Monday, August 8, 2011

All the Angels

He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
                          Psalm 91:11 (The Message)

Walking downtown in the humid, sultry air last week, I kept my eyes cast down. It was already hot. It was only 10:15 a.m. My mind was on the heat.

I don't do well in heat. I was definitely not in the moment.

When I walk along in that mood, I am absent. I miss the little threads that make up the tapestry of the world: a cardinal alighting on the tree branch, a spray of petunias blooming despite the heat. Small moments whisper by me and I don't even catch them.

All the same, I snapped out of my trance long enough to notice the battered concrete planter sitting cockeyed on the downtown sidewalk. It was full only of foxtail grasses and a weed or two. Clearly no one had tended it this summer. I couldn't even tell if it belonged to anyone.

Just a weedy, discarded, beat up and battered planter. But it had cherubs cast onto its surface.

A whole planter full of angels!

A lot of us could use a planter full of angels, never mind the weeds. I could use a planter full of angels.

In recent weeks, there has been a whole lot of taking care of others going on in our household. I am helping an elderly family member through some major medical appointments. Amy's already precarious living conditions imploded and there have been several crises. (We hope she will be joining our household soon.) Warren is shepherding Season 33 onto the main stage while tending to a myriad of other demands and needs, including two rehearsals and a concert this weekend with another group in a town an hour from here. Sam leaves this Wednesday morning and we are trying to cram in just a little more time together before I put him on an airplane back to Oregon. I have missed him deeply this past school year and will miss him again this coming one. I miss my older son, Ben, and my daughter-in-law, Alise, deeply; this weekend was their wedding anniversary. 2500 miles away, I am too far out of the fabric of all of their daily lives and am feeling that distance keenly.

I am feeling stretched thin. I am feeling worn down. The heat has finally broken, so I can't blame it today as I type, but it certainly has played a role.

I don't know. Like I said, I could use a bucketful of angels.

Composer Lukas Foss wrote a percussion concerto titled "All the Angels Have Big Feet." This line was taken from lines by Ezra Pound:

All the angels have big feet.
Hump, diddywim tum .... Hump, bump, stunt.

I'd never heard of Lukas Foss. My eye had caught the concerto title in an article Warren was reading and the image has stuck with me.

All the angels have big feet.

I could use some angels with big feet right about now. I want some big footed angels stomping around, shaking the ground, shaking up things right now. I need some angels leaving big footprints as they tread firmly through my life right now.

All the angels have big feet.

Saturday a week ago Sam spent the afternoon with me baking. (Yeah, yeah, I know. It was hot. Even with the air on. And we had the kitchen heated up for baking?) He made two pies, one apple, one key lime meringue. I introduced Sam to yeast dough and he made a deep dish pizza that was just excellent. Tomorrow when he comes over we plan on making mozzarella cheese and pasta. In the evening, I hope the three of us go to a favorite ice cream stand, about 20 miles from here, and sit on the steps of the nearby church with our sodas and our sundaes. Maybe we'll talk. Maybe we'll just watch the village life all around us.

Any time I spend with Sam is a gift to me. We have seen him only in spurts as he visits with this friend and that friend. All these weeks, we have been ready with a meal and a bed as he has come and gone. I have mended his clothes, done some of his laundry, and given him rides. Tomorrow we will cook and share a meal and maybe an ice cream cone.

"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, 
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." 
Hebrews 13:2 (KJV)

Sam is no stranger, but his feet are good sized, in keeping with his 6'4" frame.

All the angels have big feet.


Sharon said...

It's hard when your kids live far away...that I'm am learning as each day passes that I don't see my daughter. Yes there is "skype" but I would rather go grocery shopping with her, talk to her, have her at the dinner table..well, I'm sure you know.

It's very admirable that you are taking care of others, April, but please don't forget to take care of yourself.

Enjoy your ice cream!!!

see you there! said...

I would have been tempted to try to cart that abandoned planter home.

Time with our children is precious. Mine are grown with families of their own. We talk on the phone a lot but being with them in person is time treasured.


Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

I totally get this and feel your pain keenly, April. My parents live 1,500 miles away, as do my sister and my sweet nephew. I miss them so much (but am grateful that they are visiting right now -- yay!).

I hope you found some angels this week...