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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Yellow Therapy Dog

Something about the perfectly still leaves above me this evening. It’s a late night for yellow dog and me. I brought her home from the pound four months ago as a therapy dog. Not for me.

Not for me?? No. I’m just the one who has trained her to sit, lay, stay, heel, come. And to curb her retriever enthusiasm enough to walk lady like through the back door after adrenaline pumping squirrel chases. And to greet guests at front door politely. No jumping and romping with them as if they were a litter of puppies come to visit her.

I am also the one who greets her in the morning and waits for her beneath limb and leaf, living canopy and fluttering veil. Breathing in air morning fresh and night charged. Feeling on skin first light, night light, air breathing sleepy or panting fast in wind chase. Or held.

Pieces of the moon are framed tonight. Fragments displayed twiggy and leafy. Yellow dog disappears in shadows on far side of fence. I squint through the darkness then peer, searching framed moon. Really I’m not sure why. But my heart is responding to something. And I want to know, before God and moon, what it is. What is empty frame inside me? I hold my breath and talk to God. Is He holding His breath, too? He Who is so full??

And there is quiet glow. Framed light fractioned out above me and quilting the lawn. Patches of moon shadow-stitched. It’s bed time, but I’m not ready to pull the covers up. Something in me is waking up.

Still as all is, the air vibrates alive. Katydids sing burry, wings strum and shake out ch-ch-ch rhythm. Obby-hummy whirr thrums long and legato frog song. I close my eyes and let it all wash serenade and peace-song over me.

A pastor once overlaid sound tracks of stars humming, trees clapping, insect song and whale song. My youngest daughter heard it on u-tube after school. Amazed. I had wanted to listen to it myself.

And I am. Right now. All is orchestra praise beneath my tree.

I fill my lungs with air and sound and stillness and vibration. Pieces of moon fit my heart. A fragmented mural of frames. Scenes from the past. Thoughts, memories, feelings.

And it makes no sense to me that though I know the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, the shadows have been stitched into a quilt fit for my soul to rest beneath, I don’t feel it. My nerve endings remember currents shocking before they remember soft touches. My emotions still pound out adrenaline before I can think straight. Dis-eased past infects before I can get out the ointment. My heart still beats out cacophony at the first down-beat by memory before it can hear the melody. But here it is. All long thrum and rhythmic strum. Hush, burr, and vibration.

And I will my heart to memorize this song.

And there it is. Something in the stillness to do with memories. Ohh…

“Help me, God,” I whisper low on paved patio where I hear the song, “Help me to remember what to remember and to remember what to forget.”

The answer came as the question fell up into the night praise. It came in pieces.



as frames…

or joy.

Count them and you will be counting joy where you thought there was none.”
(ref. James 1:2)

Beautiful frame.


give thanks…

at the remembrance,

yes…at the remembrance…

Of My Holy Name.”
(ref. Psalm 30:4)

It’s not a pep talk.

It doesn’t come easy.

It’s shadow-stitched. Framed in fragments.

Right now is moon in still frames. Night glow captured and shadow-stitched, and patched in soft quilt spread over backyard grass. If I lay down in the grass, this moon cast quilt would cover me. I would be covered in patchwork of moonlight. Patchwork. Shadow-stitch.

And at patio edge I am at edge of awe. It is laid out before me right there on my lawn. And I would see it again covering garden floor outside my kitchen window. And again cast over wood wall of fence, and trunk and stone path and patio. Sun cast. Rippling in the wind as if clipped to a clothes line, drying out from night dew. It’s the same quilt. Light patches shadow stitched.

I pick up sponge at sink today, seeing quilt through the window. Sponge expands in my hand beneath faucet flow. And fills it. And what is this familiar feeling? My heart knows it. Heart has held it in hand. Heavy memories. Soaked sponge. Sopping up light. I squeeze sponge hard.

I hang my heart out on the line. Clip it there til dewy pain that cried in the night, dries. Let it flutter its rhythm there til damp shadows pull back. Til past and present “whenever” all sorts of “whatever” trials, recede. Become only frame. Only stitch. Only reference for light.

Isn’t that what shadows are? Wasn’t the cross wooden frame displaying the Light of the world? Doesn’t the cross shadow stitch together mourning and dancing? Patchwork weeping to joy? Pain to healing? Trials to faith? Past to present? Death to life?

I’m seeing it everywhere now. It is the pattern cast over all earth from heaven, all time from eternity, all galaxie-spun universe from Quilter’s hand. And what about this? Quilter’s hand has stitched in my small brain as many neurons as stars in the Milky Way. And whatever memories are shadow, they are stitched to display light patch worked. And what memories are pin pricks of star, let me remember that some stars are trillions of miles in diameter. It’s all fluttering alive quilt billowing over me.

And it is kind soul therapy for me. Simply that. The moon is kind light in darkness. The squeezing is kind. Heart hanging out to dry, sun cast shadow, quilt, frame.


I pray the word, “Kind.” Repentant-like.

I climb beneath quilt beside my husband. Heart full of kind. And repentance.

I fall asleep while my heart finds frame for “kind.” And it is being framed.
In fragments to fit my heart.

But something else is happening with this. Another frame. Because “kind” is collaged with “joy.” It can’t be helped. Joy is the canvas and music of God’s heart. It is all living art, mural, collage, sound tracks, full orchestra and song.

And oh, I am reaching long across His theraputic heart. All God heart framed in cross. Light nailed down. Cross shadow. Quilted long stitches running through past. Needling and pricking through present. Stitching needle. Piercing nail. Quilt. Frame. I reach to pull it all up over.

And I settle here remembering to give thanks at the remembrance of His Holy name. I might forget tomorrow. Probably will. But the quilt is always outside my window and beneath tree. And the cross has never stopped framing the Light.

He is answering my prayer. Framing light. Stitching light. Cross and quilt. And, yes, even yellow therapy dog. For me after all. 

written by: Carolyn Roehrig



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