Thursday, March 13, 2008

Protective Love - Mann

Steaming water surrounds me like a covering as I slid into the hot tub, causing me to hold my breath until my body adjusts to the heat. I settle into the 100-degree temperature feeling tension wash away with every breath. I sink in, down, deep, until I feel the seat beneath me. I close my eyes – time seems to stop. When I look out beyond my space, blackness forms a protective backdrop. The night is still – biting cold – minus 18 degrees.

Ice particles in the fresh snow across the patio sparkle like diamonds: fade and dazzle, surprise and fool me. Stars dance in the sky, brightly proclaiming their home in the hemisphere. Frozen ice-laden branches form a protective canopy over me. Birds are absent, unlike the early morning when they fight over their place at the feeder, eager to show their authority and establish their territory. The ground hog, bravely crawling around the edge of his burrow only yesterday, has gone back to sleep, in the wake of today’s snowstorm. And Herbie, my four-year-old goldfish, snuggled in his covering of leaves and muck at the bottom of his ice roofed pond, sleeps under six feet of snow. My eyes search the darkness, a peaceful quiet fills the night and my work begins.

I move my arm and leg back and forth, round and round in the intense heat of the water knowing that I am taking liberties, aware that I would not have the same mobility, had it not been for the water. Extreme pain, tightness and spasms caused by a recent fall, yields to the hot fluid’s power and weightlessness. Fear of aggravating bruised areas and further insulting my bones and muscles, I carefully go through the motions again - and again. Soon, I feel at one with the water and the night, and a peaceful quiet fills me and my work is finished.

I hesitantly leave my incubator and step into the cold snow, aware of how I have insulated my body. Unlike some of my grandchildren, who might like to roll in the snow, I leave my sanctuary and the quiet night, to go quickly indoors. For an hour after my indulgence, I feel the heat of the water that had wrapped me. And as I move under flannelette layers to sleep, I think how God gives us a covering of peace, comforts us in the most trying times of our life, saturates us with love and confidence and envelopes our hurts and wounds. God insulates us in the challenges of life, long after we are aware.

Donna Mann

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