Friday, April 5, 2013

If You Want to Make God Smile,

It was close to 0300 when I climbed from bed. My sleep had been fitful and I had a taste, like sand, in my mouth and my shoulders ached. Standard procedure. Her side of the bed was empty. I threw on my robe and explored the house.

Our house is fairly large and there are many places to hide. I was worried for her. I checked the usual places and finally walked to the other side of the house and down the east wing. At the very end of the hall at the door of what we refer to as the antique room issued forth a soft toned voice.

I stood and listened. More clearly than her was the music of rain and our windchimes. For just a second I felt guilty I'd forced our old cat to spend the night outdoors. Finally, I placed my hand on the door and pushed.

I peeked inside and she was curled on the bed. The only light issued from a small night light I keep in all rooms of our house. She sensed rather than heard me and turned, flipped her long hair away from her face and her tears became visible. She smiled and held out the cell phone and mouthed the word, mother.

I made the sign of the cross.

I turned to leave, walked back to our family room and took a seat to wait the outcome. I lowered my head and listened to the rain and the owls. Some little something way back in the recesses of my mind told me to get ready.

She walked into the room, wet faced.

She tilts her pretty face at me, smiles gently, then said, "She's old, Honey. She has no family left around her and I need her. (And here she firms her shoulders, looks away and with determination continued.) So this Sunday, after church, I'm driving to Georgia and bringing my mother home to live with us."

The house is silent. In three hours I need to dress in order to take on another day of labor and I don't feel good and I quickly mentally inventory my stash of sleep medications. Far off, thunder.

I had to try. "Didn't you consider my thoughts"

"Please, Sweetheart. I need her, and she'd old and sick and lonely."

My wife's siblings are far flung, different states. We do not, as they say, get along. I'm former military, an outdoorsman, shooter. Even though the Lord and I have an understanding, I'm not extremely religious. I do believe in my Lord and Savior but her brothers and sister, as a standing rule, keep the Bible tucked under their arms as they follow their daily routines. They shun weapons. Her brothers, well, prance. They can't even bait a hook for goodness sake. We argue.

With this in mind, if we have her mother in residence, I could envision our home as the newest Motel 6. Not gonna happen.

Our prior plans were to drive north, later this month, and collect her mother for a trip to Atlanta  The old girl has surgery scheduled at Emory, a routine procedure on her eye, and I was fine with the plans. But this, to move her into my home for the rest of the month (And, probably afterwards.) doesn't set well with me. I like my routine, my peace.

So we both sat and listened to the rain. Her stoic  Me, quick little glances her's the tears don't 'ya know, the tears. Here's a woman, the love of my life, that has had to deal with the loss of her only son and both of her grandchildren. A woman as sweet as the world to others that sat by my bedside as the doctors whispered in her ear I had about four hours to live. (I made liars of them, by the way.) Those tears melted my heart.

If you want to make God smile, whisper to him your plans.