The rhododendron is blooming outside my door—the toile of the season—and these past two days the temperatures have reached to 90̊ and spring is wilting.
My spirit is too.
But this morning, the rain comes and quenches.
Lately, I’ve given up on saying no. Because all these things seem so small—the transporting of the dogs from the shelter, the committee for the Presbytery, the spinal cord team at work, the teaching of the lesson…And my flowers need weeding and so do the boys’ closets and I have to read that book to write that review and I’m supposed to be writing my own book, for Pete’s sake, and I come home from work on Tuesdays and lay on the floor in the sun in front of the French doors and I can’t move for an hour because of the tired.
Saying yes is killing me.
I still meet with God and I hold it up before Him and I ask, “How do I choose?” and He stays quiet. I know He wants me to decide. I think about my friend Ann—how her wise husband tells her that when she says yes to something, she’s saying no to something else but I can’t seem to master this.
Yesterday, when he hurts my feelings,I slip out of the house with Lucy Mae and wander down to the creek. I let the rippling water catch my tears and I ask God when I will grow up. When will I stop getting hurt over little things and rest secure in this love that holds me? And when will I be able to say no like a grown-up and why do I keep failing at the smallest of tasks He sets before me?
I lay in the grass by the creek under the black willow for the longest time. Just looking up at the sky between those wispy branches waving their bending frames in the breeze. Lucy is happy with her patch of shade and I see a four-leaf clover poking up right on the edge of the creek bank. I keep telling God I will go back to the house once I get this silly crying out of my system. But I can’t seem to.
It feels good.
I know these tears are being collected, I know I’m not alone. I let the blue of the sky and the listing wave of leaves and the rippling of water embrace me. I said this to a patient the other day, sometimes you just need to be sad for a while. And he nodded through his tears like that was the truest thing anyone could ever say.
Yesterday, the last patient on my list—it was supposed to be a quick check, he’s doing ok. But he told me a story about slowing down. So I did. I sat down beside his bed and we talked for an hour about farming and how a wide expanse of land can claim a soul.
I like to take a salt-shaker out to the garden, he said. And pick a tomato straight from the vine. I wipe it on my shirt, put a little salt on it, and eat it like an apple. Nothing in the world tastes better. Nothing.
I had to agree.
I think about that broken little man as I study the sky above my little creek. I think about all that he said no to and all the yeses he now cradles in his hand with a salt-shaker.
And I notice the tears have stopped. When I get up to head back home, I still don’t have the answer. Deep in me, I know I’ll keep saying yes to the wrong things. I don’t love myself well enough to put the things I want before the things others ask. This truth is as clear to me as the creek water running over the rocks.
And I guess that’s why I came down here, so this realization would come to light. And maybe this is a beginning. A small one. A beginning of saying no to some things.
I leave that four leaf clover right there growing. And head on home.
I’m a morning person and happiest in a place with no walls. Give me a bed of grass and a blanket-sky and I will dream deep in wonder. But a good story takes me to this place too. And a poem? Even better. You can always find me here. Or connect with me on on facebook, twitter, or pinterest.