Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Melting Memories

The scenery and sunsets here are wonderfully refreshing. The house is filled with big windows. It's pretty clear by the creative wiring that electricity was an afterthought when this house was built. Each morning I make my way around opening up all the mini-blinds, and we spend the day in natural sunlight. I'm sure it's awful for the heating bill, but it's water for the thirsty soul. My in-laws' house had only a couple windows, and the view out their windows was only the back of the next house in a barren subdivision, nothing like the grand old pine trees and snow covered hills here.
When I take a moment to peek out from under my to-do list and survey the newly-settled house, when I see the glowing pink sky smile from behind the snow-covered pines it feels a bit like drips of water on a hardened soul. Little seeds of life stir deep down, and sometimes I can't wait for them to grow, but sometimes I want them to stay dormant for fear that they will bear their tender shoots only to be scorched again. Emotions stir as well, peeking through the cracked surface.
Seeing the artist's outline of bare tree branches against the icy sky I pause quietly at the window and smile and breathe deeply. Then a sudden memory stabs my heart. I stare listlessly and remember. Baby Emma strapped on my front, toddler Hannah cheerfully riding in the stroller, Naomi skipping by my side chattering on unaware of her stutter. Gazing over the Iowa fields, the fresh April air sweeps into my lungs and I breathe deeply of the happiness. The stagnant Chicago air, the noisy city, the crowded condo, all distant memories. The sun is peeking through the clouds, lighting up droplets of rain on every branch we pass. The stroller wheels chatter lightly over the gravel path. We are on our way to visit the new calf and let him lick our fingers and giggle together before we head to lunch with friends in the Cono student center. We are settled, we are happy, we are alive again. And I feel that God has given this reprieve to us because he knew just what would feed our weary souls.
Two days later we learned that internal conflict at the school had put our jobs in jeopardy, and though we were ultimately granted another year there, I never felt that carefree joy again. Not through my pregnancy with Toby, not through the pain of packing up or moving in with my in-laws, not through the fiery end of the PhD program, not through the waiting of the last year and a half. There has been happiness, there has been laughter, but it has been cautious. I didn't realize how dry my soul had become until I felt the first drips of hope. It is a painful awakening.
Sometimes I stand quietly and watch the icicles drip onto the little ice patches off my porch. Free for a moment, then frozen again-not truly free until springtime. And I wonder if this period in our lives is a momentary drip between freezings or truly the advent of springtime. Sometimes I soak in the hope and sometimes I tuck my head safely back under my to-do list. Sometimes I write to sort it all out, that seems to help me the most.

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