Usually life treats me pretty well, but there are some times when the death part of the Paschal Mystery cycle seems to linger longer than I might like. Kate's brother-in-law, the husband of her sister who just died, passed away last Wednesday. She's gone to San Antonio for the funeral and to be with family until early next week. So much loss, especially for the couple's children. Her sister was very sick around my birthday and her brother-in-law died the day before Kate's birthday, so we've decided that one of these days we're going to have one, big, belated, birthday celebration. We'll have to wait until there's some spectacular event to attend, couple it with dinner or dessert, treat ourselves. If we've made it together through these first few months I think we'll make it through anything.
I think one of the best cures for me at times like these is to find something to do for someone else, get out of myself. I feel some leaf raking for neighbors coming on tomorrow (assuming they have rakes, because we sure don't). That is, of course, after mass 1 and 2, Renew prayer group, and Halloween party planning. What to be for Halloween? I was thinking about going with the Saint theme. I was looking up party ideas and one website suggested dressing as the various martyrs, and while I think it is a great idea, I would feel slightly disrespecful as a roasted Joan of Arc or a headless John the Baptist. I may have to go with Jonah in the whale again. It's an easy costume and they haven't yet seen it here in Ripley.
My prayer table is looking kind of fall. I've got an earth stone, my sunflower picture, my reminder to "breathe," and now some leaves sent by a sister who was on retreat in Kansas. Sunflowers have slowly become my new favorite flower. Part of it, I think, is because of the picture I used for my vow invitations: a young woman reaching with her whole self and breathing into a sunflower with the Julian of Norwich quote, "The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything." Sunflowers are Kate's favorite flower, too, and I think I feel a painting developing. Or maybe I could work it into a quilt. We'll see what happens.
My last painting, at the time it was done, was a reminder to me of life's connecting threads. As the last couple of weeks have unfolded, however, it has nuanced in prayer to remind me more of the ways we are held together. For each person, I think what keeps us going is slightly different. Sometimes I have to step back, reevaluate, recommit. I'm hoping my day today has done that a bit for me--reenergize, refocus--for the weeks, months, years ahead.
For now, I think I'm going to go eat some of Kate's birthday apple pie and watch a movie. (Yes, I put some in the freezer so she can have some when she gets back! Did you really think I'd eat it all without her?!)