The first day of December has dawned, quietly and subtly. The world simply got light . . and while it did a mockingbird sang. I have not heard a mockingbird or any bird sing, in a while. The chatter of blackbirds, while cheerful, does not “hold a candle” to the sweet melody of the mockingbird. I stopped everything and listened. With the air, being so mild today, it could have been a morning in April. I do not know why, but tears filled my eyes. I did not realise, until that moment, that I had missed the morning song of birds, so much. I love the winter and welcome it with my whole heart. I especially love December and Christmas time, but I did remember spring while the mockingbird sang, and felt “homesick” for a spring morning.
I couldn’t help but think of the poem, “I Heard a Bird Sing” by Oliver Herford. I loved it the first time, I read it, and had the children memorize it. Today, I lived this verse. My day was started with a little bit of wonder.
Housekeeping is on the agenda today. You can not “run the roads” and do much of anything else. I also plan to cook. There are several long overdue tasks besides the usual chores. The territory is an awful state and with rain in the forecast, today and tomorrow, it will remain so. I am quite sure the neighbors have given up all hope of my recovery – and with the community being full of such tidy folks . . . what a disappointment, I must be just now. Some day, I will redeem myself.
I put the windows up, though I am thinking that will be a short-lived affair. Still, I have always done so if the opportunity arises . . even in December. On a leap of faith, I packed up my spring and summer clothes . . .just in case, I really am moving. I am quite a minimalist, by nature and so, it didn’t take long.
It was one of those timeless days. where the light does not change, as the hours pass. It could have been anytime,when Christian came in-but it was only noon. I was washing linens and shared my lofty plans for the rest of the day, with him.
I had mixed up a batch of shampoo for Cash and Christopher Robin and so I started on that project. They were neither happy, but both tolerated their bath, well. I looked out the window by the “morning table” and noticed how still the countryside was. It certainly seemed, that the weatherman was right about rain coming in. It dawned on me, that this would be a good day to burn the garden -and so I did. I am not good at starting fires, no matter what I have in my arsenal, but at last, I managed a small flame. I burned til the rain came. I at least, had a good start. I removed the autumn wreath from the back door, as I came in.
The rain fell at a steady pace. It was the perfect kind of day, to start a new book -and I had one. . .“Elizabeth and Her German Garden” , so it was very tempting. I knew if I started it though, that I would not accomplish another thing, for I get hopelessly drawn in to books and do not even want to stop to eat. (Mama is the same way.) I laid the book aside, and placed a stack of bills, on top of it. That would keep me on task, as it is time to pay bills . . and I dread it. I am on a shoe string budget, first of all and sometimes, I think, I have spent a good deal of life , just trying to keep the lights on!
I was putting away laundry and it was suddenly dark. It was still raining, too. I was too tired to face the bills, hence, I did not start my new book. I went to bed early, after a supper of left overs, for I am cleaning out the freezer . . .just in case.
I was up long before the sun, on Sunday. The rain had tapered off to a mere drizzle. I made coffee – and opened the bills. After calculating my predicament, I was very thankful, that most of my Christmas shopping was done. Recently, all sorts of things outside of the budget had arisen. There was a hefty fee for extending the contract on the cottage and then I took the car for an oil change and ended up having two new tires put on. One of the tires was in such awful shape that I cringed when I saw it. I must pay better attention, I decided.
Now every month, for most all of my adult life, somehow, I have “kept the lights on”. Sometimes, I have dreamed of winning the lottery, but chances are mighty slim, as I do not play. Sometimes, I think, I have won a lottery, of sorts, for I am rich, when it comes to loved ones and wealthy when it comes to contentment. . . and I have “kept the lights on”, after all. Still, I can not deny that having some money is appealing.
I remember a Christmas eve, a few years back. I had a bit more than the usual amount left over, after the bills were paid. In haste, I went out to buy a few extra gifts for my children. Please know, my children always got socks, bedroom shoes and a book-guitar strings for Christian and art supplies. It was always the same. . .so this particular Christmas, I could splurge, if just a little. I was so happy and decided to bring supper home, as well-another indulgence. I called the boys, to tell them I was almost home and had supper, too. The minute I hung up, the car died. I mean it cut off on the highway altogether. I barely got it off the road. The engine would not even try to start! The lights were out and I was immediately in a state of panic. I called Kyle, who got a posse of local men and my daddy, to come get me. Daddy being a mechanic went about diagnosing the problem, but it was pitch dark and so he could really only guess. Everything he imagined, seemed to cost about five hundred dollars, which I did not have. I felt punished for having bought things like chocolate . . .and supper! I was ashamed of abandoning my good senses and on and on I went. Finally, when I was weary from lamenting, I pulled myself together. I was on Christmas break, and wouldn’t need the car for another ten days. I could come up with some plan, surely in that time. . .and it was Christmas eve, after all.
The next morning, Daddy called. He had awaken at first light, to look at the car. The whole problem was a loose wire! A simple and very free solution to my catastrophe. He would be bringing my twenty year old car, “home” to me , safe and sound. Well, I laughed and cried, when we hung up -at the same time! Such relief flooded over me. When I collected my thoughts, I told God, that I should have known not to fret, for He always has provided for me faithfully. I told Him, I regretted my foolishness , in thinking otherwise. I told Him, while I knew I can always depend on Him for everything, including money, I just wished He would let me write it down in my bank account!
This is a very true story, and it is not that old, either. The old car was replaced just a few years ago, with another used car, gifted to me by Tres. Christian still gets guitar strings and art supplies for Christmas-and the boys still ask for socks, too.
Today, as I start paying the bills, I remember that time and countless others, that turned out the same. I remain responsible but I do not fear being generous. I do not harbor shame, if I am doing my best and I expect things to work out., even in light of my mistakes. What liberty, I know now, when unhindered by my own limitations of my Father.
My dear friend Rae, lost her job and and a husband within a six month period. It was an awful season for her. I asked her once, how she was financially and she replied “fine, I never worry about money, for I trust God, to care for me.” She was not left with much of an inheritance, and so I was stunned at her bravery and faith. Moments later, I was laughing. Now Rae was stunned and asked me” what was funny?” I told her that she trusted God like He had all the money in the world-and I acted like He had ten dollars to spare! She laughed too.
Now, when I need new tires, I can say “its’ just money” for it is. . .and it is just God, that makes the difference. . . .now at the first of December . . .and always.