February 4, 2020
The teal seats are new and springy and firm. Yet, I sit on the edge, at attention. There are four identical arm chairs with rectangular, cross-stitched pillows in place of back cushions. All seated around a wide, round, marble-top coffee table. It’s amazing how comfortable churches have become. Not like the rigid, wood pews and brown metal folding chairs I remember as a child.
I have a cup of Publix beef and bean chili cupped in my curved palm, lego-man style, perfect C-shape.
It’s the night I’ve been gifted by Keith.
“Go to your meeting, babe. I’ve got this.”
He always says, “I’ve got this.”
Even when he doesn’t.
I think of his tired, red-rimmed eyes and ingratiating smile. The way he takes on the world and jumps cannonball wild into everything that involves him loving me. I look down at the L-shaped chili stains on my paper. Compliments of the crook of my pinkie finger dragging itself across the page as I write, unaware of the dab of chili coating.
The gift of time, one night – two weeks in a row. It’s a messy life. Chili stains and a rushed rendezvous with Publix, calls about caregivers who keep leaving early, emails from teachers about my class-clown of a son – demanding conferences at extremely impossible times.
And I realize how lucky I am to have it, how fortunate I am to have a night to rush around to make a meeting. A night to myself after a long day of constant 4th grade egos. The messiness of my life teaching me to love the smooth roads and gentle curves when they come my way. And a heart full of gratitude for the people I love who give me that grace.