A Walk


Last Wednesday Eric got off work early and about as soon as he passed the threshold of the doorstep, I was whizzing by him throwing the peace sign over my shoulder. It had been a long day but, let's face it, it's just a long life.

I walk through our neighborhood, this place at once so dear yet so foreign to me. It hasn't lost its newness yet, and I both love and hate that. The beauty hasn't become ordinary, but I also can't wander long without double checking street signs and taking a few extra right turns.  I'm craving the day that my feet instinctively take me where I want to go.

I meet a parishoner on the sidewalk, a delightful woman who introduced herself at church only the week before.  She has short gray hair, a graceful gait, and an easy way about her.  She has a canvas bag slung over her shoulder, running errands in her sneakers and I love her for it.  I can't help but think of how I wish she would take me home with her, let me curl up on her couch with a mug of tea and cry on her shoulder about how hard it is to be a mother.

I don't even know her last name.

This change has worn us, and we were already a bit threadbare on the bottom. But I know we won't rip; that's not what we do. We sew on another patch and we trust God to keep on with the weaving. He works, night and day, and sometimes it feels like unraveling but I've long come to accept that His fingers are more skilled than my own.

I walk downtown and I could cry for its perfection.  I stroll by the kinds of stores that are owned by a husband and wife, the kind that all have a cat living in them.  I stop for one in a window, bending and tapping and meowing like a fool and the thing never even turns his head.  Damn cat.  A train roars by and I think how my sons will be sorry to have missed it (though we were there that morning and caught one then). A father bikes by with his teenage daughter with Downs, her own bike bedecked with ISU steamers on the basket, and I love them for crossing my path.  Yet I think of how hard the father's life must be: the worries and fears and heartache mixed with the fearsome raging love, pride, and joy. They remind me of us, somehow, in their not-quite-fitting-ness and I feel it, all of it a little bit more.

I buy an iced coffee and a brownie and I sit down on the curb, stretch out my legs in the sun.  I don't write much lately because it's all just too hard and what can you say about that?  But for this hour I'm alone and the sun is warm and the world is beautiful so I pick up my phone and I write what I've seen.  And so you have this post, which is silly and pointless except that it's not: it's the most pointed thing I've known all week.

Someday, the light will shine like a sun through my skin & they will say, 'what have you done with your life?' & though there are many moments I think I'll remember, in the end, I will be proud to say, I was one of us.

(Brian Andreas, Storypeople)