There is a story that needs telling, and you all have been waiting. I have been finding tiny spots of time to scribble it out long hand, and now, I begin. There are many more stories to be had over here– make sure to have a tissue or two handy. So often He sings love songs over us. Now it is time we sing love songs over Him. Soli deo gloria.
His eyes are green, flecked with gold. He has a swirl of hair that curls over his right temple, gray quietly knitted through.
James has a smile that cracks first from right corner, spreading slowly to left. The smile usually develops into a half moon and then disappears behind a cloud of tired exhaustion. Right now, though, it is full fledged, ear to ear, nearly wrapping around his head as he laughs, full and long and loud.
I forget why. I just laugh along with him.
At that odd moment, the thin reedy voice of the nun from Sister Act whispers through my consciousness…”I will follow Him, I will follow Him wherever He may go”… I begin to laugh so hard that my laugh becomes nearly soundless. A muffled snort escapes my lips and James’ eyes pop with glee at my embarrassment. Because isn’t it funny, the pop tune turned worship, sung by a nun who’s ninety three, whose voice imprints on this jolly moment with my beloved?
Exhaustion can make anything funny…we are soon guffawing at who knows what till the tears fall and we grin at each other, breath coming in short bursts, like a train desperately trying to make the hill.
It is only later in the dark watches of night, bed empty beside me, that the song comes whispering back.
I turn it over in my mind, laughing at the convoluted plot line and cheesy nineties shtick of the movie, thinking of all the old tunes that sound like nails on chalkboard, horribly redone at least once a decade by a star desperate for a little glimmer. I glance out the window at the full moon, the cut glass sparkle of the snow pestering through curtain, taunting. The wind rushes by a corner of the house and the siding pops, smack crack, smack crack.
I toss over again, blindly pulling at blanket caught knotted around my legs. The jaws snap and I am fully awake, absorbed by the fetid, churlsome scent of the beast, desperately gasping at air. This dark one and I, we have danced late night tangos and early morning duets, much against my will. But as the hours turn long I relax into the embrace, caught up in the power of the whispers, ravished.
I am humming the Sister’s ditty, and I cling to it as if to a lifeline. I will follow Him. I will follow Him wherever He may go. There isn’t a valley too deep, a mountain so high it could keep…
…it echoes off into the slate gray of silence.
A rush of air curls around shoulder. “You may follow, but will He come? You know how these things go, my dear.” The voice sits upon the “dear” with a condescending tone, curled in question.
Memories cascade through consciousness, a flood rushing onslaught against my feeble sandbagging attempts, whispered protest.
“It’s not true. He has come. He has dwelt with us. He has provided -”
” Oh poppycock and horseradish. What about all the times He didn’t show His face? Do you really think? Do you really think that He will?”
I stop. Another deep inhale of breath. I listen close to the sounds of my children sleeping around me, finding my breath in their own, willing that my heart will stop this dreadful booming and thudding in my ears. I pull pillow over head, as if that would stop the cruel taunting voice echoing in my thoughts. Time crawls by. I can hear the strange trill of the refrigerator as it makes more ice.
The minutes stretch long and lean, and I am caught in wordless prayer, retreating into the inner sanctum where no beast may hang claw.
The metallic clang of the storm door swings, tumbled lock responds to key, and I hear my beloved.
” We are not through. Make no mistake.” He glowers in corner vehemently eyeing my husband as he passes and then slips through the door, rubber shod foot falls heard by no one but me.
My beloved comes to my side of the bed, reaches down, murmurs softly of his love. I drink in the scent of tractor grease and paint, the faint clean smell of our lavender detergent, the loamy smell of the country that defines so much of who he is, and my heart pounds softer and softer in my ears, slowing to gentle cadence.
He is home.
I curl in arm, drink of his warmth, and slip closer to the edge of sleep. As the mist falls, Another whispers an Everlasting love.
Morning will come. It always does. The visitor waits.
To read part two: Morning Has Broken.
To read part three: Redemption.