Answer with Joy

Winterberry Holly

This weekend, I could not help my fascination with winterberry holly.  I love how vibrant the berries appear against a drab late-autumn landscape.  Those berries challenge their depressing surroundings with a hallelujah of red. 

Thorny Cages

They rise out of treacherous, thorny cages of leaves. 

They nourish entire populations of birds–over 48 species.  Even small mammals depend on these luscious berries to sustain them through the bitter winter. 

Let me rise out of thorns, answer with joy whatever dark background hovers about, and nourish those around me.  

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Annoyed or Delighted?

Whenever it’s time to make up a bed with fresh, clean sheets, it’s as if the cats know.

They run to the bedroom.  Soon, I wrestle two kitties out from underneath the sheets.  They return to burrow and tumble, peek out and retreat.   I coax them out, urge them to the side of the bed, and start to make the bed again.

Just as I tuck in the last corner and turn to smooth the blankets on top, I see the perfect round lump right in the middle of the bed and under my sheets.  

These cats!  They infuriate me!  I start from the beginning and remake the bed so the sheets and blankets rest smooth and precise.  Somehow, a cat wriggles his way back up beneath the covers and lounges there.

I hear purring.  I hear satisfied and taunting purring.

I look at that rumpled mess of a made bed.  No order, no smooth lines.  Finally I realize that as long as I have these mischievous felines, I will have a lumpy bed.  You can’t make a bed properly with cats around.

Once I realize this, I just go about the process of making the bed differently.  I loosen the corners, I fluff up the blankets, and I invite a cat into caverns and caves I design. 

Those things I resist, those battles I fight, might be moments of surrender to the annoyance.  Some evenings, I retire to bed to see round lumps hiding under the covers.   Purring.  Loud purring.   It’s funny.  It’s endearing.  It’s a source of delight.

Could the things that annoy me the most become a source of delight somehow?  Those things about my family members that I want to change might become endearing things.  Things I would miss if I didn’t have them around.

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