The Season We Are In

“I can’t do this.”

These four words have been rattling around in my head quite a bit lately. As the drops have fallen from the showerhead and my eyes, I have even whispered them aloud. “I. Can’t. Do. This.”

I’m okay. Things are okay. There are people who have more struggles every single day than I do. I don’t take my blessings lightly. And I don’t mean to make light of the very real hard things people around me and around the world are going through.

Still, if I’m keeping it real–and am transparent, I’ve had moments, especially in the past year, month, week, where I feel so blame overwhelmed, I just don’t know how to keep on keepin’ on. To be honest, I keep looking around for the grownup in charge.

Yesterday I decided to go outside and sit on my front steps. My front steps got me through a lot of the days at the beginning of this pandemic. We live on a culdesac, and my porch is surrounded by flora–a loropetalum on one side and a loquat tree on the other–so there is no shortage of sounds, smells, and sights to take in and just sit and be with. During loquat season, I watched one of my feathered friends come over and drink from the fruit and then hop over to another branch and clean his beak on a leaf before flying off. I’m just thankful my tree produces enough fruit for us to enjoy and to share with the squirrels and birds who reside with us in our little corner of our world.

I was taking in the afternoon, breathing in the fresh air and thankful that I could. Suddenly one of our resident bird friends hopped over to the walkway between lorapetalum and loquat. I said hello, and then saw this happen.

This amazing creature who defies logic by taking to the air and FLYING brought her snack over in front of me and proceeded to partake.

Y’all.

She ate a wasp.

A wasp.

And then she turned and looked me straight in the eye before she flew off to continue tending to her business.

I heard you, my winged wonder. I heard you as clearly as I heard the wind gently whispering through the leaves.

“You’ve got this, girl. I promise you this. If I can eat a flippin’ wasp, you’ve got this. It’s okay to be sad or feel overwhelmed, but when it comes down to it, take what you can find in this season and make it work–YOU’VE GOT THIS.”

And then she hopped off.

Because, I mean, she’d had her snack and she had lots more to do before the sun went down. After all, she has the wisdom to get things done while the sun shines and then rest when it doesn’t. Another thing I could learn from her.

It is not lost on me, this message that I so desperately needed to hear. This encouragement that my soul was crying out for. But the messenger is also not lost on me. My Daddy used to sit in his recliner by the window in our living room and watch the birds live out their stories in the arbor vitae along our dirt and gravel driveway. I wonder what lessons and messages he got from them over the years, especially his last one where that window was literally his window to the world as the hospice bed replaced the recliner. I can’t help but wonder if my bird friend was sent by my Daddy, as I have so wished he were here to ask for answers that would guide me and bring me some peace.

Take courage, my friends. As numbers and words and thoughts and opinions tend to divide and separate and cause doubt or pain or uncertainty or loss, know that you’ve got this. There are things out there that might seek to harm us, to sting us and take us down. But it’s important to remember, as the tears threaten to take over or emotions come wave after wave, that sting can be taken down. Literally and figuratively.

If you’re feeling like you can’t do this, know you are not alone. Take heart and remember our feathered friend. It was going to be cold that night. There’s no fruit on the loquat tree for her to munch on–that was a different season. The season we are in right now provided no sweetness for her; instead it offered her a wasp. And instead of giving up, she kept at it until she conquered it and made it work for her.

In this season we are in, let’s do that, y’all. Maybe together it will be easier. The season of sweetness will surely return, but for now, instead let’s take what we can find and make it work. Even that which would harm or divide us can serve a purpose, if only we stand together.

You are not alone. Love to all.

“It hurts too much to smile”

The past couple of days our neighborhood has been filled with bicycles.  Riding up and down the streets.  Children racing and laughing and it has been absolutely wonderful, as they stretch their legs and spirits after long days of learning.

Yesterday Cooter and our Princess were out riding with friends, old and new.  Then it happened.  Cooter headed over to his best bud’s house and misjudged the distance and his braking power.

He got in a fight with a brick mailbox.

And lost.

It looked much worse than it was.  At least I hope so.  Once I ascertained that it was an external injury–really bad scrape down his jaw line on one side of his face, I was able to begin working on calming him down.  He was very, very upset and very, very shaken.  When he started to tell Mess Cat what happened when she dropped by, his chin wobbled.  Bless him.  More than this Mama’s heart can bear for sure.

What do you want baby–you can have it.  

He wanted something cold to drink.  And then not.  He wanted to watch TV, and I discovered that he gets and LOVES Tom and Jerry.  Whatever, man, I didn’t even know what to do with that.  So I chose to be thankful for the sound of his subdued laughter.

At his worst moment, he was pretty convinced he was going to die.  I assured him this was not the case, and what would I do without him?  Who would come in and smile and wave at me every morning?

“I don’t know,” he mumbled, keeping his mouth as still as possible.  “Ask Princess.  Or Daddy.”

Oh my.

He looked so sad.  Stoic.  When Anxiety Girl got on my last nerve worrying over him, I finally asked him, “Why do you look so sad?  Can you give me even one little smile?”

He sighed and shook his head. “No ma’am.  I can’t.  It hurts too much to smile.”

Bless him.  Bless this little guy.

Because he speaks the truth.  Sometimes our wounds are so great and so painful that even just a smile hurts too much.

And sometimes those wounds are not visible to the outside world, so folks are left wondering why we are the way we are–why we can’t bring ourselves to smile and join in the merriment.

Because life is hard, people.  And I daresay that every single one of us is sporting a wound or a scar that at one time or another or right at this very moment makes it hard for us to smile.

And when that happens, I hope that you have someone who will sit and watch Tom and Jerry with you and hold your hand and put healing things on your soul so that in time, with love and care, you can heal–and that they’ll be patient with you, as healing can take a while.

May we all find a way to work through the pain of the journey and come out on the other side able to smile again–even if there’s a scar, may we always be able to find a way to smile once again.

Love to all.

viahttp://tomandjerry.wikia.com/wiki/Tom_Cat/Gallery

viahttp://tomandjerry.wikia.com/wiki/Tom_Cat/Gallery

ps–there are no pictures of his “scrape.”  You’re welcome.