A Shepherd’s Life is Not an Easy One

A Shepherd’s Life is Not an Easy One

He ran up from behind and threw a hug around her legs as she cooked a pot of water for tea. I think that’s how it happened.

“Grandma says you’ll have to change my bandage.”

Kirin arrives for his visit with gauze, ointment and medical tape to hold the dressing in place, detailed instructions. They send him with a scissor. I do not have one, but I resent this gesture. Because I should have lots of things and don’t.

“Does it hurt?”

“A lot.”

“You want cereal?”

“Okay.”

It is Saturday. He watches cartoons while I try to concentrate on getting it together so we can go do something.

I really don’t remember what was so important that we couldn’t just leave. Everything was crucial back then. Making lists and arranging piles of stuff, folding and tearing up pieces of paper. Moving the bed from one side of the room to the other. Counting pills and losing count, having to start all over from somewhere in the middle.

We ride the bus to Toys-R-Us. We buy an action figure and two big bottles of wine at the liquor store. He is hungry. We pass three fast food places until we get to the pizzeria that sells beer. There’s a black and white movie playing on a small TV on top of the fridge where they keep the sodas. Kirin only pays attention to the commercials because they are in color. When he’s done eating, we go back home.

It takes me all day to even look at the wound, a deep and throbbing third degree burn that spreads across the width of the child’s upper arm. My guilt catches in my throat as I pull the bloody cotton from his skin. I am confused by what I see. The whole area looks like uncooked meat.

Kirin holds his breath. His eyes are squeezed shut, and when he opens them, he asks, “You know what you’re doing, right?”

I cannot help but feel relieved that I was not to blame for what happened.

But aren’t I? After all, a little boy should be with his mother.

* Artwork by Scott Conary
www.scottconary.com

The Details Of Which Are As Follows…

The Details Of Which Are As Follows…

I was the one who wanted the second dog, a sibling for the first. At least, that’s the angle with which I approached my husband – the importance of family.

“She looks so lonely,” I said to Dave.

“But she’s not,” he replied.

And as much as they love her, the kids weren’t all that anxious to add even more doody to the piles of doody they’re already picking up. Sure, it’s a funny word, but let’s be honest. Doody is sobering.

“Mom, things are fine just the way they are.” Desmond was particularly insistent. “What’s gonna happen when we leave for college? Two dogs will be more than you can handle.”

“Son, college is like five years away.”

“The time goes fast, though. I’ll be gone before you know it.”

I read somewhere that animals cannot embrace new information until the specifics are physically introduced into their lives. They’re not equipped to appreciate changes to their environment before said environment is actually changed.

For example, I told Zerega that Jesco was coming.

“Soon, you will have a baby brother. And he will be your favorite friend.”

As I spoke, she listened intently for key words, like “cookie” and “supper.”

Beyond that, she was completely disinterested.

Invisible Feeling

Invisible Feeling

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Right now is the minute for me.

I am reasonably comfortable.
This feels like a pretty nice minute.

Another will be along shortly.

Here it is now… And there it goes.
How lucky! Two good ones in a row.

Little packages of unrepeatable time.

I try to receive them well,
And simply let go when they are done.

Ha! Like there’s ever a choice.

* Artwork: Invisible Feeling by Shiori Matsumoto
www.shiorimatsumoto.com

School Days

School Days

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When I was a young girl, I got decent grades… until I started drinking and getting high. After that, school was stupid. I couldn’t wait to be free, so I could do whatever I wanted.

Today, I am grateful for meetings, reading and service work. These simple activities help me feel like I’m dong my homework.

I enjoy being a good student! I guess I always did.

Drive

Drive

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When I focus on something, I’m leading my mind in a specific direction, where life will be impacted by the decisions I make. Wow. What a trip.

But sometimes, I don’t realize I’m going the wrong way. And even if I do, my pride prevents me from stopping the vehicle. People, trees and buildings keep whizzing past, and I just continue on. I can get hopelessly lost before I know it.

Having God along for the ride is smart planning. Because even though I’m responsible for my future, not everything’s gonna proceed as outlined on the map. There will still be disappointments and bumps in the road. Weather conditions and potential car trouble.

God is the ideal companion. He is level-headed and knows exactly where I’m going. He takes up virtually no space. When I include Him in my thoughts and actions, the smallest things become more meaningful.

“Take a look at that sky,” he might suggest. “Isn’t it something?”

“Did you notice how pleasant that clerk in the gas station was?”

“Why don’t you let those kids cross the street first? We’re not in that big a hurry.”

My journey can be a beautiful experience. And there’s never a reason for me to travel alone.

* Artwork: Custom Steering Wheel by John Clemmer
www.johnclemmerphotography.com