“Do you have family around here?” my coworker asks.
“In theory,” I tell her, and then elaborate just enough for her to understand.
“So, you’re all alone?” she asks.
“Well, aside from my dog,” I say. “And my church.”
She looks thoughtful for a minute. “Well, you have a new family now.”
“He killed his mom,” I’m told after leaving a client’s house.
“Stabbed her to death,” my coworker tells me. “Not to scare you or anything. But you should know.”
“I’m not scared,” I say. And I mean it.
I took my client grocery shopping this afternoon. I trailed behind her and smiled as she got three cartons of eggnog. She grabbed grape jelly, orange juice, and eggs as well, but put them back when we got to the register and she realized she was over budget. The eggnog, however, was a non-negotiable item.
“So!” I said as we climbed back into my car and headed toward her home. “Now that you have all this yummy food, what’s on the menu for dinner!?”
She smiled, not looking at me. “Meatloaf,” she said.
When we got back to her house, I helped her carry her groceries inside. “Here,” I said to her as I set stuff down on the counter. “Why don’t you stay inside and put these away, and I’ll run back out to the car to bring the rest of the groceries in?”
She accepts that and I head back into the rain. And I wonder how often she has people do kind things for her.
“He had a great day!” they tell me when I pick Arlow up from daycare this evening. “He played all day long with a Husky.”
I smile and tell them how in the morning before we leave home, he knows where we’re headed, and he gets so excited that he grabs a hold of my purse with his teeth and tries to pull me towards the front door.
“It makes me feel good,” I say, “to know he’s spending his day so happy.”
When he sees me, I caution him against jumping up in his excitement. He tries to control himself, but it’s a work in process. I smile again at the woman behind the counter. “He’s crazy,” I say, “but I love him.”
And I wonder as we head out to the car, if I so passionately desire happiness for Arlow, how much more does God desire that for me? How much more does He desire that I excitedly grab His hand at the start of a new day and pull Him towards the door?
And how much more does He love me, exactly as I am?
I don’t have to try to love Arlow. I don’t have to talk myself into loving him. Nothing he does, even when it’s naughty, makes me love him less. I don’t wish he was different. I love him just as he is because he’s mine. His place in my heart is permanent.
And through that, that effortless, unconditional, present, selfless, “walk through fire” love, I know God is speaking to me of how He loves me.
I finally get home after driving through off-and-on rain, in stop-and-go traffic.
My car was too hot, but if I turned the heat off, the windows would fog. So I drove with the heat on and the window down, the rain pelting my face.
As I drove, I saw an ambulance and, like a reflex, I found myself wondering when the next time would be that I’d be in the back of one. I can’t decide if I hope that day never comes, or if I don’t care.
I make my way inside and set my purse on the coffee table. I can’t wait to shower and climb into bed.
When I go into the bathroom, I see bird feathers all over my bathroom. The cats have had a busy day.
With more than a little trepidation, I scan the whole house, hoping I don’t find a dead bird anywhere. I don’t.
The smell of shampoo fills the air and I close my eyes and let the warm water soothe me.
“I don’t know how I’m going to work forty hours a week for the rest of my life,” I pray.
And like the shower water, the words fall all around me: “Let’s not worry about that right now. Let’s take it a day at a time.”