upper room daily devotions

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

when life is discordant

Each day I begin with giving thanks for the peacefulness of my home. Peace in my home is something that I prize above almost everything else. I know that I don't have a chance of maintaining any balance in life or any kind of healthy spirituality if my home is wracked with chaos, conflict, or strife. Because of this awareness, I work very hard at having a peaceful and joyful home. And, by and large, I am blessed with such a home. Something happened a few days ago that has thrown my domestic bliss into a tailspin and I can feel the effects rippling through my whole experience of life. I am more stressed, less attuned to God around and in me, more apt to be snappy and short with people, less compassionate toward others, and, frankly, a bit sad. Right now, life is discordant.

On Saturday evening one of my pets was taken to the vet. For some time I've been giving him an anti-anxiety pill to help his "inappropriate elimination" problem. It's worked marvels and Georgie hasn't been peeing outside of his litter box. However, the vet wanted to draw some blood before renewing the prescription. When Georgie (George Weasley for those who care) returned home, his brother Fred smelled the vet on him and reacted as one might expect. He hissed, growled, and took an aggressive posture with poor Georgie. While I expected this response, I didn't expect it to last as long as it has or for Fred's behavior to be directed toward the humans in the house.

Fred and George have been separated for George's safety and Fred's sense of safety. Georgie cries and paws at the door behind which he knows his brother is hiding. Freddie, not understanding that the cat on the other side of the door is his litter mate and life-long sleeping pal Georgie, hisses and growls, and George slinks away dejected. It's now Monday evening and neither animal understands what's happening. I am sleeping on the sofa to keep George company while Fred sleeps in my bedroom where he feels secure. I hope this doesn't last until I leave town on Thursday, but I expect that it will.

This is just a little every day kind of event, but things like this can tear us out of balance and put us - at least me - out of whack for a while. Order and peace are important parts of a healthy life. How are we supposed to respond when order isn't possible, when the place we rely upon to be peaceful and life-giving becomes trying and difficult? My heart also breaks because these two wonderful creatures made by God who have always slept together, groomed one another, and played together are torn apart. They both know it. Neither understands it. How is it possible to keep a home steady and calming when confusion and fear have come across the thresshold?

This may seem like a trivial post. It is, after all, not about church leadership, the environment, issues of national importance, or even deep spiritual conviction. It is, however, a reminder to me of how important home and peace are for my spiritual well being. This post brings to the fore the struggle to maintain balance when home and hearth are conflicted and chaotic. I have a blessed life; my home is typically quite happy and I am generally very content. I wonder what others do when life is discordant and home feels no longer like home - even if just for a little while.

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