La Petite Apocalypse Quotidienne – a mini journal

Apocalypse — “A prophetic revelation, especially concerning a cataclysm in which the forces of good permanently triumph over the forces of evil” (Dictionary.com)

Quotidian — “something that occurs daily”

Praying the Hours*
in seven holy pauses
a rhythm of waxing and waning
creativity cycles too from
doing into being into prayer

Tuesday, Feb 3, 5:00 am

Lauds calls
hour of resurrection
joy and gratitude
welcome possibility

I’m awake and it briefly registers that today, John leaves on a work trip — 10 days in various locations.  It is good for him to go; he will have a great trip; he’ll come home energized.  I can happily release him for these reasons,  but I also feel something that I acknowledge as nervousness  – not about his going, but about my staying.   ‘Left Behind! – the mini series’. To amuse myself I look up ‘apocalypse’ — how bad can it be, right?  But as I read the definitions that are in part about the worst, the awful, the terrible — a cataclysm no less, I am reminded that ‘apocalypse’ refers to a type of literature written expressly to encourage hope because ‘good permanently triumphs over evil’.  Maybe all my writing, viewed through a certain lens, could be apocalyptic-like, because writing tends to draw my attention upward and onward.  I cannot prevent the daily mishaps – ‘la petite apocalyse’ – autism will force its little adventures on me, but perhaps writing serves as a way to traverse through to the hopeful other side — when John returns and life returns to its comforting routines.

8:00 am
Terce follows
short and simple
our work assigned,
begins.

The kids are on the bus and we leave to take John to the airport. Traffic is not bad, but slows down about 2 km from Bridgeport drive, where there is a bus lane that is so tempting to use.  We resist and watch another driver pull out.  We express our mild frustration and then notice that a police car has pulled out behind him.  Once in a while our inner by-law officers receive huge ego strokes. (We fail to resist staring as we pass the driver)  We get to YVR.  We kiss goodbye at the departure drop off.  I am not jealous, 9 days in the soggy lower mainland is still adventure, isn’t it?  — and as soon as the send off kiss is given — I’m scooting off to an appointment at ABLE clinic to meet with a speech and language pathologist to work on some speech and language goals that will assist my son in his transition year to adult services.  This will also help him get a new IPad, which he uses sometimes as an augmented communication device (and at other times to play Minion Mayhem or listen to The Country Bears movie, which I can actually recommend on several levels – pm me).  I’m a little early so I sit in the car remembering the first time I came to this clinic for Caleb’s 1st psychological assessment when he was 3 years old.  I remember the raw sort of pride we carried into that appointment, a stubborn edginess that feigned cooperativeness to get the help me needed.  I’m still asking for help, still circling the same weigh stations for assessments and evaluations, but with less edge, more weariness if still a little stubborn. But I was then and still am now deeply grateful for the kind and helpful presence that is offered here at this clinic with insight and care.

12:00 Noon
Sext reaches
full illumination, tilting
the day again toward night
pause; make sense of work.

I try to figure out as I’m driving, what I need to pick up on my way home, because if I don’t get it now, I won’t be able to send John out for it later.  A very nice gentleman bumps into my car in the parking lot at Target.  I’m agitated and I burst out of the car to see what there is to see and am aware that as I bent in agitation over my bumper, he seems to be calmly parking his car.  He gets out, looks first at his bumper and then strolls toward me.  I cannot find even a bump mark on my bumper; he says the same for his car.  I accept his apology, we shake hands and he tells me to take care driving in the rain. I feel like I have met graciousness, patience and kindness.

1:00 pm – I arrive home and the house is silent. I usually drink that quiet up, but today I am aware that it means John is gone.  The kids will be home in two hours.  I make myself a sandwich.

3 pm
None shadows
cast from limitations, longs
and stretches strong
to honour the Light.

Caleb and then Emma arrive home.  I can tell as I watch Emma walk in from the bus that she is unsettled.  I know the reason and wonder how the evening will be; she hides in Caleb’s room to cry a little.  In a bit she comes out for a snack.  My plan is to lay low for the evening (well, that is always my plan).  John is the driver, the guide, the drive-through window king.  He writes songs he likes to sing to the kids: Daddies are fun, fun, fun, daddies are fun.  Mommies are kind, and gentle and nurturing, but Daddies are fun, fun, fun… Did I mention that Caleb has the next 3 days off school? I don’t think he needs that much nurturing. So, I am thankful that his respite workers kindly will take him overnight tomorrow night.  They will go swimming and keep him active.  Emma’s respite worker will take her on Friday, giving Caleb and I a chance to do something – a movie maybe?  They will eat well — I can absolutely make that promise, more than peanut butter on toast, unless of course, that’s what they want.

7:00 pm
Vespers whispers
‘enter into stillness, ponder
paradox: waning time
in vibrant color.

We are all in our places, watching a movie here, a movie there on various devices.  John, transiting through Montreal phones to say hi and tell me he has procured a coffee sleeve for our collection. In the background I can hear them announcing departing flights.  We chat for a while until his flight is called.  He’s many provinces away from us and yet we can chat about our life’s little peculiarities – I say I’m thankful that Emma finally had a bowel movement, he says he saw the Montreal Olympic stadium as he flew over and that his impression of Montreal is that there are so many outdoor skating rinks.  He almost bought a T-shirt.  I said he should wait and buy something from a place he actually gets to see.  I love that my husband is happy collecting coffee sleeves and t-shirts. He is indeed the fun-one.

9:00 pm
Compline gifts
with rest and renewal, let go
of speech, be bathed
in the space of darkness

Emma is in bed.  I would be too, but Caleb is a night-hawk and will be for at least another 2 hours.  He has never gone to bed easily or early.  So he settles on the couch to watch a movie, his night-time routine and I get a book.  Both of my children ‘let go of speech’ or autism let go of it for them, long ago.  The evening is not about less speech for them, but it is for me. I wonder if the forced speechlessness between me and my children has pried open this writing space in me, since writing is a silent wordiness and honours both the chatter of the speech filled world and silence of the speechless world.

Matins begins
the day with night
emerging from the dark
where seeds incubate

Once asleep, I did not wake in the night .  On this first night alone with the kids, the Matins vigil is especially honoured in this, I think.  I know every night will not be like this.  Whether worry, or wakefulness, or upset child, something will call me to mark the dark hour, but right now I am grateful for this deposit of hope as I move into day two of John’s time away.

*The Praying the Hours verse was a reduction of Christine Valters Painter’s prose about the same from her book, The Artist’s Rule.

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