Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Giving In

Steve and I got into it over the dogs. He got very angry and quit speaking to me. The details don't matter, but I felt he was seriously over-reacting and crossed a line, and needed to apologize. Apologies seem to be my role, but I was righteously indignant and felt that if I made the apology I would give him permission to do the same thing again and again, so I remained silent.

We were in the truck heading to Oklahoma. The atmosphere was quite chilly, each of us resolute. I was determined to come from a position of strength, and taking the first step felt like weakness.

Then I began to think of how God treats me. Even though I am wrong, behaving poorly, and obviously in the wrong (if there is a disagreement between me and God, it is pretty obvious that am the one in the wrong) it is always God who reconciles with me. Is he weak for doing so? No. Do I lose respect for him? No. So why should I behave differently? If God who is totally just, totally holy, totally righteous comes after me when I am clearly in the wrong, why should I not make the move to reconcile when I am never certain to be 100% correct?

My pride should never keep me from trying to act like God does. Why is it that my finest thinking falls so far short? I must have the input of the Holy Spirit explaining the nature of God to me or I would be convinced that my thinking in this and other matters was right. Once the nature of God in this matter became clear, all the anger and indignation I had been holding onto deflated.

OK in OK

Monday night we got a call that our son Craig was finally in the states, back from Iraq. He wanted us to come to his arrival ceremony in Lawton, Oklahoma the following day. We left very early on Tuesday and drove straight through. Unfortunately we overslept and left about an hour after we had planned to. We also forgot that we would lose an hour. We missed the ceremony by about an hour, but we did get to see our son. He looks great. We also met the girl he is seeing, though we don't know how serious it is. How serious could it be when he's been in Iraq for the past year?

Anyway, we went out to dinner, took him to get a cell phone, went bowling, went to bed, got up at 4:45 and drove home.

I wish I was a painter to capture the fields in northern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle. The fields were so beautiful. I would have to paint them in watercolors to represent the subtle shades of russet, ambers, browns, greys, yellows, silvers and even blues found in the autumn fields. The grasses along the roadside were a bluish-grey usually only seen by the light of a winter moon. It took my breath away, all under the light of azure skies. One set of shades on the way there gave way to a different set on the return. What trick of light took all the orange and reds from the same fields? Interesting too how the ground went from pale and grey to dark volcanic soil to tans and even reds in Texas.

The return trip today revealed pronghorns singly and in groups by the dozen. Cattle of every shade ignored by pronghorns sometimes only noticed by their white rumps, so well do they blend into the hillsides.

It's absolutely insane to drive to Lawton one day and return the next. I feel like I could sleep for a week.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Going to the Dogs

The past 8 days have been all about dogs. Our dogs have disappeared 6 times, and we've spent a great deal of time, gas, money and emotion in retrieving them. We are looking at how to repair the new fence that they have broken. We have had discussions and even loud angry arguments about who's to blame and what to do to prevent further occurences. We've discussed whether to get rid of Happy who is the ring leader in these little escapades. I've cried and had an emotional meltdown and am so emotionally charged up that my reactions are over the top.

So, Saturday and Sunday I sat an open house. It went well on Saturday, though the buyers already had a realtor. On Sunday a couple came by with their realtor and went in the back yard. The next-door neighbor dogs dug under the fence and came after them, chasing them back into the house. Terrific. Then these two dogs stood in the back yard, barking in an aggressive manner, acting very territorial. No, the neighbors did not come out, nor did they answer the door when I knocked.

So tell me, do you want to buy a house where the dogs next door bark, dig their way into your yard and come after you and your guests? I have to admit that after the week we've had, I found it rather amusing.


The Rock and the Grain of Sand

Long ago and far away, there lived a grain of sand, small and insignificant. When the sun hit her just right she was beautiful beyond belief in the brilliance of the light she reflected. One day the grain encountered a rock, sturdy, rugged and tough, the very things a young grain of sand dreams of.

Though she was very young and her family and friends had doubts, she had none and invested everything she had in the rock she had come to love. And though his family was dismayed by her insignificance and youth, he gave everything he had for that grain of sand.

The rock and the grain of sand struggled to make a life together, and as suspected by all their friends and family, it was very difficult, for the rock was rough and she was small and not very sturdy. In fact her very presence was sometimes a great irritant, and he would toss her into the waves to “toughen up” like himself.

His toughness soon felt like roughness, and she battered against it, trying to get the roughness out of him. Day after day as he tossed her into the sea, she came up against a creature who also found her an irritant, but instead of resenting her presence, merely coated her with a layer of love and protection and sent her on her way, back to her rough rock. As her rough rock would ride the waves of the sea, he encountered the same creature, but that creature was to him nothing but a hard battering shell, which over time began to remove bits of his hard exterior. He was being beaten, and she was being smothered, but each had no idea what was happening to the other, for he spoke of the creature as a tormentor, while she spoke of the creature as a gentle protector.

As her friends saw her being thrown daily into the rough seas, they begged her to leave the rock, fearing that she would be lost forever, but she had given all she had for the rock, and even though she detested the rough seas and being thrown about, she would not give up her investment and some days caught a glimmer of something else, the thing she had imagined beneath her rock’s rough exterior.

Years passed, and sometimes the tide picked them both up and carried them away, but always to his battering creature and she to her protector. Her rock never realized that it was the same wave carrying them both, but began to see the sea as a tormentor out to get him and he would curse the waves. She rode the same rough seas, but since they always carried her to her guardian and protector, she grew calmer over time, and did not fight the sea.

More time passed, days, weeks, months, years and ages. One day she looked at him and realized that he was a diamond, slowly being revealed from within his rocky shell. She loved him all the more for it, and realized she had made a wise investment. He, on the other hand, began to see what she had become—a pearl. Not just any pearl, but a pearl of such luminescence and beauty that she would take his breath away. Neither knew what they had become, so each felt unworthy of the other and completely awed by the brilliance and beauty of their investment.

And though she sometimes realized that some of her rough spots were gone, she never fully realized what the creature had done for her, but instead thanked the creature for the protection he had given her in the midst of the waves.

Her rock could not see what the creature had done for him, as he did not see what was being revealed, and was resentful of the sea and the battering he took against the creatures shell.

Years passed. An age and a day went by. On that day the sea was still, as happens once an age and a day. On that day, they went to the water’s edge and caught a glimpse of their reflections. At first he had eyes only for her and she for him, marveling at the beauty of the other, but soon each caught a glimpse of themselves. Who is that? each of them wondered, before recognizing the reflection as being their own. At that moment, the waves pulled back to reveal the creature responsible for their transformation.

“There’s my friend!” she exclaimed as he shouted, “That’s him! He’s the one who has been beating me up.” And the truth began to dawn in each of them that the creature had turned them into objects of great beauty and had made them worthy of the great investment of the other. And at that moment, each of them realized that some time ago, more than an age, but less than an eon, their friends and family had quit telling them that they had made a bad investment, and turned to thank the creature, but he was covered by a wave which came to take them to him, and there they live to this day.