Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ordination and Trees

Early on Tuesday morning, I posted what I had intended to be a very tiny celebration of having been ordained a year earlier.  I had received a lovely note the night before from Professor Who Preached at the service, and I felt like acknowledging, in a small way, the events of the year before.

Then I began to watch the news in earnest, and it seemed to me that a celebration of anything at all was inappropriate at best.

Now that we've been without power for four days, I kind of wish I'd gone ahead and  rejoiced.  I tried to contact some folks to see if there might be something our church could do to help anyone, but other than money, no one seems to want anything yet.

And then I began appreciate the challenge of life without light and heat.  We went to a hotel Wednesday night; the people who'd come to guard our street told us that it was too dangerous for us to walk through our yard, given the hot wires on the rain-soaked ground.

We came back yesterday. The wires had been cleared,  we can't stay in a hotel for days on end, and we wanted to be in our home.  The fact that no one had stopped us the night before when, in the dark and pouring rain, using flashlights to see, we had climbed our neighbor's fence to get into our backyard and then thown belongings over our back fence into the church lot where we had parked our cars, and then driven off into the night -- kind of gives us pause.  Half of our street is in the dark and the police are otherwise occupied.

Apparently most of our power crews are on New Jersey, and while I certainly don't begrudge those folks any help they can get, it's a little disconcerting to have seen power trucks in our city this morning for the very first time since Monday.

We have a house, and we have hot water, so I am clean, if disheveled.  We will have power again eventually, and I can go down to my church house tomorrow, where all is warm.   

Two trees are gone, leaving zero on on the tree lawn where there were five thirty years ago.  As someone pointed out on FB, those trees were filled with memories.  I watched them go down and thought of children selling lemonade under their branches, and pets promenading on the sidewalk below.

The hardest thing of all?

This morning I thought, If Josh were here, we could have gone to Chicago for a few days.  And then, coming into the coffee shop where I sit at the moment, I ran into an acquaintance whose son, Josh and Matt's age, lives and studies in Chicago.  "That's where we're headed as soon as I get home!" she said.  Her hair, like mine, clean and wet; her son, alive and happy.

I told her she'd better enjoy that she can do what I can't.

And what the mother on Staten Island, little sons swept away from her, will never be able to do.

 Next Door


  1. Robin, I've been wondering how you were doing and have kept you in my prayers. I am glad that you are alright but sad that you are experiencing more death in the trees which held such memories.

    I read this prayer on a blog this morning and immediately thought of you. I pray that there might be some consolation in it for you:

    Lord, almost every day of the year, we feel the void of our loved ones who have moved into your eternal love. Over the years the loss may soften, but the heart still longs for its missing piece. All Souls Day is a respite from separation. As a member of the communion of saints our beloved family and friends whisper through our memories, through our actions that model their goodness, and through our prayers that unite us with their spirit. We place our hope in the truth that their spirit is forever protecting, guiding, and embracing us. Lord, thank you for our dearest loved ones who now celebrate the ultimate victory – life over death. Continue to awaken our sensitivity to their abiding presence each day of our lives.

    —The Jesuit Prayer Team

  2. Another time when memories and loss slip in when least expected. Holding you close, Robin.

  3. Oh Robin. Holding you close as well. I thought of you a lot on Bowen Island. Sending much love.

  4. tears. that "what might have been" feeling always finds a way of creeping in, doesn't it. hugs, my friend. we miss those boys beyond description.