June 2, 2010


The last couple of days have been filled with news both amazing and devastating; the work that I am most passionate about has taken a gigantic step forward, my dear  friend has been diagnosed with cancer, my precious dad showed up to love me in a way he hasn’t since my folks divorced 40 years ago, my daughter is nudging up against a job that will surely change her life, I’ve lost a little bit more of my mother, I got to hold a baby, my heart broke for the homeless family I saw in a parking lot, apparently living in their car.  

I was overwhelmed with feelings…good, bad, sad, ecstatic. I couldn’t make sense of what I was feeling and how I was supposed to be responding to all that had landed on my plate. I often take my confused self outside to mow the lawn. This is a never ending job and therefore always available as  “physical/mental” therapy. Once I finish cutting 5 acres of grass on a riding lawn mower the size of a kids big wheel, the damn stuff is ready to be mowed again. It was raining and the lawn was soaked. I didn’t care I needed the time to mindlessly make pretty patterns in the grass. I hadn’t  made one complete spin around the property  yet when I ended up in 6 inches of mud, tires spinning, creating major trenches by the second and me covered head to toe in dripping, slimy mud. I felt like a hot fudge Sunday without the ice cream. As I was trying to lift the mower out of the fox hole that I had created…I swear I heard an audible voice…loud enough to have me turn and look for who was speaking to me…Crazy? Never said I wasn’t!

“this is life…this is the fun part…the pain, the joy, the sadness, the ecstasy, all of it…this is life and each moment of it, an opportunity to grow.”

I hadn’t been thinking about a thing except how to get that f—— mower unstuck before my husband showed up with another bit of advice on my consistent yet destructive use of tools. I was captured by the voice, the thought, the suggestion that in the darkest of moment’s life is worth living because that is all we have. We have the darkness in hopes of finding our way out to the light. We have the light so we can navigate our way in the dark. It is a complete package, the whole enchilada, ying and yang, balanced to perfection…harder than hell sometimes? Yes! But lighter than air sometimes? Yes.

I did finally get the mower unstuck, the trenches filled with rain and I imagined a perfect place for a fish pond. Just wait till I tell my husband the good news.


This morning, life happened. 

It started with a phone call about my brother who was taken to the hospital, and had just been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. Hanging up the phone, with a lump in my throat as I imagined the planet without him, the phone rang again.  This time it was a call from my youngest daughter, a recent college graduate, just to hear my voice.  I hung up the phone with a lump in my throat, as I gave thanks for her presence on the earth.  And so it continued.  A loved one on the brink of financial disaster, another with money in the bank and a brighter future. My best friend has lost yet another bit of her aging mom, and, her elderly dad showered her with love that he couldn’t seem to muster in her younger years.  It all brought a lump in my throat, every bit of it.

It was too much to make sense of on my own, so without thinking, I picked up the phone, as I always do, and called Kristine.  As usually happens, life had happened to her too.  Her heart had been filled to overflowing and broken, several times already and the day had barely begun. One step forward, three steps back, until she found herself up to her knees in mud, trying to dig herself and her lawn mower out of a foxhole, when “the voice” said… This is the good stuff.  This is where you grow.  I know that voice, and it always shows up when we expect it least and need it most. 

As we continued to talk on the phone, she said “Right now I am watching a beautiful, big fat woodpecker in my tree and trying to see God’s hand in all of this.” 

Well, I said, anytime we can see God in a pecker… it has to be good.

3 Responses to “STUCK IN THE MUD”

  1. Jean Gale Says:

    You two continue to amaze me, bring me to tears and make me smile. Blessings to you both in this journey of life. Which brother do I pray for? Love to you & yours.

  2. Molly Says:

    Bless you and thank you. We laughed and cried as we posted this… all together in the same soup!

  3. Carol Bernal Says:

    I hold your brother in my heart-

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