a prayer

May 30, 2021

I’m afraid. Afraid to hope. Afraid to admit to anyone, beyond whispers to my own quivering heart, that I love my job. Having “loved and lost,” as it were, there is a very tangible fear that I’m kidding myself to think that I am doing something good here … that the amputees and aging patients I see may be helped by my work … that my coworkers may appreciate my presence … that I may have found the “right fit.” Lord, grant me the wisdom to know the next right step, and the serenity to accept each next injection-giving, wound-caring, and pain-level-documenting. Grant me patience for the patients. And please, dear Lord please, let my heart not be broken once again. Amen. #prayerofahealthcareworker


May 24, 2021

Race day. The day on which the world’s most elite athletes gather in our humble town for one of the world’s most elite races: the Ironman (yes—THE Ironman!). The day on which said elite athletes wage war against both their own physical limits and our fine Southern weather, while the rest of us observe from the comfort of our cars, lamenting the difficulty in navigating roads that are now reserved for runners and bicyclists. Well, maybe some are in “comfort;” that is a decidedly relative word when summer hits, in my little non-AC’d, dark-interior’d, oven of a car. But that is another story, for another day. 

Today, like I said, is Race Day. So this morning we discovered that we had timed our drive to church perfectly, hitting one of the main roads precisely as the first wave of bikers shot past. At each intersection along the route, policeman are stationed, so we slowed to a halt at the sight of the officer’s ramrod-straight arm and stern face as he indicated we were to wait. We waited–a lone vehicle on a road now dedicated to cyclists. A long time. Eventually even my inordinately patient husband began to comment on several gaps in the stream during which he knew he could have made it. But we waited. Finally, once several cars were waiting on each side of the intersection, two vehicles were given the go-ahead. We made it in plenty of time, though, thanks to a church service known for it’s “relaxed” start time.

A few hours later I geared up for my own athletic endeavor: Project Survive-the-Drive-to-GramBea (her place being across town, and directly across the path of the race. Sure enough, I soon hit a similar barricade to the one Peter and I encountered this morning. Approaching the officer, I could not help but notice his referee-like stance, with knees bent, legs primed for motion, arms lifted, and head moving back and forth as he surveyed the scene. When I got close enough for him to see that my window was down (Yes, in 90-degree weather. See paragraph 1), he leapt over to the window. Rather startled, my eyes widened with the fear that I had goofed somehow. I’m not the greatest driver in the world and have been known to make dumb mistakes, forgetting proper driver protocol or etiquette . . . or driving too slowly and provoking road rage behind me. But that’s another another-story, for another day . . . 

Back to Race Day.

Leaning in towards me, the officer shouts, “Two seconds-then gun it!”

He dashes back to the road and I realize, with horror, that he intends for me to shoot across the road in the next way-too-small gap between cyclists. I begin to sweat (Oh wait—I was already sweating like a madwoman. See Paragraph 1). I realize that there is no way my 2001 4-cylinder straight shift is going to make it. Or at least, not with my level of driving skill. But what am I going to do? There’s no time to argue even if I were so inclined. I take a deep breath. I clutch the steering wheel (not hard to do with my oft made-fun-of, granny-style habit of scooting the seat as far forward as I can). 

I hear a shout. “GUN IT!!!”

I practically squeeze my eyes shut and hold my breath in order to do it. But I do. And somehow, miraculously, I manage some form of “gunning it.” And I don’t even mar an innocent cyclist in the process.

The rest of the day passes in a sort of smug certainty in my newly discovered prowess behind the wheel.  And a memory comes to mind from years ago, when I was living with my other grandma—Oma. She once admitted to me, slightly sheepish due to her staunch, law-abiding, good German Baptist status, that she occasionally had a bit of a “lead foot.” Her driving record bore witness to this, in fact, although she was quick to clarify that it was not intentional; an unfortunate tendency to lose track of . . . speed? So perhaps it is in my blood: destined to be lead-footed? 

