Wednesday, June 17, 2009

one piece of wood at a time

It's the day before we three venture forth to my now-monthly trip to the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to consult with kindly Dr. Culligan. A mixture of familiar pre-trip nerves greets me, the lessened edginess possibly chalked up to stroppy denial as well as the chance for Growing Through Adversity. Giving myself credit for anything affirming remains a learned activity rather than something embedded in my DNA. Another breath and I can take a little bit of credit for growth and Grace.

Sometimes it is hard for me to lovingly embrace an awareness of God's Grace. Sometimes it is hard for me to interpret cause-and-effect without reducing my perceptions to Kindergarten simplicities. "If this Goodness comes from God, how do I slot in the awfulness? If something sucks, am I being abandoned by God?" In my darker episodes of self-judgment, I bewail my lack of commitment to Christ and then flog myself for those times I just glare at my icons while growling inwardly. And then my heart melts and I reexperience a loving connection. "I'm a fair weather Christian, Lord," I sometimes sigh. "How do I love You unconditionally? Please help me to do this." 

When questions such as these assault my psyche, I find comfort in present moment activities like the one in the photograph above. I step out of the box of anything with the leukemia label attached and simply pay attention to one whisky barrel slat at a time... from chaos to order, from an upended pile of wood for the fire to its neater placement one slat and one row at a time. From bottles of Highland single malt to an emptied whisky barrel to broken slats to a roaring fire, ordinary life moves and changes. And since I'm a long time Friend of Bill Wilson, the scents of the whisky waft into my nostrils as I lay the wood. I smirk. I rather liked a fine bit of single malt in the distant past. I am far more grateful today to have set it down with the immeasurable help of God as I understand God, 12 Steps and a beloved Fellowship. That leaves more for the balanced enjoyment of "normies" and gives me a shot at a life worth living. 

Tomorrow is a day trip out to Aberdeen with a mid-afternoon luncheon stop at Morgan McVeigh's. I'm smiling to imagine it. Yum yum yum! Oh, and we'll also sit down with that lovely Dr. Culligan and talk more. I'm experiencing pleasure imagining the fun rather than awfulizing myself into a debilitating round of what if?? Whatever the latest news and continuing array of options, I am not alone. This is pretty amazing. "Yes, really," I can say to my grateful heart.

I'm here now. I feel pretty darn good now, emerging from an often exhausting two-week illness and 10 days worth of unpleasant antibiotics. I am trying to receive today's gifts, like having headed to Inverness with Ruthie to see the astoundingly brilliant film The End of the Line and walk along the banks of the River Ness in the 20 minutes of sunshine amidst a day of dreich and rain. 

Today there is enough wood for the fire. 

Today there is enough.


  1. Let's see; LOVE the photo; how ironic is it that you are going through wood one piece at a time and smelling whiskey??? Some wicked God trick in that! (Whiskey always made me ill.) Glad that the flu has passed and we only have today! Love and sweet thoughts to you on your journey to Aberdeen.

  2. We are thinking of You today and holding You in our prayers as You go to Aberdeen.

    Sending Our Love,
    Susan & Klaus

  3. Is that you in the photo? I had a short love affiar with Tequilla many years ago. When I realized I very quickly got to the point where I could drink (shots of T.) a 6 foot guy under the table (or onto the front lawn in one case), I decided it could lead to ..... bad things. So I quit drinking. Now, years later, I do enjoy wine with my dinner. So many friends & family kept telling me I was too old to be drinking 1/2 gallon of milk each day. Of course it took close to more 10 years for me to give up my milk habit (take their advise), but it was because there's so many extras in the milk like antibiotics & hormones that I shouldn't be ingesting continuously. The evening wine eases the MybroMyalgia aches so I can relax, maybe even get some sleep. I was never one of those folks who could go out drinking all night - what a party pooper! But then again - it kept me out of trouble and I'm sure my liver appreciates my not guzzling strong liquor regularly as some folks do. I have a feeling you will recieve good news from your doctor(s).
    L & B