I saw a church sign this week that read, "Water Baptisms This Sunday." This completely confused me. I thought all baptisms are with/by water. I shared this confusion, once again, on the good ole Facebook. Not thinking much of the few comments I received, later in the day I received one that...well, it kinda knocked me off my feet. One of those rare moments where your breath catches, but not in the good way. This acquaintance (see how I didn't say friend...because let's be honest, very few of those people on the good ole Facebook are friends) simply replied to my status, "Well, there is baptism by fire. But that can be messy."
If there is one thing I understand, it is this. Baptism by fire. (Anything by fire.) That it is messy. Not just messy but completely and utterly destructive. Life changed (forever) on January 20 of 2010. I can't help but think about just this on New Year's Eve. How life is nothing of what I thought it would be 365 days after NYE's 2009.
The fire...the baptism...the baptism by fire...
It has been on my mind too much this week. I am actually glad the parents are out of town. I would hate them to see me so down. Well, not down. But...but so reflective. So...so...living in what was and not in what is. (If you read this M and D: I know a new year is coming. And I know you love me. And I know you have shared with me in this grief. But say it with me, "Hope springs eternal!")
I went into storage two days ago and pulled out some of the boxes from the fire. They have been sitting, untouched, for the last 11 months. I thought. No, I knew they needed to be touched. Looked throw. Thought about. Cried over. And cleaned up. There are many boxes. Most it will be sorted...into the trash. I picked three boxes full of dishes. Gosh, if you know me any, you know I love (see, I did not say loved) my dishes. I have been collecting, finding abstract pieces, mostly vintage, for years. I filled the sinks at home with hot water, rolled my sleeves up, and went to work on my beloved dishes. (Remember many months ago when I wrote about it just being stuff, but my stuff. And sometimes we just love stuff. Well, this is the stuff I l-o-v-e.)
Surprisingly I did not cry over the pieces that went into the trash. Nor I did cry when the soot would not wash away (as easily as I had wanted). Nope, the tears came when I opened the boxes. That smell. I worked for months to get that smell out of my few remaining clothes, car, and...memory. That smell overwhelmed me then. And it overwhelms me now. It stayed in my memory for far too long. But I kept going. I washed. Rewashed. And finally loaded them in the dishwasher for a sanitizing cycle. Even then, after all that scrubbing, I had to make the decision to throw away certain pieces. But my favorites, well most my favorites, cleaned up. They are waiting to be wrapped up and put in new boxes. (Boxes that don't hold THAT smell.)
I hate thinking of the last year as a baptism by fire. In some strange way, by some strange manner, it may be the most accurate description.
Starting over. Finding a new way. Washed away (literally). (Remember there was a flood, too.) Surrounded and upheld in love by dear people. Called to continue on. And...to find hope in the midst of a mess. In the midst of despair.
It has been messy. The clean up continues. Outside. Inside. Boxes. And new boxes.
What I thought would be, is not the reality of today. Yet, I am here.
Even in a mess, when one is a mess, life is messy...hope can be found. Love can be found. God can be found.
Hope springs eternal. Amen.
ps: Look at my Marigold. Goodness how time even changes our favorite four legged friends.