Every morning I wake to the same list. Some mornings it's a list of laughter and joy, other mornings it's just The List. Only a list like yesterday's list. Today was one of those days. A burden-of-The-List day. I rolled over against the stripes of light trying to rake me out of bed.
It didn't work. It never works.
I've been struggling lately between the items on The List. To find the time, the space, the mental depth, the funny that courses through this life and to write about it. I crave it, though. In the heart-beats of two short years, this trifle of mine has become both life-line and love affair. It's opened doors, hearts, conversations. It's opened my very eyes. But often as I stand on this pretty front porch, I feel a guilt that hints at self-indulgence and tries to convince me to board up this part of my life like a summer cottage meant for another season - a season gone by and perhaps one that is to come - but not this season.
And so I prayed this morning into the whitening grey, It's me again, God. Please give me the strength and patience to take care of this family today. Just for today. We'll worry about tomorrow tomorrow. And You know, I think you must not want me to write anymore. Do You? We can talk about that later, I guess. But anyway, about today, God. Just help me get through today and do the right things for my family. Oh yeah -- Amen.
The kids woke up and the coffee brewed and Al, at the door and stepping into his shoes, handed me a FedEx slip.
I signed us up for the Fruit of the Month Club for your birthday. The first shipment should come today. If you go out, put this on the front door.
(The Fruit of the Month Club? Oka-aaaa-aay.)
Two hours later, an email arrived in my in-box, heralded by the same musical flourish that signals the delivery of e-bills and friend-and-family-discounts at Macy's and the million other mundane messages I get each day, but I looked at the sender's name and the title of the message and I knew -- this one was special. And it was. A long-time reader who's never commented here had taken the time to write and let me know that the sometimes-painful words I've written about Peabody and my new life as a mother of two have helped her through her new son's first months -- have saved her self-esteem as a new mother. She thanked me.
And through many tears I emailed her my own gratitude.
Minutes later, the doorbell rang. The fruit of the month? An apple.
He's proud of what I do, Al wrote in the enclosed note. The posts I've written about his mother have gotten him through the toughest parts of his grief, he told me when I called to thank him.
God isn't my fairy godmother; I know this. He answers prayers in His way, in His time. Lately, and on a particular issue of mine, His time has lagged significantly behind mine, despite my begging and pleading and whining and crying and use of colorful language to make sure He's fully aware how angry I am and tired of waiting for His answer. One day I'll look back and know He was right, as always. He was right to make me wait. He had lessons to teach me, fires to refine me, a bit of suffering to draw me closer. I know this, too.
This question, though, asked as a second thought at dawn? He answered before noon.
And I will keep writing, for her (for you), for my husband, for my Father.
I will keep writing.