Sitting Wrap-Up

On Sunday, something happened to me that has never happened in any church I have ever attended. During the greeting, the woman next to me refused to shake my hand. She shook her head and waved me off.

 

Let’s just say it’s a good thing she wasn’t sitting next to me when I first visited this church six months ago. I was in a spiritual mid-life crisis. Nothing made sense anymore, especially not church. Then on December 5, 2010, I snuck out of the house at 7 a.m., so no one in my family would know I was gone, to go to our town’s Catholic church, St. Mary’s.

 

What can I say? How do you describe falling in love?

 

I know there’s more to it. After all, I have been married for 19 years.

 

I can’t tell you how strange a turn this is in my life. It’s as strange as sitting for a few minutes each day, watching and listening. And God somehow meeting me in that stillness when I really thought He had better things to do.

 

I want to thank everyone who left a comment during my 32 days of sitting. When I started this project, I was pretty sure I’d lost my faith. How did all of you know that I had roots when I thought I’d just dried up and died?

 

That woman who wouldn’t shake my hand really missed out on that thing we call the Church. Because when God wasn’t real to me anymore, all of you were.

Final Sitting, part 32

“I know who it is!”

 

My favorite line from the movie “The Miracle Maker,” spoken by a girl—a girl who knows Jesus when she sees him. Today, that girl is me, after three years in the tomb of my own woundedness.

 

Last night I saw the woman my daughter calls the Butterfly Lady, so named because her yard of native plants attracts many butterflies.

 

A friend asked the Butterfly Lady, “How’re your flowers?”

 

“They’re fine. No—they’re beautiful,” said the Butterfly Lady. “They’re the best they’ve ever been.”

 

“Even with the drought?” the friend asked.

 

“MmHm. You know, all my flowers are natives. And they’ve been in the ground so long that they’ve become almost completely drought-tolerant. I think they have good roots,” the Butterfly Lady said.

 

I’ve often compared cancer to drought. It’s death by dessication. When that rare piece of good news comes, it’s like unexpected rain, even two-tenths of an inch. And that’s when you find out if your flowers have roots. If they do, then even two-tenths of an inch perks them right up.

 

Guess I have roots after all.

Sitting, part 31

in which Megan sits and sees a view during Lent 2011

 

The bell meditation ends. I open my eyes and write.

 

I remember when my mom rang the bell to signal her last chemo (again). She had five more regimens after that.

 

I saw her again last night. We were in her bedroom. She was sitting up in bed, and I was lacing up my shoes to get ready for a run.

 

Her hair was her salt-n-pepper 2007 ‘do, but her face looked exactly like mine. My hair is just like hers, but longer because I couldn’t bear to cut it for a whole year. The only time she liked my hair long was when she didn’t have any of her own.

 

In the dream, I thought about how I’d been in bed recently–sick and tired–and how now I was getting up to run. But for how long? How long until I’m in bed again, like her. How long until I store up all my energy just to make it to church? How long until I can only sit up in bed?

 

And then I woke up.

Sitting, part 30

in which Megan sits and sees a view during Lent 2011

 

Hey. The crepe myrtle has leaves!

 

At spring break, we handed my 14-year-old son a chainsaw and told him to trim the crepe myrtle. Instead, he whacked it. He must have cut off 10 feet.

 

Now that crepe myrtle has seven brand-new stumps, all leafed out. The leaves are red at the tips. It might even recover enough to bloom pink when it gets good and hot, around my son’s birthday.

 

How that tree can grow after the whacking it took, I don’t know. How I can grow after the spiritual whacking I took, I don’t know, either. But I suspect I’m leafing out, too.

Sitting, part 29

in which Megan sits and sees a view during Lent 2011

 

“Enjoy your birds!”

 

So said my AT&T representative. I was talking to her on my back porch, and birds were just as noisy as ever.

 

I don’t always enjoy them. They never really shut up.

 

But today, thanks be to my AT&T representative, I am happy they are here.

Sitting, part 28

in which Megan sits and sees a view during Lent 2011

 

Clover lays her wet head on my leg. The sprinklers got her. She tries to stay out of their way, playing can’t-catch-me, but when the timer activates a new sprinkler section in the yard, she gets caught unaware. She’s soaked.

 

Now, Polo, on the other hand. The sprinklers are her nemesis. She is determined to conquer them. She perches beside the static one–the one low to the ground–slurps up as much water as she can, then darts away. She’s soaked.

 

This year we’ve got to make our own water. The sky clouds up and doesn’t pour. We pray for rain, but run the sprinklers.

Sitting, part 27

in which Megan sits and sees a view during Lent 2011

 

I’m drinking aloe vera-cactus tea from Mexico out of the blue pottery mug from Creede, Colorado. My unorthodox tea reflects both ends of the Rio Grande, that Wild and Scenic River.

 

Wish I were there. Creede, that is. Dad and I dipped our feet in the Mexican side of the river at Big Bend, in February. I haven’t dipped my feet in the Creede end of the river since 2008.

 

Here I am, watching that new grass grow. The old yard was decimated. The edges grew wild grass, but the middle was completely barren.

 

The puppies are scared of the new grass, since they haven’t seen much of it during their 20-month sojourn with us. How can they be almost 2 and still find grass unnatural? Although they have discovered that squares of St. Augustine make nice dog beds.

 

They sleep in the sun and photosynthesize.

Sitting, part 26

in which Megan sits and sees a view during Lent 2011

 

Mid-afternoon on my back porch is pretty darn near perfect.

 

This is my office. Probably 300 square feet. I have a trash can, a gas grill, half-eaten patio furniture, dog bowls, wet sneakers, and soccer chairs that have seen better days. My tea today is cool and tropical.

 

What more could a girl want?

 

“Poetry is about slowing down,” said Mark Strand. So far, no poems have come from this slowing. Yet I’m glad I’ve slowed.

Sitting, part 25

in which Megan sits and sees a view during Lent 2011

 

Today

I allow myself to be confused

I allow myself to not write

I allow myself to be wrong on something and just be grateful someone caught my mistake

I allow myself to bake brownies

I allow myself to bake pumpkin muffins

I allow myself to do simple tasks, like take the cars in to be inspected

I allow myself to cry for no good reason

I allow myself to do just one load of laundry

I allow myself to not sit outside with the dogs because I need a day to not be needed

Today

Sitting, part 24

in which Megan sits and sees a view during Lent 2011

 

6:40 a.m. Still dark. I’ve been up about an hour and a half. Walked the puppies. Had my morning coffee with chocolate soy milk and a granola bar.

 

No moon–too cloudy.

 

Cicadas. Early birds.

 

The sky is blueing.

 

Turn off the porch light. Bring the lit candle closer.

 

The dogs next door are playing with that empty bucket.

 

A smidgen of moonlight appears in the clouds. Still no moon.

 

It looks like steam is rising from my candle. It’s the burning scent of ruby red grapefruit.

 

Praying for the light of Christ to enter my children’s lives and brighten their darkness. They look like this morning does—light stored, waiting. “Gathering,” Rich said. There is this potential for dawn.

 

The trees are becoming shadows against the sky, already lit from behind.

 

First car of the day roars by.

 

Lean close to the candle. Inhale morning.