Saturday, November 10, 2012

Of Rainclouds and Wildfires

 It rained on the way south this week.
Nothing dramatic,
but a welcome sign that the season is finally shifting
into true Fall.
 I remember that rain is a good, good thing--
when it comes at the right time,
and in the right amount.
Just a few short days ago, this was our view
for about 75 anxious minutes.
 That day was hot--over 90 degrees,
and this fire was close enough to see flames
and to evacuate dozens of homes at the top of our hill.
 But a bright-red-bird brought gallons of sea water
up onto the dry hillside,
and a deep-bellied tanker dropped red dust
all down the fire line,
and this time, we were spared the fury of a wildfire.

However, there are all kinds of wildfires in this life.
And we're in the middle of one just now.
My mother is enduring a kind of fire 
for which there is no antidote, short of death.
No red-bird-miracle-water-drops,
no magic dust.
And of all the wildfires our family has survived 
in the past half dozen years, this one is, 
in some ways, the worst one yet,
at least for me.
Because, you see, my mother knows she is ablaze,
that she is being slowly but surely ravaged,
that all that has been lush and green is now turning to ash.
She knows it.
And that is the hardest part of all.
We will have to make some difficult decisions 
in the next few weeks. 
And she will be terrified 
and she will feel betrayed 
and she will wonder why. 

So today, I am praying for wisdom.
And grace.
And I am searching for ways to be grateful
and mean it,
for ways to link my lament to praise,
for the strength and will 
to relinquish my own fears and grief. 

Many weeks ago I submitted an essay to Rachel Held Evans'
Women of Valor series. 
I wrote one about my mother,
and how hard it is to see her struggling at this end
of her long, good life.
It will be published as the last in the series on December 8th. 
On that day, I will come back here and give you a link
to Rachel's website,
and I hope you'll follow it over to read my heart.
I will not write further about her now,
except to say this much:
I love my mother very much,
I am more grateful for her than I can possibly
put into words.
Our relationship is long and complicated,
filled with so much good--
and a few things that have taken therapy to sort out!
But if I were given the privilege of choosing my mother--
I would choose her, in a heartbeat.

Although this particular reflection does not fit any of these themes, I will join this one with Jennifer Lee, Emily Wierenga, Duane Scott, Cheryl Smith and Ann Voskamp.