Thursday, 24 July 2014

Tempo's lost loves


It is hot, where is the breeze, it is a little hard to breathe, if only there was a breeze.  Jen looked up at the bright, clear full moon and listened to the crickets.  She got the hose and began to water the frangipani tree that was continuing to punch above its weight.   “Are you fighting a losing battle little buddy, with enough water and tender loving care can you harden up to the unrelenting summer sun and the harsh winter frosts and prove all the experts wrong?” Jen spoke to the precious tree, she waited a little while as if truly expecting a response but there was no audible answer.  Jen hoped against the odds that it just might be possible that a sweet, gentle pretty tree could survive out here in this harsh climate, one day they might smell the soft aroma of frangipani flowers and she could stop buying the fragrance in a bottle for the oil burner.

She  looked up to the clear night sky, enveloped in the smell and sounds of water hitting the hot dirt and the faint aromas of basil and lavender from the garden and the cherry blossom soap on her skin from a recent shower, enjoying the overwhelming feelings of love and contentment. 

Tonight the serenity was broken by the mournful bellow of the poddy calf, “Oh Templeton” Jen whispers.  He is calling to his three friends who went on the cattle truck, or beef bus, yesterday afternoon.  Jen tries not to cry, but tears spike her eyes. She knows it is the circle of life, but she thought cows were dumb, who knew they loved the other cows and missed them when they were gone.  Templeton had been pacing their small block since yesterday morning, occasionally calling out for Harry, Tim and Craig.  Today he caught sight of a cow in a neighbours paddock and went straight over to see if it was his mates, but to no avail, he came back, head lowered, disappointed and sad.

The mournful bellow reminded Jen of a time when her soul was lost and lonely and called out into the seemingly empty night sky.  It makes her think of all the other relationships that we give no thought to, have no respect for and the understanding we lack of the importance of love.  Jen thinks to herself how much importance is placed on money each and every day, yet it is some kind of peculiar cow love that is making poor Tempo bellow loudly into the night. Love, it always always comes back to love. 
The cow is persistent, the cry is desperate and loud and each time he pauses in hopeful anticipation that his friends will call back and they will be reunited.  She slumps her shoulders knowing that they will never be reunited and wondering how long Templeton will exist in this sad, but slightly hopeful, state.

Her husband, Chris, steps into the garden and startles her at first, but then she says “Oh my goodness Chris listen to Tempo, he is till calling out to the other cows, and he is just a simple  cow, his sole purpose to provide us with food but he is sad, he is broken hearted.”

Chris was sad too that the poddy was so distraught but he said nothing.

Jen continued, getting quite upset “His cries make me think of all the people who are deprived of love their whole lives.  Walking through life, bellowing just like Templeton, calling into the darkness hoping against all odds that somebody they love, and who loves them back, will call back, offer security, friendship, comfort and joy.  Every time he calls out my heart breaks for the lonely, the scared, the heart broken, the deprived, the hungry and the vulnerable.  I can’t even help this poor cow, I cannot bring his friends home, how can I help anybody else who is suffering?” 

Chris is quietly mumbling something in agreement but has wandered off to move the sprinkler, he is reluctant to get caught up in Jen’s ‘we should change the world’ scenarios. He can not understand why  she has to read so much into a basic reality of life.  He would never say that out loud again, he did that once and still regrets the sermon he received how justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.

Before the misery gets too overwhelming Tempo thankfully stops bellowing  and they are both distracted by the other shapes, noises and smells and  enjoy the quiet evening in the garden.  Chris and Jen soon head inside, ready for bed, it is still too hot to sleep but the whirring sound of the ceiling fan is relaxing and comforting and sleep will not be too far away.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

We are all so fragile

I love the song Breakable by Ingrid Michaelson, the chorus goes "And we are so fragile, And our cracking bones make noise, And we are just, Breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys".  It is a great reminder that we are all so fragile, sure some people might hide it better than others, but each one of us is a breakable boy or girl.

I don't love this because it makes me feel vulnerable, trust me I don't need a song to do that, I love that it reminds me to be more gentle with everybody, the people I love and the people I don't.  I can quickly and effectively convince myself why I shouldn't extend the hand of friendship or just offer a gesture of kindness to some people, the fear of rejection or embarrassing myself is often the prime deterrent, protecting my pride, but this really isn't a good enough excuse.  Laziness is another excuse, some people are hard work and exhausting so withdrawing from them is an easy option.  Other people make me feel more vulnerable and fragile than I am comfortable with so avoiding them in the name of self-preservation makes sense.

