Well, we've not only turned the corner on April but moved a full week into May. I apologize for disappearing, but sometimes life becomes full-steam ahead and there's just no time to reflect! (Or to sit down at the computer to blog.) Full-steam ahead is a good way to characterize what's been happening with me in the past ten days or so.
My 77 year old father became suddenly, unexpectedly and quite seriously ill, going into congestive heart failure. The past week and a half were full of phone calls, worries, prayers, struggles, conversations, unexpected angels, and some tiring travel. Dad was in the hospital for several days. He's now home, though weak and tired, being nursed by my wonderful mom, and we're not yet sure just what lies ahead for him. There have been some painful and emotional moments as I contemplated the possibility of losing my dad, now or in the near future.
One blessing (among many) was that myself and my three siblings plus most of our families (almost all of my parents' grandchildren, and all of their great-grandchildren) were able to make visits to Virginia. Over the course of about a week, we had family gathered together from Virginia, Connecticut, Illinois, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Texas, Iowa, Montana, and Minnesota. The impromptu family reunion, even or especially in the midst of such real worry and potential sorrow, was a beautiful thing. And my dad, graced in a special way by the Lord, just seemed to brim with joy and contentment to have his loved ones gathered around him.
Just a few weeks ago, before we knew my father was sick, I had called home to wish my parents a happy 56th wedding anniversary. Dad and I talked for a while, and one of the things he said to me then, which came back to me with a lot of force this past week, was how blessed he was by his long life. His father died of congestive heart failure at the very young age of 61, one reason my dad always seemed to struggle (in his forties and fifties) with worry that he might not live past that age, and one reason that he's spent the past twenty years eating healthily and exercising. What he said to me was "I've already lived much longer than I ever thought I would. And every new day I have is a gift to enjoy."
That truth seemed to radiate from him at the hospital -- in his humor, in his graciousness to the nurses attending him, in his joy in seeing his far-flung family. It made me realize anew just how much I want gratitude to permeate my life: now, every day, for as many days as I'm given.
So anyway...that's what's been happening with me. It's end of semester and I'm behind on paper grading, so I'm fairly certain that May is going to be a slow blogging month, but I can tell I am also longing for writing time, so you never know! I've got reviews dancing in my brain, and I still have some poetry posts I'd like to get up, ones I'd hoped to post at the end of April -- but I don't mind extending the poetry celebration into May and all year round. And as I begin to plan homeschool studies for next year (grammar 3/3rd grade) I will likely have some school posts in the pipeline too.
It's good to be back to "ordinary" life and blogging. With just a twist of extra gratitude.