The kids are sacked out, all over the house. Rain drips from the eaves and for a while, I’m alone in my thoughts. All day, I’ve been wondering which words to use, which moment to try to paint for you here.
I lean towards light and time and gifts named, wanting to paint something pretty, but as I sit here, by the window, where light filters in gray, God whispers into my space.
I hear Him as though He is shouting, and so I begin…
I could hear the mugs clinking in the sink and laughter streaming from the kitchen in the back of the house, as a small handful of women ran water over the dirty dishes.
She stood in the front room, her arms holding her books, and I saw more of her than she wanted me to see. More than she wanted any of us to see, really.
“I’m so sorry this is a hard time for you,” I said. Lame. I knew it as soon as it came out of my mouth.
“I’m miserable,” she cried, tears rolling down her face. She wiped her face and I listened. “I’ve been keeping it inside and now that I’ve said it, I think it makes it real. I think I’m depressed. This study is hard for me. All of you are giving thanks and I can’t give thanks right now.” She peeled off layers of her heart faster than I could pick them up.
Women passed through our space, coming and going and as she cried, laughter bounced off the walls in other parts of the house. The front door creaked continually and there we stood, alone, in the middle of all the happy noise.
She paused and I moved in with lots of words. I quickly filled the quiet with bits of my story and I smiled.
“I’ve spent the last year of my life walking the road that you’re walking right now,” I said. “I can’t fix this for you, but I can walk with you through it. I can listen and hand you a tissue, but this is God’s work in your life. It’s pretty horrible isn’t it?’ I grinned at her again.
“I hate it,” she said, this time with a half-smile.
And I laughed at her. Only because I now stand, on the other end of a year of my own tears.
The children stir around me and it’s time for a snack. My quiet is over and I need to close, but somehow I feel as though this conversation isn’t over. I replay this moment with my friend over and over, and this one thing stands out.
To receive a gift the knees must bend humble and the hand must lie vulnerably open and the will must bow to accept whatever the Giver chooses to give. Ann Voskamp