Today, however, I choose to revel in my self-proclaimed prowess. Just call me Mario

And a time …

May 19, 2021

Against all odds (considering they were planted by the world’s blackest thumb), they are blooming. And even for one who prefers daisies to irises, I cannot help but smile at the hope these blossoms bring. Hope that something I have worked for can come to fruition. Hope that all is not lost in a world of cynicism and sarcasm. Hope that childlike delight can prevail—the kind of delight that comes without hesitation or self-conscious questioning. Delight in an extravagant display of absolutely, impractically useless, beauty.


May 10, 2021

Last night we decided to test our fire alarm. Mind you, it actually goes off with some regularity thanks to my culinary adventures [you know how professional chefs experiment with innovative techniques? Others of us experiment with levels of tolerable “crispness” on the bottom of a pot of rice. Or the top of a shepherd’s pie ;-)]

But that’s beside the point. Point being, we conducted an official test:

Coming in from our Mother’s Day festivities, in the middle of a brooding thunderstorm, I set about cozying the house for the evening. When lighting the candle in the living room, I noticed the odd flame on the lighter, with a large, two-pronged flame. It still did the job, so I lit the candle, put the lighter back in the junk drawer, and continued with household routines.

Walking back into the kitchen a few minutes later, I saw an odd glow under the counter. At that point, while I opened the glowing drawer, our fire alarm when off. In an un-thinking, single-motion reaction, I leapt back, reached into the sink and tossed the dishpan filled with “suds” (soapy water left over from our last dish washing) onto the drawer.

Peter was walking in the door as I did this and he, responding to the scene in front of him, swept in behind me, pulled the drawer out from its hinges, and dashed back out the door with it. It didn’t take long for the fire to die, with the water filling the drawer and Peter batting down the flames.

“Guess we needed to clear out the junk drawer,” Peter quipped, as we recovered our normal breathing rate after the fact.

Nodding to the cup of chocolate I had mixed, directly above the drawer, I agreed, adding that I’d also decided to experiment with an innovative new chocolate crème brulée.

All things considered, it was a remarkably damage-free event (a solitary black spot left on the wooden bottom of the drawer, and most of the “junk” in the “junk drawer” relegated to the garbage. The longer-lasting effect on me has been that of gratitude—gratitude for the mystery of instant crisis responses (I know that mothers experience this all the time, reacting instantaneously and without thought to the myriad of potential threats daily life presents to the well-being of a child). In this instance, I was not consciously aware of that pan of water sitting there near the flame—but somehow my split-second survey made it the logical recourse for my problem solving brain. Likewise, Peter had no apparent preparation for the sight of me flinging soapy water across the kitchen; but he certainly didn’t hesitate to wrench that drawer out from the cabinet.

This has been a season of discomfort for me—as it has for many, if not most, of you as well. I often think of the word “angst” when trying to describe the state of insecurity and second-guessing that has been my inner reality more often than not. I tend to argue with myself over this state, feeling that surely I should be old enough to be beyond such feelings of inadequacy. Clearly that is not the realty of my experience as a human being. And because of this fact, I find it wonderfully comforting to discover that, regardless of what I may feel competent in, or confident about, when push comes to shove, we are, truly, fearfully and wonderfully made. We have no idea what we are actually capable of—and I, for one, find this realization to be helpful in the face of the fear that life can, and does, provoke.

A few days ago Peter and I were trying to work through some relational questions/conflicts. He called me out on my tendency to react in ways that suggest an underlying fear. Fear is something I would have likely not been aware of in my younger days of “adventure” and world travels. But I have known for quite some time now that my outwardly bold and adventurous younger days belied my true state of inner fear . . . and that in fact it was the fear itself that prompted many of my apparently bold actions and choices. This is a musing for another day, however :-)

For now, suffice it to say that this same fear is these days making itself manifest in my relationships. There is no room for love in a fear-filled and fearful heart. And what is a life worth if not for love? 

So, Lord help me, I choose to choose love, not fear. 

How did a post about a fire turn into a plea for a life of love? I am as clueless as you, reader, on this question. But, I suppose, in the same way that a body reacts in mysterious and wonderful ways when faced with a call to action, a heart can do the same. May this heart, then, faced with a fear-provoking future respond, instead, with swift action  . . . with bold love.