Betty Duffy

Monday, April 26, 2010

Found this in the old diary...

I have been praying that I will have joy in the morning—because mornings, considering the work that lies ahead and the vast needs of my children—have been especially difficult. There is never enough sleep.

I’m at Mom and Dad’s, as Husband is out of town, and I woke up while it was still dark to some wailing in the distance. I thought it was the coy-dogs, at first. I couldn’t tell if it was night or day. My bladder wasn’t too full—still night? But my shoulders and hips were stiff as though they’d been in position underneath me for a long time.

I heard the noise again, and realized that it was the rooster crowing. Morning. And I wasn’t going back to sleep. Early morning, no pink yet in the sky. I thought I should force myself to lie back down, but I realized that this might be my call to joy. I was awake, before my parents and children. Before sun. There might be some new solace out there.

I got dressed in the dark and went outside for a walk. In the open sky, there was enough light that I could make out my surroundings. Birds just started to chirp. I stirred up some turtledoves in the ditch, and they scared me, because before they flew across my path, they grunted, and I had a moment of confusion. What grunts in ditches in the darkness? I had no idea.

Yesterday, my daughter came inside, alarmed, and said, “I heard a noise out there by the barn. I think it was a monster, or a tiger, or maybe just a hammer.” In fact, it was my oldest son using a hammer, but like my daughter, my first response to the unknown was fear. The grunting beast in the ditch was a monster or a wild dog, and just when I could feel my legs prickle in the anticipation of a coming attack, the doves flew up into the woods. Beast? Dove? The fear was the same.

On the road were new anxieties, like which way to turn at the end of the driveway? Towards traffic, where speedy drivers might not see me in the dim light? Or towards the gravel road, where I knew the mosquitoes were rabid in the dip in the road by the creek. Or maybe a different route altogether? A diversion where I can’t anticipate mosquitoes, or traffic, or unfriendly dogs? If I never returned, my parents would not know where to look for me aside from my usual route.

I chose the unknown path anyway because the known dangers of traffic or mosquitoes now seemed like more of a nuisance than the unknown, which might not even be. So I walked up the road behind my parents’ farm, with soft hills, a shale brook that bred no mosquitoes, a tree farm, and a vast quantity of dewy scented clover.

There were no dogs. No traffic. No dangers at all. And I walked until it seemed prudent to turn around, and did so, in time to see the horizon turn fuschia, reflecting against the blinded windows of still sleeping houses, lighting wheat fields, and feeding me a blessed meal of color; blue, green, and violet.

Here was joy in the morning, having asked for it only two days in prayer.

I walked back to the house, now the sky was lit, and all the birds awake. A robin chased a female out to a field, trying to engage her in some sort of play. She rejected him, advancing ten yards. He persistently followed, and they skittered that way across the field.

At home, everyone was still sleeping. It was 6:30, so I have must have gotten up around 5. I showered, dressed, went to the porch to pray that I won’t be the unsmiling sad-sack I’ve been for so long.

I want to wake my kids up for a change. I want to see their mouths agape in sleep, the drool on their pillows, and the first flutter of their eyelids. Wouldn’t they be surprised to see me dressed and smiling in the morning?

Maybe I have asked for too much in the past: lasting, unconditional happiness? Maybe it is enough to start the day praising God.


wifemotherexpletive said...

hello beauty. nice to see you, sorry to have kept you waiting...

Hope said...

I loved this post. There is such a peacefulness and soothing rythm to it. For some reason it made me think of Gunilla Norris's book Being Home.