Saturday, February 11, 2012

This ain't for no chickens

So, here we are.  Almost ready to lose the house.  Jed lying here with pneumonia, Ubaldo(the care giver) having to deal with kidney disease, on top of all the other stuff he has had to deal with, and me, just finding comfort in brandy and potato chips. 

Tonight I signed the papers to put the house up for a short sale.  This, I suppose will take some time, but it's no fun to be making these kinds of decisions alone.  

Bottom line is that this kind of living simply ain't for chickens. Eagles or lions, maybe.  But chickens, no. 

We raised chickens on the farm.  I gathered the eggs and I hated the aggressive chicken that didn't want to give up her egg.  Sometimes I just wouldn't get  her egg, because I was just too afraid.  She just kept pecking at me. 

But my most vivid memory of the chickens on the farm was when my mom decided it was chicken killing time.  I don't know when that was, spring? fall?  don't remember, but what I do remember was the techique.

Mom would walk to the chicken coop with an ax in her hand and feed in her pocket.  She had a wire clothes hanger folded out with a hook on the end along her side. 

"Here chicky, chicky,"  she would say. And the chickens would come for the food she scattered from her apron store.  Then, quick as a chicken's feather, she would use the coat hanger to grab the leg of an unsuppecting hen, ax would appear and head would be off. 

I remember the awe of  watching a headless chicken strut and flutter, and the pride of watching my little bitty mother wheel an ax. 

So, here I am.  Wheeling my own ax.  Trying to behead the fowl we face.  Proud that I have my mother's grit.  I have my apron full of feed.  My ax in hand, and my bent out clothes hanger ready to grab an unsuspecting fowl.  I'm prepared.  I just haven't identified my prey. 

Is it the pneumonia?  The quadriplegia?  The mortgage company?  Our bad decisions?  I'm ready to kill something.  I just don't know what to kill.  Mom had some clarity.  "Kill the chickens so that my family has food."

I, too, am trying to save my family.  I just don't know what to kill. Or, maybe, it just isn't the time to kill.  Maybe it's the time to accept.  

Chickens really get a bad rap.  Like they represent the fearful.  "Don't be a chicken,"  etc.  But, my memory of our chickens was that they just lived life quite comfortably, until that day when my mother chopped their heads off. 

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, except that, my life, right now, is not for the weak.  I am thankful for the heritage that I have because it gives me power.  My mom was a little bitty thing, but she had power over the land and the things around her simply by her will. 

She could kill when she needed to kill, plant when she needed to plant, and rise to the power of God when she needed to rise.  I draw upon that power that has been given me though eons of ancestors. 

This ain't for no chickens, because, you just might lose your head.  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Clear Thinking

Haven't written this year.  So far it's been a challenge and not much fun.  I could make a really long list of all the stuff that just keeps hitting the fan, but it wouldn't stop it from coming.  Jed has had the shingles since November and pneumonia for the last many weeks.  He's lost his strength.  But he hasn't lost his wisdom.  Tonight he spoke with clarity about situations beyond our control.  I said something like, "boy, when it gets bad it really gets bad doesn't it?"  He very calmly said, "I don't think that's the way you want to think about things."  And he went on to say, "when things get really hard, it's an opportunity.  The only real gift we have is our clear thinking." 

So he's laying there is bed, his whole body hurts from just laying around for almost eight weeks, he's lost almost everything he had gained in strength and ability since the fall, and he has the precision of thought to remind me to think clearly.  And to recognize it as a gift.

So, how to think clearly....Lately when I open my eyes each morning I say a simple prayer.  "Lord, keep me focused today."  Wallowing is so self serving and unattractive.  I shall not wallow.  I shall not.  I shall not.

Clear thinking.  I like that a lot.  Not only clear, but sequential.  Day by day.  Deal with what we have to deal with today with the most clear thinking as possible, and let tomorrow come after  a good rest.

Jed is an inspiration.  It will be three years in April.  He had made amazing progress and then, the last 8 weeks have stripped it away.  Tonight he said, "I don't even remember not being sick."  But all the while he is able to inspire others to bring themselves to a place of clarity.  I thank God everyday for him while at the same time pray for his total recovery.