Dearest one and I wandered together from place to place in town yesterday. At one point we found ourselves in a furniture store visiting with our bishop. Deep in conversation, we were brought back to reality by the salesperson inquiring if she could help us. Oh, right, we're not in a living room in our house, we're in a living room in a store. With that there were hugs all around and the bishop went his way while we continued ours.
We were passing the time in town, waiting to go to a wedding reception for one of our nieces in the evening. Wow. Get several hundred people together sharing food and fellowship and the noise level is overwhelming. In the midst of the cacophony we were able to connect with people we haven't seen for a few years. Sometimes I'm very aware of the twists and turns my spiritual life has taken as I sit among women whose hair is covered and whose dress is modest and feminine. At one point in my journey I sat among them in similar attire. Occasionally one of them asks me if my spiritual journey is the poorer for the lack of it. A wordy explanation is pointless. With my styled hair, dangling ear rings and blue jeans I can only smile and tell them no. I will always, however, have a special spot in my heart for that period of my life. It taught me much about myself and others. It's helped form me to be who I am today. When worn in simplicity and pureness of heart, I continue to see a head covering as beautiful. That period of my life was one of gross manipulation though, so simplicity and purity of heart were not part of my story. I desperately wanted them to be, but intention and reality are two different things.
Eventually dearest one and I made our way through the crowd and back to comfort of our car. As we drove home we talked about the highlight of our day. The best part for me was sitting in the food court with dearest one. He gave me the angel in the photo above, an angel of hope, and a card that brought tears to my eyes. Then he looked at me and said, "You've been doing a lot of hard inner work lately." We reached for each other's hand across the table, our eyes communicating the words that were stuck in our throats.
Dearest one must have run into a dozen people during the course of the day who he knew from somewhere (not counting the gazillion relatives at the wedding reception). In the mall there was the man he drove truck with, at the library -someone he worked with at a hospital. At the restaurant someone else was a patient's wife from long ago. At the reception last night I met a woman who was at oldest son's wedding this past summer. She talked about getting to know oldest son and how her and her elderly husband observed how he treated his love with respect. I imagined them watching out their living room window seeing him open her car door, or just the sensitive way he has of showing he cares. I looked at her and said, "He learned it from his dad." We then talked about our menfolk and how one of the dominant traits in the men of dearest one's family is their tenderheartedness. She nodded in agreement and then told me her husband was like that, too.
As dearest one made his way towards me in the furniture store yesterday one of the sales people turned to me and said, "Your husband is an incredible person." Turns out dearest one had nursed her father as he was dying. There is a sacredness to sharing this part of a family's journey that dearest one holds in his heart. I looked at the grief lingering in her eyes and said gently, "yes, he is."
Remember how cynical I was the other day when I heard this song playing on the radio? Wait a few minutes, hours, days and my attitude might change. After all, there is always hope. As I wrap up this post the song is playing on the radio again. It's been a few days of that kind of tenderness around here and it's a balm to my healing heart. Thanks be to God.