Saturday, October 5, 2013

Two Chairs And An Ottoman

  The last of our mother-daughter laundry has long since been whirled, spun, folded neatly, and dirtied again; the clinging scent of campfire left us weeks and weeks ago. In the days since our return, normal has set in and almost without lull, life just keeps moving us forward to next things—a gifted trip out of town for my husband; a thirteenth birthday for my oldest; hints of turning leaves, shorter days, and new routines with home-school friends. But there are some things from our time away that adhere to me still, like the red dust that lingers on our car from the washboard Forest Service roads we returned home on. I've wanted to dismiss them as elementary—these words about promises and knocking on doors—but like that fine coating of earth, it's a theme that won't go away and every time I disturb it, it rises and falls again, covering me.

Back in April it was the over use of our West Coast voices in a Middle America time zone that served as catalyst to my first light-bulb moment. We'd been tucked tightly into fireside chatter, dreaming what-ifs and nodding our heads, marveling with new friends over different-but-the-same. The first hints of too-late were coming and we had not even realized it yet, really, until a jammy clad sleeper wandered into the hall, almost apologetically, to see if maybe we could take it down just a notch.

It was bed time; she was right. We had been warm and full, sedated from another course of rich conversation, but it was definitely time. My roommate was practically tucking herself into bed covers before the heavy dorm-room door could close behind us. A habitual locker of locks myself, I reached behind me to secure the doorknob and  pulled it tight.  With one eye open she gave me a slight warning about her heavy sleeping and reminded me that she'd be wearing headphones if I locked myself out of the room that we had no key for. We joked that my next blog post would be about having to sleep in the hall, but I assured her that I was not going anywhere.

I fell asleep immediately but was unfortunate to have overlooked two other things I've become known for:

1) I eat lots of ice which, though in its superior form, is still just water.
2) I've had lots of babies. 

These two factors combined, make for often inconveniently timed trips to the bathroom, and as you are probably already guessing, this would prove to be one of those times.

The location of those bathrooms? Out the door and down the hall, and I didn't even have to unlock the door to get there.

Not until I was standing directly in front our room again did I have any memory of my roommate's cautionary words, but I knew then that I could beat at those doors, waking our entire wing, and my friend would still not hear me; I never had reason to doubt her.

So, back to the fireplace I went, happy to at least have pants on. I gathered two lounge chairs first, then an ottoman, and lined them up facing each other--chair, ottoman, chair--thankful too, for the ability to sleep almost anywhere, because it looked as if that is what I'd be doing.

This time though, I couldn't get comfortable. That too loud voice from earlier had said to-heck-with-time-zones and took up its chattering in my head.

"You never knock anymore."


"No, you never do. You disguise your disbelief in shades of feigned contentment or waiting, but you stopped knocking long ago. You're afraid you won't be heard-- that you'll knock and no one will be there to answer."

And I had no rebuttal because it was true.  My belief had been grounded, fine and powdery, by consecutive years of no let-up, and now my faith had only slightly more substance to it than my doubt. 

But it hadn't always been this way

I knew courage once-- the kind that keeps knocking through the fear of disappointment and doubt that the person on the other side even knows you're there-- and I wanted to know it again.

I wanted to walk brave again, trusting that God would hear me.

There has been a lot of stirring going on in my heart during this long writing absence of mine and I just wanted to share a bit about the journey I've been on. There's more. Come back for part two?

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