07 May 2013

My diminutive spire

It is a glorious day outside--May has treated us well, weather-wise--but I am tucked in bed at noon on a Tuesday. First the Mister got sick, this weekend, when we had planned a grand excursion to Brussels that included a trip to see this Baby Animals exhibit at the Natural History museum. Gabriel was so excited. We didn't go, especially when I woke the next morning with stomach upset and cramping.

I thought I was feeling better, and managed to get through the day yesterday, albeit weak and dizzy, but threw in the towel and asked the Mister (who still isn't feeling great himself) to come home early, and then experienced the worst night of, um, intestinal distress I've ever had. The kind where I had to throw the baby back in his crib and listen to him scream at 3:30 am while I hunched in the bathroom. I had to yell to M (who has been sleeping in the guest room for a few nights so he doesn't wake the baby with snuffles and sneezing, or pass on whatever he has) for help. Oof. I've barely eaten for three days.

I'm praying, hard, that I recover, and that the kids don't get sick, because we fly to Boston on Friday for a couple of weeks. This trip was already planned (I'm scheduled to present a paper at a conference), but it's providential that we're headed to see my family now.

Because mom's cancer is back. Another tumor, another round of different treatments. We're still waiting to find out what's ahead, and absorbing this news. My birthday is tomorrow, Mother's Day is Sunday, and my mom's birthday is a week after that. Somehow all of this, and being sick myself, coalesces into a swirl of fever dreams and happy sadness. Sad happiness. Being sick inside on a perfect May day. I think about her in the walking moments and the still moments.

Friday I stopped in our beautiful Beguinage just to breathe a little, listen to birds chirp in silence, to soak up the delicate morning sunlight and gentle breeze. And I thought about mom, feeling worried and brave at the same time, scared and calm and trusting that she--we--will all just take this as it comes.

I came across this poem by e.e. cummings, one I hadn't known before, and somehow it's the right poem for right now, winter by spring. The right poem for sitting in the Beguinage, asking God to give me the patience of mountains. I lift my diminutive spire to merciful Him.

Poem 77, from 95 Poems
e.e. cummings

i am a little church(no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
--i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april

my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth's own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying)children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness

around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains

i am a little church(far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
--i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing

winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)