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It is either a cyst or the cancer is back. I found it, but my heart is ungrateful. More information after a biopsy and days of waiting. Immediately, I feel empty. I pray but wonder if my prayers are heard. They probably are. After all, I am a child of God. After all, if I belong to God, he hears me. I certainly can’t go by feelings which are like clouds—light, dark, moving slowly across the sky. Still, I am winding through the dawn dark. Where health, safety, and living life are concerned, I normally take no chances. I pray. Walking in darkness is too hard on my own. I know a little of the Word and quote it back to God, but it feels like gravel in my mouth. I ask others to pray for me, to pr

Song of the Paper Burner

It is the week before Thanksgiving, and the oak leaves are yellowing. I am with others helping a friend pack up to move back to the Chicago area to live with her son. It is hard for her to leave, but she knows she must go. I like her need for order, whether things are packed away or to be given away. She is like a mother bird, suggesting this and that needing to go here and there. Boxes are taped and marked. If paper is identified as trash, it is burned by the man who claims he is an expert at this burning thing. I try to throw in a mixture of plastic and cardboard. He stops me, saying he’ll take those items to the recycle place in town. The man is admittedly tired and knows we are in a hurr

Saying Thank You

It was after we had voted, after teasing with friends at the precinct, after meeting the man who owned the persimmon tree. Heading home, my husband and I were riding the mountains, still green with crowns of red and purple foliage. A perfect fall day. Suddenly, he pulls the truck to a stop on the side of Push Mountain Road, saying, “There’s the persimmon tree you wanted to meet.” I laughed, remembering the wild fruit he’d brought home. I pulled out my camera and opened my door. I wanted a close-up of the tree, but when I rounded the truck, I looked down at the torn-up ground and came to a complete halt. The terrain was forbidding, full of rocks and damp ruts. “Wild hogs,” he commented. I und

Ugly, Beautiful

My art teacher placed paper and pencil in front of me. Then she arranged a few zinnias and put the vase on the table. Her instruction was to draw the bouquet. No shading. Just outline them. I froze. I could pick up the pencil and tap it on the paper, but I could not draw lines. I was scared of messing up the beautiful paper. Intimidated by unmarked paper! Intimidated by the request to draw. I feared not doing well. I fear taking something beautiful and making it ugly. This is not the end of the story, of course, but I now wonder how many jobs, projects, classes, people I have turned away during my lifetime because I felt inadequate, because I feared the learning process, the messing-up proce

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