To remind myself that each one of us is fragile, we are just breakable, breakable, breakable girls and boys might help me overcome these barriers.  Tonight with all these thoughts whirling around in my head, I was helping to put pyjamas on our 6 year old daughter when she said "Mum we are given life so we can love people" and then kissed me.  Instantly tears welled in my eyes, and I hugged her and said "Yes, that is right".

We have been created to love people.  It can feel like loving people makes us fragile.  It is hard to love, to see past people's faults, to remain loyal in the times of trials, to stop judging for 5 minutes and just love.  Loving without any expectations of how people should love you back. 

I am blessed to know a couple of people who love unconditionally and you can not help but love and admire these people.  Sure they would not be described as 'high-achievers' by earthly standards, and people don't always treat them right, but I admire them and aspire to love like they do.  There are also people in my life who I love more than they love me, and it hurts.  They aren't bad people but I can't help but get angry and resentful, it isn't even their fault, they didn't make me love them I just do.  There are others still who probably love me more than I love them back, it saddens me if I hurt or disappoint them.

There is no doubt that lately I have been a little frugal with my love and I am feeling disengaged and a little more vulnerable than usual.  I need to lift the lid on my love, stop holding back in the name of self-preservation, it is stupid and unproductive, it is arrogant and resentful and it makes me feel unpleasant.  Today at work a super sweet work colleague gave me a little book entitled "His Princess: Love Letters From Your King" and I am sure this is a little source of encouragement God has placed on my path to help me re-connect to Him and to love.

People can think it childish and whimsical to talk too much about love, it is a thing for Mums and small children, little girls and fairytales but the reality is it is everything.  In 1 Corinthians 13:7 love is described this way "She bears up under everything; believes the best in all; there is no limit to her hope, and never will she fall", isn't that so beautiful.

I have such a clear image of when I have passed away, my lifeless body is in a coffin, in a fairly empty, light filled room and all I can think, feel, see, comprehend is a voice saying "The only thing that matters is who you loved and how you loved them".  You cannot love properly if you just love the people you want to, or the people you like, or the people who are of some benefit to you.  You can only learn to love, truly love, when you practise on everybody, including yourself!

What do you think?  Are you good at loving and being loved or do you think you have some work to do?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

A burst of lime

I recently saw an advert for Colorme Temporary Hair Colour, it states "Introducing a fabulous way to temporarily colour your hair ... Change your colour and your look at a moment's notice without commitment ...Create a burst of lime in your hair without fearing the worst".  I related to this instantly, but not about my hair, just my life and my moods.  I'm sure my husband would agree that I can change my colour and look at a moment's notice!  The burst of lime reflects the little bit of crazy running through my veins.

Yesterday was one of those burst of lime, or Eeyore, days.  You know how it goes "Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he. 

My beautiful best friend asked me what was the matter and I replied "I don't know, everybody is giving me the s*^ts" and she said "What even me" and I replied "Yeah, a little bit".  It was the burst of lime, sorry.

I tend to get angry and disappointed in myself when I feel this way.  I know I have so much to be grateful for but on these days I have an urge to change everything in my life, I want to move towns and get a new career (everything gets considered from being a Priest or a teacher to a naturopath, I think I might have even considered becoming a Police Officer). Everything looks more exciting and interesting and wonderful compared to where I am standing. 

On these burst of lime days my first impulse is to see the dead and frosted trees and grass, all the bills, the dust on the cabinets, the long days, weeks, months and years of cooking tea for my family and having to do the grocery shopping and all the washing and the minus something mornings and the lack of rain.

Thankfully though, despite my tendency to be a little inconstant, my God is not, Hebrews 13:8 says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever".  It is His Word that is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 199:105) and I am ever so grateful for that.  It is the shining light of God's love that helps me to see the flowering lavender in my garden, the ripening lemons on the tree, to appreciate looking out my window to see my daughter up the tree. 

It is He alone who renews my desire to write, to stay firmly planted where I am.  I hear His promise
"Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him" (James 1:12). 

Burst of lime moments can be equally exhilarating and exciting as they can be gloomy and glum.  I can have lime mountaintop experiences and lime valley moments, and this can all be within one hour :-) Without the consistent love of God and His constant presence in my life this emotional rollercoaster we call life may be overwhelmingly exhausting.

 I  take great comfort from the saying
"Ups and downs show signs of life.  The day it becomes smooth and straight ... life ends".