Rita Meyer: Longtime columnist returns to writing roots

If you were a reader of “The St. Cloud Visitor” some 10 years ago, you might remember my monthly column called “From the Home Front.” It was largely about my joys, struggles, revelations and sometimes humorous experiences of being a young mom. Now that I’m an old(er) mom, I still feel like I’m trying to figure out where the user’s manual is on this motherhood thing.

In the years since leaving the Visitor, many readers have told me they miss my column. One person remembered, “I could totally relate to what you were going through,” and another commented, “You brought such joy and humor to my days,” and “I always loved reading about your kids.” What probably meant the most, though, was when a friend said, “You had a way of sharing how you lived your life in the trenches doing the Lord’s work, one messy diaper at a time.”

My kids are pretty much grown up now. Well, Miranda’s a junior at Saint John’s Prep so we’re not facing the empty nest syndrome just yet. As a matter of fact, we aren’t facing an empty house anytime soon as we — my husband, Marv, and I — currently have all three girls living under the same roof. It’s not anything I would have ever imagined, but I love it. I’m not saying it doesn’t come with a few new challenges, but overall, it’s great.

So why do I want to return to writing a column about my family and motherhood and life in Stearns County? Because writing forces me to put my thoughts into words, words into sentences and sentences into stories. When I write, I think more clearly. I feel better. I like me and I like life more. I don’t feel as if I am on such a continuous hamster wheel; I can reflect upon and record what has happened, how I felt, the way the Lord showed me his presence in sometimes the most mundane (or stressful) circumstances.

And the Lord has been showing me his presence more and more lately. Or, more accurately, I’ve been noticing it because I’ve been paying attention. For example, I witnessed the most incredible aurora borealis — more commonly known as Northern Lights — this winter for the first time ever. I intentionally got up early to go for a walk down our gravel road because the possibility of seeing them was high. I’ve done that before with no luck, so I wasn’t totally optimistic that it would actually happen. And, for the first half hour, nothing did. There was nothing special except that it was a clear sky. So, I turned around and headed back home. And that’s when I saw them. Green and purple streaks dancing in the northern sky. And they just kept dancing. And I thought, “Gosh God, you are so incredible. Thank you for this sight.” And then I thought, “I’ve gotta share this with Marv.” So, I started running. But I don’t run anymore because of a neuropathy issue with my right foot. So, the running didn’t last long before I had to go back to walking as fast as I could, watching the light show the whole time. Unfortunately, by the time I got back to the house, it was pretty much over.

That experience is the kind of thing I want to share with you. Like the bald eagle I saw in the tree yesterday. I swear he was looking right at me! Or the love and sense of accomplishment I felt in a friend’s hug last week after we led a prayer service at church. Or the outpouring of gratitude extended to me when I sent food over to the house of a dying neighbor.

My latest Divine Intervention involved two very large, very loud, and very hungry-looking German shepherds. I bike a lot. Living between the Lake Wobegon Trail to the North and the Dairyland Trail to the South, I am in a prime spot for safe and scenic rides. However, our farm is situated along State Highway 4, so unless I trailer my bike and start from a trailhead, I first need to bike to either trail to get started. I do it but with a lot of safety precautions, namely, a helmet, a reflective vest and a flashing light on the backseat of my bike to warn drivers of my presence. However, there are certain roads that I avoid for a different reason — dogs. I do not care for dogs barking at me or viewing my calves as their next meal. There is one road in particular where I have thought, “If those dogs ever get off their chains or out of their kennel, I’m a goner.”

So today as I biked past the point where the barking always starts – the minute they can spot me from their kennel – and didn’t see or hear anything I thought, Wonderful. They’re not around. I’m in the clear. But my relief was short-lived. Very short lived. There they were — my two not-so-favorite German shepherds. “But it’s ok, Rita, I told myself, they’re chained up. You’re safe.” Again, very short-lived relief as I couldn’t believe what happened next. They came right at me. They were not chained up. They were barking and bounding. I was certain I was going to lose a leg very soon as one came on either side of my bike. I did the only thing that has worked in the past — pedal like crazy and use my most authoritative voice while yelling, “Go home. Go home! Go home!”

Like I said, it had to be divine intervention because I got out of there without losing a limb or going into cardiac arrest from fright.

I hope you’ll re-enter my simple (although sometimes it feels anything but) world and journey alongside me again as I try to decipher his will for my life and to act upon it.

By Rita Meyer

Rita Meyer is married and the mother of four children. She and her family are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Meire Grove. 

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Author: The Central Minnesota Catholic

The Central Minnesota Catholic is the magazine for the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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