Light illuminates leaves like fireflies on sticks behind sheets in morning light and my eyes fall in love with this glow. The breeze filters through my window screen, wraps her hands around my shoulders while I sit at my desk.
An early gift of spring, it warms up the empty spaces in the house. We turn on the air when the brow sweats. Discover that what usually blows on us comfortable, dies under blanket of winter.
When the man with the white beard and shiny head asks how to get to the attic, he walks through the door cautious, asks if any pets lurk behind doors, around corners. I tell him no, not since January. He stops, turns around and a drain unplugs to pooling thoughts lying stagnant in his mind since last week. They flow in a steady stream all over the space in my webby garage.
He explains that while his wife walks on cobblestones in England, he stays behind with their new puppy. How fifteen years earlier their dog dies in a heap on his leg, on vacation in another state, and they wait all this time to get another.
He pulls on the string to extract the ladder from the attic and says, “Well maybe I shouldn’t burden you with this story.”
I tell him to go on.
“The puppy likes to play with the broom,” he says, “and I let him out, take the opportunity to sweep the floors because I want to keep things nice for my wife while she is gone. When I look up from the floor, through the open front door, I see him run into the road and collide with a car.”
He hasn’t told his wife. Doesn’t want to ruin her trip. But the grief, it hangs on him like sweat he can’t wash off.
The words tell the story he writes script in his head for days now. He’s memorized his part, the lines he will say to her when he picks her up at the airport on Monday.
“It’s not your fault you know,” I tell him. “I can tell you have been replaying what you saw like it might change something.”
And I think about Winston, the way he stopped breathing two months ago. How I twirled the hair on his ear between my fingers while I talked teary to the doctor, long after he passed. I can’t stop thinking about how we left him lying on a cold metal table in a smelly room that morning and went on living.
“If I would have looked up just ten seconds earlier,” he regrets.
Maybe we think time is our servant with whom we give orders. If we could change the menu of time, life might wrap her arm around us on the couch instead of slapping us in the face with regret.
That if we hit the replay button enough times in our mind, she will magically conform to our image of the way she should serve us.
Like the way Mary watched her son’s hands and feet bleed from the nails driven into His flesh, so you and I, we don’t have to be shackled prisoner to sin. I imagine, she might have replayed those moments and asked time to serve her differently too.
How altered our lives would be, if time granted her request.
And just like spring showing up with all her resurrected glory before we put the blankets away, sometimes we can’t understand the holiness of time’s story. The way she does her work, speaks in a language only known to the one who created her.
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
1 Peter 1:20 ESV
May I whisper a surprise ending here? I just got a call from the workman and he shut his office door to tell me this: After all the prayers and worries about how he would share this news with his wife, the first thing she asked him, after she got off the airplane was, “Is the puppy dead.” Her spirit already knew what he was so worried to tell her. Amazing grace my friends, amazing grace.
Linking with these friends on Holy Wednesday and Maundy Thursday.