Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My Unwriting. Ruth’s Writing.

The ickiness continues. And the more I search my brain for words to write, the emptier my brain becomes.

Yuck. Or should I say, Ick? Or should I say, “Take two brownies and call me in the morning?” Yes, THAT is the solution!

So since I am in a sort of unwritable frame of mind today, and since my sister, Ruth (whose writing I featured here a couple weeks ago) has many things to share, I will feature another one of her pieces for your enjoyment.

Thanks, Ruth, for letting me share your beautiful gift for words and for giving me time to wallow in my ickiness. (wallow, wallow)

What you are about to read is something that Ruth wrote after her family lost their house in a fire. If you’ve ever been through that tragedy, or know someone who has, her writing will especially resonate with you. But even if you haven’t been through it, the way she sums up her story will be an encouragement and inspiration to us all.

FINAL RITES

I attended a violent funeral today.

A ghostly, gray pallor hovered over the incredible scene I encountered as I hastily pulled up to the site. Jumping from the car, I could barely comprehend how this could be happening. Impossible, unthinkable and unbelievable.

My hand covered my mouth in shock and horror, my mind went numb. Dazed I stood alone before the savage sight of my dear old home attacked and disfigured by a monstrous, awful enemy...fire.

In my absence, death had invaded my private domain, a torrent of merciless heat and flames had surged through the house, eating it alive--relishing the dusty wood flavor and licking its greedy lips for more and more. There had been no time to say goodbye, no way to know or even think... death simply struck... without warning.

The house had given no signals or symptoms that it was close to its demise or that this was to be its last day on earth, sheltering and standing watch over me, so humbly and patiently, year after year. The familiar front porch had always been ready and waiting, like a comfortable lap, eager to provide rest and retreat

Our home was rather old, one hundred years or so, with a definite limp in his left hip and with the westward wall always leaning a tad too far off course--at least on the imaginary plumb line in my mind's eye.

If I had known he would be leaving today, I would have slowed down on the way out that morning. I would have run a slow hand along the back door frame as I hurried out, pausing to look back over my shoulder at the cozy, quiet rooms. I would have glanced up at the straight roof peak so tall against the misty, spring sky. But I did not. I just rushed on my way through the day.

He fell ill today, violently and severe. A sinister plague leapt upon him, hanging in the air with a gloomy aura of lurking catastrophe. When I came home,I saw the vicious smoke gathering strength and venom, biting and tearing, leaping triumphantly out the upper windows. My heart beat wildly while I stood helpless, watching the struggle rage on--the haughty inferno swaggering in, taking total control of my crippled abode.

As my home continued to burn, I walked to a young apple tree at the edge of the yard, fastening my eyes and soul on the horrible spectacle before me. Leaning a shoulder into the tree’s slim trunk, I tilted my head on the rough bark and stood, mesmerized. This was it. It was over. Hopeless. No possible way to rescue or bring sustenance back to the fire-battered boards, so black and fragile, bare to the bone before me, struggling to stay upright.

Finally, tottering on its decrepit stonewalls, the house shuddered and collapsed. Bravely it died, that much I sensed. Its time of service was done. It was okay, I told him. Go on to your well-earned rest, give up all the ghosts of your long, faithful past. I will miss the quiet, precious haven you provided but go...like a puppy going to his beloved master... the simple image soothed my weary mind.

The tears came easily, flowing constantly. I turned away from the trucks, sirens, shouting men and clung to my little apple tree. Soon I felt big arms come around me, encircling the solid trunk in the shared embrace. Without turning, I knew the source of solace offered --my husband. We had not yet spoken, just looked at our dying house and each other.

Grief met in the smoky air between us, but the firm sapling held us up, entered our tight circle of love and pain, hovered over us like a protective umbrella. Later on, moving a little closer, I stand right up before the front steps, looking down into the bleak, ugly hole and seeing the two iron hand rails flanking the only remnant left of the huge body of our dear home. They seem like solemn tombstones, quietly grand and still simple, somehow poetic to my soul.

It is very sad to see a house die... your house... your shelter from the storms of life. I feel a little bareheaded, a bit vulnerable, while a blank gaping hole looms where something solid and real should be standing. My shocked emotions tell me this isn't right, cannot happen, but it did and there is no bringing it back.

And yet, as I gaze across to the hills, so sweet with fresh, green light emerging in every nook and cranny, I know that there is a future and a hope. Always, hope prevails in this life, soothing the pains and troubles that heave up in our pathway, attempting to destroy and bring us low in despair.

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; he that keepeth thee will not slumber." (Psalm l2l

The ancient phrase leaps into my mind and causes hope to return--for life, for family, for springtime. It is washing through me in tidal waves of abundant peace.

I have a sure foundation, a rock in the storm. I will not falter for I am held in the arms of the Almighty.

Life is here. Now.

By: Ruth Rehberg April 30, 2004

9 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Lisa said...

Bless her precious heart. That brought tears to my eyes. I was glad to see that it has been six years ago and that she has had time to come to grips with the loss.

And while you're at it, would you mind baking enough brownies for the rest of us? :O)

Hugs,
Lisa

Dianna in Louisiana said...

What an absolutely beautiful piece of writing. It reminded me of the poem, "Upon the Burning of Our House," by one my favorite author's, Emily Bradstreet. Though she was a Puritan who lived long ago, her writing still rings so true today.

By the way, I made a little challenge to myself to post comments on your blog when I visit. I figure that since you go through all of the trouble of writing them....and I get the delight of reading them... I at least owe you the couple minutes it takes to post!

Here's the poem I referred to:

"Verses upon the Burning of our House"

In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow near I did not look,
I waken'd was with thund'ring noise
And piteous shrieks of dreadful voice.
That fearful sound of "fire" and "fire,"
Let no man know is my Desire.
I starting up, the light did spy,
And to my God my heart did cry
To straighten me in my Distress
And not to leave me succourless.
Then coming out, behold a space
The flame consume my dwelling place.
And when I could no longer look,
I blest his grace that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so 'twas just.
It was his own; it was not mine.
Far be it that I should repine,
He might of all justly bereft
But yet sufficient for us left.
When by the Ruins oft I past
My sorrowing eyes aside did cast
And here and there the places spy
Where oft I sate and long did lie.
Here stood that Trunk, and there that chest,
There lay that store I counted best,
My pleasant things in ashes lie
And them behold no more shall I.
Under the roof no guest shall sit,
Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
No pleasant talk shall 'ere be told
Nor things recounted done of old.
No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lie.
Adieu, Adieu, All's Vanity.
Then straight I 'gin my heart to chide:
And did thy wealth on earth abide,
Didst fix thy hope on mouldring dust,
The arm of flesh didst make thy trust?
Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
That dunghill mists away may fly.
Thou hast a house on high erect
Fram'd by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished
Stands permanent, though this be fled.
It's purchased and paid for too
By him who hath enough to do.
A price so vast as is unknown,
Yet by his gift is made thine own.
There's wealth enough; I need no more.
Farewell, my pelf; farewell, my store.
The world no longer let me love;
My hope and Treasure lies above.

Marysienka said...

"Take two brownies and call me in the morning"... I'm stealing it for the title of my post today on my blog, ok? I hope it's fine with you ;) (I will put your name!)

Anonymous said...

...thank you, Ruth.

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