Friday, July 27, 2012
something to say grace over
i wasn’t sure if i was supposed to provide them lunch. the movers have been here for several days this week and i knew to offer water bottles and sweet tea, but what about lunch? not to mention, i was a little frustrated with the moving company. you see, there was "a miscommunication." i flew back from minnesota on tuesday morning in order to meet the packers at my home. i flew back with a ticket change, a wrong flight time, a delay, forgotten keys and a rental car fiasco. (long story). i flew back from leaving emily and tyler alone (well, sort of) in minnesota. we had gone up this past weekend in order for them to take part in their pre-season sports camps. thought it sounded like a good idea to help them get their foot in the door before high school. i left them with rick at 5:30 am tuesday morning, and i flew home a day earlier than planned, because the moving company had insisted they needed to start a day sooner. so finally, after a lot of hullabaloo and hustle, i got home on tuesday... only to get there and discover the packers nowhere to be found. they never showed up. a minor miscommunication.
not a great start to a big move, huh? it wasn’t this team’s fault though. they had nothing to do with the mix up. no, that was a higher up issue. but still...when you are frustrated it is hard to remember who doesn’t deserve the angry darts of your inconvenience. anyway, wednesday was a new day and with it came the packers/movers. five men and a semi truck and we were off to a better start. around lunchtime they took a break and disappeared somewhere down near the truck. i didn’t know if they had eaten anything. i was busy and not paying attention. and i’ll be honest, i wasn’t particularly worried about it. i didn’t eat anything that day for lunch either. i had walls to patch and bathrooms to scrub and items to sort.
day two. thursday came and somehow i was softer. calmer. thinking more clearly. the second day dawned and the packers came. they were doing an excellent job. five men again, working hard all over our home. handling our fragile and our favorites and our slightly frayed objects. asking careful questions and labeling things clearly. late morning i asked if i could provide lunch and they eagerly accepted. so off to KFC the children and i went; and home with buckets of chicken and biscuits and sweet tea we came. the children set the kitchen table for the men, lining everything up as they have seen me do for company. it seemed the only clear spot left in this boxed and beaten up house. connor even brought out the leftover birthday cake from grammie’s birthday earlier in the week. we sliced it in fifths and the men sat.
i shooed the children from the room and told them to let the men eat in peace. and as i turned to come back to the kitchen for a forgotten item, that’s when i saw them: five giant men sitting at my kitchen table, hats off and holding hands. one big man praying over the chicken. saying grace at my KFC covered kitchen table, thanking God for His goodness and His faithfulness. i stopped. startled. there was just something so beautiful about the scene. it would be the last meal eaten at this kitchen table in this home and that seemed somehow perfect.
they’ll be back today. any minute in fact. i scratch out these thoughts quickly this morning in the darkness of 6 am, knowing there are many other things to do. the house is mostly packed up. only a few items left. today they will load everything onto the semi parked out front. i am not sure how i will handle this all. there is something about seeing your entire house boxed up in brown cardboard. last night i was at one of the going away parties for my kids. each of them has had one now. it was almost too much when i found one of sarah’s best friends sobbing on her shoulder in the dining room at the evening’s end. just too much to watch these 12 year old girls unravel their arms from one another with tear streaked faces. these past few weeks have been dotted with these kinds of moments. tears and hugs. phone calls and messages. parties and parting. we load today (hopefully) and watch the truck leave tonight. tomorrow we will gather with our friends for a final goodbye, our last night in georgia. sunday the seven of us fly to minnesota.
these five men at my table yesterday, saying grace over chicken and biscuits, remind me that there’s always something sweet to be found, even in the middle of the hard and the hurt. heads bowed. hands held. slices of leftover birthday cake. slivers of grace. startling sweetness in the midst of mess.
Lord, would you keep reminding this weary woman...
one more thing...
so after that lunch i was upstairs in one of the rooms with alanzo. he was packing, i was painting. we were chatting nicely as we worked in the same shared space. remember that piece i wrote last december about the women’s shelter, my sister’s house? (silver sandals). alanzo was telling me he would be leaving early on friday night because he volunteers there every weekend. he spends his time ministering to the homeless fridays and saturdays. every weekend. he never misses. alanzo went on to tell me his story. he lived 40 years with every addiction possible. on november 15, 2009 he found this program at my sister's house. he found help and he found Jesus. alanzo has been sober and clean and, most of all, free ever since.
alanzo sings quietly to himself as he packs.
slivers of grace.
startling sweetness in the midst of mess.