Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mixed Blessings

I’m gearing up for a week of mixed blessings. Sunday is Easter, of course, and it’s the most important holy day in my faith. I love Easter services—the lilies, the music, the meaning. I especially love the Easter Sunrise service. My rural church has its own service, overlooking the church’s century-old cemetery. After the service, the men cook breakfast--great food and fellowship. But I have to get up at 5:30, and I am a morning grump who wakes up one eyelash at a time. That’s the mix in the blessings of the day.

Next week is spring break for all the grands’ schools. They are overjoyed! Since the various mommies and daddies involved don’t have breaks from their jobs, the grands will be spending part of their break with us. The invas—uh—the visits begin Friday when the two out-of-towners, ages 9 and 18 months, arrive for a four-day stay. This will be the longest visit the little one has paid without the parents, and we’ve been baby-proofing the house. I’m sure we’ll forget something. Monday through Friday, we will have the terrific twosome (brothers 6 and 8) from 7:30 to 5:30. Three more will join them Friday, and next Saturday the whole family will be here. I adore them all: our princess bookends—the oldest, who is 10 going on 19, and the youngest, our 18-month-old who seems to learn something new every minute—and the five mostly rough-and-tumble, video-game-obsessed boys who fall between them. I marvel at their beauty, wisdom, and energy. I delight in their laughter and their hugs. I am thrilled by their stories of awkward princesses who can’t dance, taller-than-trees dinosaurs who befriend robins and mocking birds, and the invisible bear who inhabits the woods behind our house. Walking with one of them along a familiar path always allows me to see some part of my world in a new way. But there must be some law that the volume of noise multiplies by ten for each child added. The quiet moments I cherish to create and contemplate will be nonexistent for a while. Their loss will be the mix in the blessings of the week.

I’m currently on deadline, writing 25 essays on women of the 21st century, individually or in groups. I made the mistake of writing the easy ones first, the ones I know something about, the ones who have names I can pronounce. The articles I still have to write are about women politicians in small countries, aboriginal artists, and female clergy. I love the research--the mining of sources, the unexpected discoveries, the startling facts. I really would have been happy to have remained a student throughout my life (so long as I was excused from math). But the writing itself will be hard. I will struggle to find words to do justice to achievements in fields where my knowledge is shallow and contexts mere shadows. I will feel inept and inadequate. These feelings are the mix in the blessings of my work.

But on balance, I count myself fortunate indeed. Perhaps the blessings would seem less wondrous and dear if I lacked the contrast of the small losses and sacrifices and concerns. I’m grateful to be gearing up for my week of blessings, mixes and all.

What are you looking forward to—or dreading a bit—this first week in April. Are your blessings mixed?


quantum said...

We also have the tradition of an Easter sunrise service Janga. It takes place on a small hill where a cross is erected. Our church has medieval origins, dating back to a monastery, so the grave yard is a little older than yours I think!

As I struggle to understand the universe around us, using mainly mathematics as the probe, I too marvel at the energy displayed by the youngsters in the holidays. It's sometimes hard to remember that once, not so long ago, I also had energy to burn like that!

If only it could be regenerated, I would now know how and where to focus.

If only! *smile*

PJ said...

Another lovely, heartfelt blog, Janga. I've been running at full speed lately and needed to be brought back to a slower pace where I take time to contemplate my blessings.

Had my husband not died, today would have been our 34th wedding anniversary. While I grieve his loss, I also celebrate his life and our life together. Sweet memories have edged out the pain and I'm thankful for the blessing of his love for the 26 years we were together.

Quantum, I know what you mean about the energy displayed by youngsters. I'll be spending Easter with my nephew's family and marveling at the inexhaustible energy of my 4-year old grand-niece. How wonderful it would be to have just a portion of all that wonderful energy!

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

All those precious little ones. You are blessed! I saw both Sadie and Ryder last weekend. Tomorrow it will just be Sadie, but she is enough for any intrepid soul. :) Have a wonderful time with your family.

Maggie Robinson/Margaret Rowe said...

PJ, I read your response after I wrote mine. many heartfelt virtual hugs.

irisheyes said...

Awesome blog, Janga!

My mood has improved 100% since the warm weather decided to pay us a visit. We enjoyed 80+ degree weather the past few days and I'm loving it!

Easter is going to be a bit hectic but I'm learning to go with the flow. Not stressing as much about my clean(or not so clean) house and concentrating more on having my loved ones about me.

PJ, my heart goes out to you and I'll add my hugs to Maggie's. Last year on Good Friday I was in the ER with my husband because he was experiencing chest pains. He had a stent put in because his main left artery was 99% blocked! More than once over the past year I've relived the moment the Dr. came out of the OR and told me that my husband is a very lucky man. I'm feeling nothing but grateful and joyous this Easter season!!!!

Janga said...

Q, I cede the oldest history to your church and Easter service. But remember, we are a relatively young country. A century is a lot older here than it is in Great Britain. :)

And there is something special about our little country church, and the cemetery filled with names that mamy who still worship in the church share.

If you discover how to regenerate the energy of the young, pleae let me know. I'll take a double charge. LOL!

Janga said...

Oh, PJ, hugs to you! How blessed you are to have memories so dear that his absence is still a loss. You made me remember some lines from W. S. Merwin:

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

Janga said...

Maggie, they are precious beyond words, aren't they? I loved the new picture of Sadie and Ryder. I can tell Sadie is set to become a woman in charge. :)

Janga said...

Irish, I hope you and yours had a lovely Easter. And I know you must have counted 365 days of blessings on Good Friday. I'm so glad your DH celebrated Easter with you in 2010. Everything you say about him marks him as a keeper.