not just because she always seems to work a transforming miracle with my hair,
not just because for those few quiet minutes someone is taking care of me instead of the other way around.
Mostly I anticipate our one-to-one connections in her shop because our friendship goes way, way back to years before we were both grandmas to two year old boys. Beyond being my friend, this woman is my sister in the way that matters most.
So, while she works her magic, we talk fast, we laugh, we listen, we commiserate, and we help each other through the maze of releasing children and grand parenting and mother-in-lawing…(Ohhh, baby, it’s a maze alright, and we aren’t always very amazing. If you think you’re challenged because you HAVE a mother-in-law, wait until you ARE the mother-in-law!)
Sometimes tears flow, and that’s okay too because the tear gene is apparently double dominant for both of us, although my Lancaster County Mellingers probably never crossed paths with her Big Valley Hartzlers. Yep, we cry together.
Some days it feels like holy ground. This was to be one of those days, but I didn’t realize it at the time.
Gina mentions our mutual friend, Terri, who will be getting four kiddos ready for the program on her own. Her kind UPS driver hubby has never been able to even attend a school Christmas program during the ceaseless rush of the holiday delivery season. T. is understandably anxious, knowing some of her youngsters will not be happy to be in those scratchy, unfamiliar formal clothes. The son who wears only khakis must wear black dress pants. And she dreads the usual picking and fussing that is the bane of parents everywhere.
My heart goes out to her, my sweet friend, and I want to help somehow. I put it in my mind to pray for her…which doesn’t seem like much, but it’s all I can think of, so I let it rest.
My thoughts turn to Terri, whose evening will now be complicated by needing to navigate the slick and winding mountain roads with her be-decked brood, and I wonder again what I can do to be helpful…but prayer is all I can figure out, so I do it, time and again as the early darkness falls. As I envision the chaotic scene behind her wreath-clad door, I stand at my kitchen sink, peer out into the windblown darkness, and pray.
Afterwards I seek out Terri, wanting to connect, to commend her for “making it happen.” And then I see her husband next to her, smiling, joyful…and how is it possible? I listen as he says, “Oh, it’s totally a God thing.” His delivery load was fifty (50!) packages less at the start of the day, and he asked his boss what he was to do when he finished. “Go home,” was the unexpected reply.
(“Totally a God thing,” Mr. Brown says to me again.)
“I’ll be able to get to my kids school Christmas program this year for the first time ever,” he tells his boss incredulously.
“You’ve never been there?” his boss of many years queries in surprise.
“In that case I’ll cover your last pickup so you can get home even earlier…so you are sure to make it.”
And so it was as I stood in my quiet kitchen at 4:45pm,
praying for Terri,
her grinning husband walked in the door.
Never in all his UPS days had he arrived home so early.
“You probably think silly,” she told him,
“but I’m taking a picture to remember this day.”
And here is that picture which "Mr. Brown" kindly allowed me to share with you...
Together, they sat for a simple supper.
Together, they corralled the kids into those clothes.
Together they piled into the van.
Together they crossed the dark mountain.
And together they sang,
“Here I am to worship…”
Yes, totally a God thing.
And He is altogether wonderful to me.