Friday, January 9, 2009

If You Say So

Look at the stars, my pastor says. Just like God said to Abraham, look at the stars and what does God have for you, ask Him what does He have for you.


I close my eyes, and the light shines through my eyelids, and someone coughs and a baby stirs, and God says, JOY. For you, Rebecca, I promise you joy.




Not what I was expecting, nor what I would have asked for, but okay. I look around, everyone elses's eyes are still closed.  It seems incongruent, here ya go, three ailing children, lots of stress and JOY! Yea. Thanks.

 The next week a different pastor is speaking, and I am distracted, looking out at the snow, worried about Jude and how he is tolerating his latest antiseizure medicine. I am snapped awake at the sermon title.


 I smile to myself and look again at the snow. The city looks so clean right after it snows, for a little while, anyway.


Joy, says the pastor, is not something so far off that we have to look forward to. It is something we can practice, walk in., embrace. Joy is something we can choose, for it is always right there, waiting.


Okay, I get it. And when I get home there it is tickle time, all three boys and Dad piled on the rug, screaming with laughter, the house a wreck, and all the coffee is gone.


Joy. Okay. I can do that. And I step over the pile of shrieking elbows and legs to make some coffee. Today, I think, I will practice me some joy.


I am waiting quietly with my hands folded, watching as a toddler sleeps, waiting for the short bus as it winds through dirty streets and sitting in waiting rooms with magazines and paper cups with bad coffee on a cold, cold day. Not saying what you really need to hear and waiting for you to come to it, the truth I see so plain. I am joy right  now, wishing for later, waiting waiting waiting. Waiting is a dream, plowing hard rocky land and patting it down again, watching, waiting for rain and taking a long, deep breath and waiting again. I am silent and unrequited. I do not move.


Love is a vigil, old hands and a disinfectant smell and pants that used to fit, and a filing of memories good and bad, no I will not forget they are right here in my pocket and I promise to take them out once in awhile so you do not disappear. I am here and I do not move, I do not forget and I am waiting, waiting for you to speak, to walk, to come to your senses, to take flight, waiting for you to die. When you are gone you will wait for me, with longing, with love.


I am love, I do not sway. I breathe, I wait, I watch. I do not disappear.