i was late; she sounded irritated. i realized it'd been so long since i'd driven out there i'd misjudged just how long it would take me. she told me she'd go pick up a few items at the wal-mart next door while i drove the remaining twenty minutes. the hallowed, neutral ground of starbucks, not memphis, not home, the industrial in-between.
i got there before she did, and the butterflies i'd been able to keep at bay til that point flooded my stomach. the coffee i sipped turned heavy and tasteless in my throat.
so many years since i'd seen her- a marriage and three births all taking their toll on me' would i recognize her?
i did. noticed how long her hair'd gotten, the limp she had because of the foot trouble she's mentioned on the phone, but the same dark eyes. she looked more like granny than the mama i remembered, her skin looser and softer and powdery, and it seems ten years instead of five. she thinks i look like bet. touches my wedding ring, the engagement story she doesn't know being hinted at, sees pictures of my boys on my phone; me, realizing how few of them actually have face shots. her phone has pictures of her dogs, and she laments the fact.
we chat, i twirl my bands nervously; she twists and retwists her diet coke cap.
where to start lies heavy between us, so we plunge.
straight into the murky cold depths and i tell her how i fear sticking my hands behind or under things, that absurd fear of the unknown. she says she can light the way, but perspective is different and casts shadows, taints conversation.
she vehemently reminds she loves her husband, and i know she does an she should, and she asks if he's unwanted, unloved, and i don't know the answer to the question.
the heart doesn't like going under dark things either.
i mention ann's grace-post and how i know the need for forgiveness, even know i have for the first time in my life and how i even feel sorry for all those years lost. she seems to hear.
there is mention of a future and in the moment i know i want that above all else. it's when i've driven away, heavier than the coffee burning in my stomach, that i fear all the long future in front of me, all the hardness trying to come back into my heart and brain, and all the old bitternesses trying to take root again.
it is up to me to soften. to see her as the mother she wishes she could be, the grandmother she's never been, and the friend she may still be someday.
it is up to me to reach into the dark-be a light for Him, extending God-grace to self and her and continue this long road, one phone call, cup of coffee, and trembling hug at a time.
i'm linking up today at suzannah's shoutlaughlove because this is part of my story--journey deeper into grace.