Easter and life is slowing down
It’s raining again. Ray and I were going out for a picnic by the lake, but it’s raining again. So we sit, we relax, we reflect and contemplate life. It is colder with the cloud cover, yesterday was warm and it was hard to believe summer is over, today it is cold and it is easy to believe winter is coming.
It is what Easter is about down our end of the world. It is not Spring, so not that sudden burst into bloom of all the spring flowers, not the gradual rise of temperature and the return of the sun. All the usual trappings of Easter, bunnies, chickens, eggs, fresh flowers all seem so wrong for a southern hemisphere Easter. It is not easy to think of new life when the trees are losing their leaves, when the roses are looking like sticks with a few late blooms on them. It is obvious this is not the new beginning but the beginning of the end. More like slowly dying than joyfully rising.
So we have to think in a different way. Easter is about enduring. It is about living the life despite what is happening around you. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey knowing he was riding to his death – that is the Palm Sunday lesson. Doing what you have to do regardless of the consequences, doing what is right for you. It is about living a life that is consistent with your beliefs.
Yesterday we had just a few kids up the back of the church in my little coloring corner. I made them butterflies out of pipe cleaners and had some pre-made butterflies on sticks to give them. We had a cartoon called “Fred the donkey” as a children’s story, a part of a series of Bible stories for kids made in New Zealand. While the sermon was on they were up the back with me. It is good to see the stranger and the regular attendees passing the pencils and getting on well together. Children’s church is a mini community of faith.
We have had a quiet Easter as our families visited last week. These days we have very few visitors. I have 100 friends on Facebook but few face-to-face friends now. That is sad in a way, as we don’t get to laugh together. I really miss having a good laugh. I do have a couple of people who I talk on the phone to who I can laugh with but not that hilarious, hiccupping, tears-in-your eyes kind of laughter now. We live a much more sober life than we did prior to the strokes.
My next door neighbour gives me a massage voucher for Christmas. I didn’t use last year’s as it didn’t fit into my life somehow. He reminded me that he still owed me one. He is away a lot as he is a geo-statistician involved with coal mining. He says he will be home for a while but then something goes wrong and he is off to Indonesia or China or somewhere. It is a strange kind of life. He lives here as he loves to surf, is involved with the local Lifesavers and has a teenaged daughter close by. I like having a long-term neighbour but wish he was home more. We talk balcony to balcony.
The parrots are busy with the last of the autumn blossom, at night the bats are noisy as they attack the last of the umbrella tree fruit, the date palm fruit, the native fig tree fruit and anything else sweet and tasty. These are big bats and they fight over the access to the trees all through the night. Makes for a noisy neighbourhood for the time the fruits last.
And so we contemplate the winter to come, knowing that it will be more difficult to get out, colder in the bathroom of a morning, harder for Ray to get out of bed and to get around as his muscles tend to be stiffer and getting up out of a chair more difficult. We don’t heat the house to more than warm as it is open plan and hard to heat so we warm up the space we are in and accept that the power bill will be much higher, everything you do in winter costs more money.
I have enjoyed what we had this summer, warmer days, and not too many humid and uncomfortable nights. We didn’t do a lot because the diabetic blister made staying at home easier than going out particularly for the 8 weeks I had to wheelchair him everywhere. At least he was able to walk into church on Easter Sunday and can sit by himself on the pew without having to sit in the wheelchair and me worrying that he is in the way.
The good news is no specialists’ appointments in May. The vascular surgeon said he cannot do anything about Ray’s blockages in his feet so to keep an eye on the condition and he will only operate in an emergency. Today we noticed a rub mark on his left big toe and I applied a Meplex strip to cushion it in the hope that it will stop a blister from forming. The kidney specialist is also on a six monthly visit as is the neurologist. Our GP will see us once a month unless something goes wrong.
I will cope in winter, I know I will. I will just take it a day at a time as I have all the summer. Some days will be good, some days not so good, 24 hours at a time.