Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Chronology of Paying Attention (15): mourning friends

there was the time you called me up and met me with your tandem bicycle 
we rode eight miles back to your house then
picked out all the rocks in the yard by your swimming pool
because your father wanted it.
only then we collapsed on the grass
and I cried next to you because he had broken up with me.

there was the time your uncle died
and I couldn't find the Polish church and almost missed
you singing at the funeral
but I walked in right in the middle of the song.
when you sat back down in the hard pew
next to me I held your hand
because I didn't know what else to do.

there was the New Year's Eve our house
caught fire and my babies' clothes
all smelled like smoke.
you said come over and bring your laundry.
you took the bags from me at your front door
and told us to sit on your couch and take a nap.
you covered us in the red and blue quilt.

there was the Sunday night at church
i was so mad  i banged the door handle 
to leave the room in the middle of the meeting.
when I came back to my seat even though I didn't want to,
you reached your arm back through the crack between the
maroon and metal chairs and touched your hand to the top 
of my shaking knee. and then i sat still.

there was the Friday morning we drove to your
parents' house instead of sitting at the dining room table
in Endwell to pray.
we brought sheet music and you brought out the 
hymn books and we tried to find all four notes in the harmony
while we stood around your mother's bed.  she smiled at us and 
craned her neck to the spoon your father held out with ice chips.
we played her piano and the toddler plunked extra notes.
that was the last time I saw your mother
before she died.

In this season that I do not have time to write, this is the idea God gave me:  For me to ponder and notice again the words I've already written once, to keep praying the beads of memory to discover this sacramental life.

Won't you join me?  
I'd welcome your company along the way.

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