Friday, July 24, 2009

Some days it's a tough row to hoe

I am, at last, after almost three months of transition time, back on a relatively normal schedule this morning (though I overslept a little; so nice to be back in my own bed!).

So I shouldn't be surprised to find I'm cranky and out-of-sorts: Meditation is a practice, after all, and if muscles begin to atrophy when we don't exercise them, surely the spirit -- or whatever it is that gets exercised in meditation -- would also be a bit slow, even backward -- after a long down period.

But I had thought -- well, hoped, really, that being back in my routine would be a bit like returning to a lover after a long absence; sort of an ecstatic experience. Instead it's more like having a husband come home after a long absence (I am reminded of some of the experiences I read about in our local submarine museum, which has a whole exhibit devoted to the wives of these men who are gone from home for so many months at a time).

When I am separated from my husband, I get used to being in control, doing things when and how I want to do them. And when he returns -- though there is that initial delight to see him -- there is this juggling thing that happens while we navigate the transition and I learn again to share responsibility, to invite his opinions and listen to them, to talk about my frustrations... Oh, right. This is what learning to live with an unemployed or retired husband is all about, isn't it!

I should not be surprised to discover -- again -- that God isn't like a wonderful mistress or lover, only there for the good stuff, the ecstatic stuff; that a relationship with God is still a relationship, littered with ups and downs, times of connection and distance, and (which is bothering me today) times when you come up against your own shortcomings and that face in the mirror just doesn't look like a very nice person.

Fortunately, just as my husband keeps telling me he loves me in spite of what looks like bitchiness to me, God keeps loving me even when I don't feel like I'm doing a very good job of living up to what I thought a child of God should look like. And I suppose that's why this picture worked for me this morning: because this path we're on looks a bit like farming. There'll be good weather and bad weather, good years and bad years. With luck you'll get a stretch of good weather and bring in enough hay to get you through the winter. And the fact is, the ground will still be there next spring, and the grass will still grow, and the farmer's job -- like mine -- is to do his best to stay on top of things, to plow when it's time to plow and harvest when it's time to harvest; to keep the barns and fences mended, the equipment in good order, and to share the bounty as best he can.


kimquiltz @ an oft traveled road said...

Oh my, sounds like a lotta work! But what worthwhile venture/adventure doesn't?

I'm glad you are home, I feel like I haven't had my regularly scheduled visits lately...:O)

altar ego said...

Something else occurs to me about the farming metaphor. The seasoned farmer knows that there will be cycles of fruitful and lackluster growing seasons and harvests. He rejoices in the good, sighs with resignation when there is disappointment, but KNOWS that the present cycle will yield to the next. AND, there is nothing inherently bad about the soil. It depends on other variables for productivity, like rain, sun, hot and cold temperatures, good seeds, no pests, helpful fertilizer, and so on. It's true that neglect will lead to harder work down the road to restore what was once viable, even if unproductive.

Thanks for this, it gave me food for thought and took me somewhere helpful!

karengberger said...

Amen, Sister. If we would just listen to nature more... said...

Good reminder: the soil is good. Sometimes hard, when spiraling down, not to assume our soil is diseased and worthless...