Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Matter of Life and Death

Today was one of those days where life and death met, shook hands and carried on.

It's Saturday, which in the Flemming house always means pancakes, sleep-in days, and no school. On occasion, it also means trips to Dancing Goat Coffee in the morning, and maybe a frolic in the local park.

The 3 boys and I were excited today, since we had organized a playdate at the Decatur Christian Church park with three of Jackson's classmates. It just so happens that their moms are pretty fantastic people, too, and it seemed like a good way to spend Saturday morning.

With minimal drama or harumphing, we made it out of the house on time, with short sleeved shirts under our sweatshirts. Or, if you're Cooper, four layers of clothing, which were shed within moments of arriving at the park. Matt tromped the boys to the park, while I loaded up on the tastiest coffee in the universe, which is gleefully shared with any who will drink it.

Wonder of wonders - we were the first family to arrive. This never happens. Tardiness is my constant companion. It distracts me and leads me to believe that I can fit a 20 minute activity into 10. Believe me, like anyone with a problem, not only am I supremely aware of it, but I'm also the most annoyed by it. This is a Lenten Discipline for another year...

As our friends came, we gathered in a mom huddle, and watched our progeny race to the farthest reaches of the gated playground. Some to the swings, some to the trucks, some huddled by mamas, and all of us sipped coffee and recounted the morning to date. My friends were staying to play, Matt chaperoned nearby, joking later that he was doing his best imitation of a marginalized person on the fringe of society, and our children whooped and imagined their grown-upness with delight.

I had to leave all too soon, and Zipcar'ed to Saint Mark for Bob's funeral. It was frustrating for Death to intervene on such delight and fun. Haven't you already visited us, O Death? Can't you leave us be? But no... Death showed up again to sit in the back pew and mock us as we paid tribute to the spirited life of my friend Bob. It was sad, but a true celebration of a life lived to its fullest.

I returned back to my family, bright green coat masking the drab black beneath it. I put life back on, and left death behind.

We spent our quiet afternoon doing spring-like things. The yard is tidy and fertilized. The laundry is under control. We claimed this quiet life and lived it peacefully, but we all know that death can swoop in and knock everything into disorder.

Today, life was interrupted. But it did not cease.

Thanks be to God.

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