I try to see the bright side of things, and one nice thing about having an elderly mother-in-law to care for is that, even at age seventy, I still get treated like a young whippersnapper. Of course, this also means that like Rodney Dangerfield, “I get no respect”, and it can be a bit wearing at times.
I tell her not to walk her dog up to a dangerous curve on a nearby country road, especially when it is narrowed by snowbanks after a storm, but later look up the road and see traffic stopped up at the curve, and even a front-end-loader stopped in a driveway beside the road with its scoop full of snow, as an elderly woman slowly crosses the road right on the curve with her alarmed little dog (who knows better) in tow. Her eyesight is bad, and this causes her to scrunch up her forehead and look cross even when she isn’t cross, and this apparently made people afraid to blare horns at her. In any case, she has proven no young whippersnapper is going to tell her where she can walk her dog.
Multiply this by twenty times and life starts to get draining. By fifty and she is almost as exasperating as the government, which seems to want to take a system that worked and utterly screw it up.
Lately life has left me feeling drained. It didn’t help matters that they stole an hour of sleep from us last Sunday, with the nonsense of Daylight Savings Time. Then we got hit by a major snowstorm. My wife and I were so worn out that a very nice Saint Patrick’s Day dinner we had on Saturday was in some ways just more work.
We sat down on Sunday and tried to plan a vacation, but even that made us tired. A sense of absurdity kicked in. When even vacations make you tired, perhaps you are nearing a sort of world-weariness some state is spiritually advantageous. I forget how the quote actually goes, but it is something like, “When even opulence makes you weary, your heart is making space for the Lord to walk in.”
When my wife and I got home after dark something happened worthy of a sonnet. Maybe it wasn’t a “sign” but I’m certain a Viking would call it an “omen.”
We're a couple old fools who have flunked a test. Though we both make our bed we seldom get rest. We try to treat all like they are a guest Yet stumble and fall while doing our best. We drove home in darkness. Silent was night And our drive looked the same, lit by our light But into its beams flew a shadowy sight: An owl, with wide wings braking its flight. It lit just above us, wisely looked down, And melted away my face's sad frown. Why should we interest this soul of the air? What had we done? And why should it care? I have no answer, but cannot refute That souls from above us do give a hoot.