The fragrance of April Fresh wafts from the jumble of warm towels next to me. I smile as I watch two robins scuffle in the front yard. I pull out a sage green towel, pinch two corners together, fold the length in half two corners to four, fold again and smooth on stacked pile. When I’m done with these, I’ll make a cup of tea and curl up with The Heart Aroused, write my late post(s). The day stretches before me.
Then the Droid squawks.
“Don’t panic yet,” she texts. “We’re at the ER. I will let you know what’s going on as soon as I know anything.”
She attaches a gruesome picture of my dad’s battered face.
She sends photos of blood pools on the sidewalk and ramp and smears on brick.
There follows a flurry of texts and phone calls, and then he’s in an ambulance heading for Petoskey while we try to figure out how he fell because he doesn’t even remember being outside.
Here we go again.
Oh please, no. Not again.
My head spins like the washing machine, and I’m shaking like someone who’s been out too long on a bitter winter day. I pray for a clear head as I try to pack (for how long?), pay bills I planned to pay tomorrow, and organize the family before I start the familiar three-hour drive north and then another hour to the hospital.
We know it too well.
But I spend only one night dozing in a folding chair (Sissy spends two), and he is discharged without need for surgery.
That’s how I find myself bedded down on the couch (I think there’s a board under the cushions) while my dad tosses and turns on the floor (his usually sleeping spot) with his head crushed against the TV stand. And my approach to Holy Week is filled with an all-night television strobe and NCIS at full volume.
So instead of sitting in a pew with my husband and being swept up in orchestral praise, I’m watching my sister’s boss, the Bishop, give a taped Palm Sunday homily on channel 3.
This one who walked with us through my mom’s illness broke his leg on a recent visit to Rome. And now walks with her walker. I see it there next to him.
He speaks of humility.
Of learning how to be served.
Of learning how to serve.
Of Jesus who served.
He speaks of walking the way of the cross.
I draw my knees up pinch the corners of my red quillow to my chin.
This life, it never stacks into a neat pile. It’s jumbled up, and it’s hard, and it’s often messy and smelly, and it never goes according to our plan.
It’s a crossed life, a blood-stained life, He calls us to.
A daily journey through the dust to Golgotha in our own brokenness, but He travels with us.
It’s a here-we-go-again life.
And there’s a robin in the yard.