on a neighbor's fence. We tried to recall the name of the yellow "trumpet flowers" growing in another neighbor's yard. I smiled at the sight of two red roses growing through a crack in a third neighbor's fence — last year there was only one bloom. The clouds moved so fast that their shadows raced across the grass. I was perplexed that the liturgy of the sky seemed to move slowly, yet shadows revealed the swiftness of reality. Johnny used to run after such shadows in his childhood. I pray to hide in the shadow of God's wings. I crave sunlight, but have I ever thanked God for these true shapes of darkness?

And then we saw a tree I could have sworn was dead. Just the other day its bare gray branches were set against a strong tree lush with green. Behold, today the weak tree is budding! This season proclaims renewal every which way you look. It should take our breath away.

But this evening I am weary to the bone, to put it lightly. It seems like I'm always waiting — to feel healthier; to triumph over my vices of worry and fear; to see promises brought to life right before my eyes; to radiate peace and joy. . . . I remember something Johnny shared with me this morning from Matthew Henry's commentary on Psalm 90: "Probably Moses penned this prayer to be daily used, either by the people in their tents, or, at lest, by the priests in the tabernacle-service, during their tedious fatigue in the wilderness." That's what I'm feeling — tedious fatigue in my weatherworn tent of a body. It does the strangest things. Discomfort has been my companion in many a wilderness for how long now?

As I watch the last of the light fade, I can either whine and complain and veer my imagination to stir up all that is bad, or I can pour a glass of Cabernet and practice a little courage. Lift my chin and have faith, for God's sake — it's all about what I cannot see. I don't need to understand. Faith is good and true like shadows and dead trees.

So I'll do something different tonight. I'll echo Moses' prayer:

Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
and for as many years as we have seen evil.
—vs. 13-15

I will pour that glass of wine, thank you. I will start the dryer and listen to our clean clothes tumble. I will read a book. I will enjoy dinner with my husband. And yes, we will watch Dancing with the Stars. At last I will rest my body on our platform bed thanking God for today. I will thank Him for tomorrow — I will do something else different. He will make many things new. I can't wait to see.


Jamie said...

She's baaa--aaack! ;) loved this.

And I love that I also read the same thing as you this morning--there may be something to this whole "Book of Common Prayer" thing ;)

Katy Bowser said...

And that was such a gift at the end of a long day with a sick body. Thank you for that elegantly-noticed, carefully shaped vision, Jenni.

GretchenJoanna said...

"I'm always radiate peace and joy."
My friend, peace and joy shine from your little report here. Not comfort or ease, but the glory of God. Bless you.

jenni said...

Jamie: I love how the lectionary often reveals a theme to each selection of Bible readings. Have you ever noticed that?

Katy: I hope you are feeling better?

Gretchen: Well, praise be to God!

Thanks for such kind words, my friends.

Christine said...

I have so been there too lately, friend. Sometimes I feel trapped in this "weatherworn tent of a body" as well. Thank you for sharing this.

jenni said...

Stine: I will be praying for you. xo.