I followed the dogs on to the frozen and brittle grass, and then they disappeared, running ahead in to the dark. I must watch them, or they eat and then vomit the discarded carcasses left by the overnight predators. Or, just as bad, roll in them.
But, this morning, I could not see them as they ran away from the halo of light around the house. I could not even see my feet. A strange morning already, I thought. No feet. I turned away from the dark to face the house and church, and I could see through the window of the church. Someone had decorated a tree in the church, and left the tree lights on, odd little stars. It was bright and eerily cheery, a glistening of colors not found in nature. As if to say, 'we are magical'. Or something like that. It made me laugh out loud. In to the dark dawn.
I called for Witt --so, in his jealousy, Paeha came running. I picked him up, talked sweet nothings in to his ear. And then Mr. Witty, who had been ignoring my call, came running in his jealousy. It works every time. Every. Time.
And the Christmas tree decorated with the odd little shining colored stars sang out an eerily cheery tune across the icy parking lot and through the chain link fence. I thought of the children, soon to be crowding around it, eager for the gifts, hungry for the dinner that will be served. Tomorrow, they will practice the pageant. It will be chaos. And somehow, for all the grandmas, they will pull it together on Christmas Eve.
And I wondered if the two young Mormon women who had knocked on my door had taken my invitation to caroling seriously... would they call today? Would we be singing together tonight? I hope so.
And we trudged through the dark to the walk that led to the door. Ice crunching beneath my shoes. Maybe I should venture out later today, retrieve some of the long curly-q seed pods of the tree, find some colored yarn, and decorate the fake Christmas tree in the sanctuary with them. That would shock all those that love tinsel and glitz and blinking pink and blue lights. They would talk to each other about it. They would say something like, 'Mother...' and then stop short. But they wouldn't touch them. And they would talk about it for years to come, 'Do you remember when....' And send someone over to rake my yard and get rid of those things before next Christmas.
I had the whole scenario play itself out in my head. It would be a great joke.
Singing with the Mormons. Decorating the fake tree with real seed pods. As if. I will be lucky enough today to make all the bulletins....
But, here is the good news. A gift from the Diocese of Long Island.
$300,000 will be sent directly to the Cheyenne River Episcopal Mission in the Diocese of South Dakota to fund a full-time second priest for the next four years who will be a youth and young adult missioner and ministry developer in a section of the Diocese of South Dakota that has the highest suicide rate of youth and young adults in the entire country.And I remember that a second young woman has been brought back to hospice... organ failure from alcohol poisoning. There are at least two kinds of suicide in this place --all fitting in to the two general categories of "Fast" or "Slow." Fast is guns, hanging or cars. Slow is food, alcohol and despair that works its way in to chronic illness that brings on early death.
--that is probably what I will do when I finish the bulletins... go to the hospital. And pray she dies a holy death.
At prayer this morning (Canticle: A Song of the Heavenly City, Revelation 21:22-26, 22:1-4)
I saw no temple in the city, *
for its temple is the God of surpassing strength and the Lamb.
And the city has no need of sun or moon to light it, *
for the glory of God shines on it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
By its light the nations shall walk, *
and the rulers of the world lay their honor and glory there.
Its gates shall never be shut by day, nor shall there be any night; *
into it they will bring the honor and glory of nations.
I saw the clean river of the water of life, bright as crystal, *
flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
The tree of life spanned the river, giving fruit every month, *
and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
All curses cease where the throne of God and the Lamb stands,
and all servants give worship there; *
there they will see God’s face, whose Name shall be on their foreheads.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
A margin of light. No need of sun or moon.
Come Lord Jesus.