let’s do this…going forward

“Don’t follow the crowd, let the crowd follow you.”
Margaret Thatcher


(the Mayor on a mayorial visit, enjoying a BLT with homegrown tomatoes/ Julie Cook/ 2020)

Both the Mayor and the Sheriff started a new daycare this past week.

Due to the Pandemic and life shuttering back in early March,
they’ve basically been footloose and fancy-free for a near 5 months.

With their mom’s school preparing to reopen, while she’s having to gear up for what will
be both an open school coupled with optional virtual learning—in other words, teaching
to those seated in desks alongside those opting to stay home—a new daycare was in order
and the only option was to begin now.

As a retired educator, whose child served bided his time in daycare,
I can vividly remember those trying days–
a time that our pediatrician dubbed ‘the necessary evil’.

But since both their mom and dad must each work, and we live over an hour away,
daycare becomes a difficult, yet necessary, thing to utilize.

I can remember crying each and every morning, after having dropped off our son
at his daycare, as I drove on to work.

Guilt is always the working mom’s middle name.

The Mayor and Sheriff’s mom has also experienced this same sense heaviness,
each morning this past week.

So “mom” (aka moi, the grandmother) drove over Friday for a bit of a needed diversion.

The Sheriff was nonplused…


(the week’s new schedule has been exhausting)

And the Mayor insisted she immediately leave the Atlanta Woobooville office in order to return
ASAP to “Da” (aka my husband the grandfather) who was busy at the satellite Woobooville office.

There were no if’s, and’s or but’s…she grabbed her “pursh (aka purse),
put on her rain boots (no rain in sight), blew kisses to her parents, hugged the dog,
waved good-bye to “Je” (the Sheriff), took hold of my hand while announcing for one an all…
“SEE DA!”

And so we left to come to see Da—a weekend visit of sorts.

But with visits and kids aside,
I am painfully reminded that we are living in some mighty precarious days.

They are challenging for all of us.
Frightening.

We don’t know what’s the right thing to do.
Daycares are opening as workplaces begin to re-open…
as schools prepare to re-open…
as cases continue to increase.

And yet we trudge through it all…
we do so because that is what we do….it is who we are.
We roll up our sleeves and head forward.

Standing still or going backward are simply not options.

And so we live each day, one day at a time.

We enjoy the precious moments a bit more strongly,
while feeling the day’s heaviness a bit more keenly.

As we prepare for the coming weeks ahead of life…of school…of work…of sports…
of living…
We say, “let’s do this”—
but let’s do this with God’s grace.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

Okay, you can’t see the glue right??

“Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most
undesirable sentiment.
If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and
address yourself to the task of behaving better next time.
On no account brood over your wrongdoing.
Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.”

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World


(you can’t even tell, I don’t think / Julie Cook / 2019)

Well, guilt is a powerful tool.

At last, my moment of weakness arrived…so I must confess…
I have relented.

I didn’t lie to you.

My intention was certainly a BIG no to this year’s tree…
but…
there were those faces, those words, those insistent voices.

It was one of those things, as I started the day, that I had not even contemplated.
It never crossed my mind that I’d be doing “this” for the remainder of the day,
well past dark.

Yet I had gotten plenty of proddings from those both near and far…
And I suppose it was indeed a sense of something missing, as I’d peer over to an empty
spot that was the ghost space of Christmas trees past, that pushed me this morning.

I marched up to that dreaded closest and pulled out that dreaded tub of
broken angels and tiny little nutcrackers.
Old ornaments of all the Christmases past.

I pulled out my various glues and got comfortable at the kitchen table.

I sorted through survivors and the debris.

I next text my husband’s friend, unbeknownst to my husband, and asked if he could
come by sometime today in order to help my husband haul up ‘that tree’ from the
confines of the basement.

He giddily text back a triumphant “YES!”

Now I know I told you that I did manage to put up the outside lights.
That was an all-day affair on the coldest day of the year thus far.
All by myself.

The neighbors have always guilted me with that as well as they would go into
my husband’s business asking when were the lights going up.

What is it with people and the lights????

I had rationalized that if the outside of my world could appear as if Christmas
was alive and well,
no one would be the wiser to what was missing on the inside.

But yet, there were a few who were the wiser.
And yes…even I was wiser.

Be they here at home or now in their own home, I think it’s the comfort of knowing
“it’s” still there.
That home is still home.
And that all is right in the world of “home” is what truly matters.

“It” is always blessedly there whether we are, or they are, here or not…
It’s that sense that life is as it should be…carrying on as if everything is
forever a constant.

The constant of the happy warm memories of what was.
Forget the bad and painful.
Forget the negative or even the current.

It is to the warmth of fond memories that the heart of a child,
now locked deep inside an adult, runs to.

There is a sense of permanence, of rooting and of anchoring found in those types
of memories.
The true essence of how we came to be who we are…for good or for bad.
For it is of the kinder memories we cling to of how we came to be.
We seem to need them in order to be reminded of them.

And so today became the day that I gave up or rather gave in.

Today, the warmth of Christmas came home…
whether anyone is here to see it or not.

Christmas comes and they will always know.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
Galatians 4:4

focus

“Nor did demons crucify Him; it is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins. ”
― Francis of Assisi

DSCN4015
(statue in a yard in San Antonio, Texas / Julie Cook / 2014)

We threw caution to the wind
Living for the moment

Self centered, selfish, self
Focusing inward, never outward

As the hammer hit the nail

They did it
That was our familiar cry
It was all them, certainly not me
We claimed none of that

Again a hammer hits another nail

Blood poured out upon our hands
yet there was no acknowledgement
How could that be
Self becoming blood

Another nail is struck

Blood mixes with sin
Flowing down a tree
Spreading out over the dirt
I pick up the linen

Blood covers my hands
It doesn’t wipe off

Lightning streaks across the blackened sky
Was it the thunder which shook the ground
The bitter taste of bile swirls through a dry mouth
I didn’t do this, I swear

The women cry as the people turn away
Three times a rooster crows
There’s another one dead
As the body twists on the noose

The demons in hell are dancing
For once, this was not their doing

Hands still stained
Metal striking metal
There’s money on the ground
Was it just a dream?

Needing to hide,
We run to the shadows
Still claiming none of it
It’s all too much to ignore

Voices cry out
I hear my name
Clean hands reach for the blood soaked hands I hide

Eyes meet mine
Guilt is freely taken
Brokeness made straight
The demons dance no more

Shadows never lie
As Light now breaks the darkness
Battles rage no more
with Victory now at hand

We step out from the grave
The Price is paid in full
Death has lost again
Triumphantly Hope remains alive