July 14, 2009
I suppose yesterday was a day for things that sting—“the summer of the yellow jackets” maybe. Justin dropped me off at my mother’s house. Julie and Colby were outside scraping paint from the building. A hazy, hurried day, the cable guys were in their buckets splicing the lines. On the phone with Momma, I went out to ask the workmen a question for her and stumbled into a yellow jacket nest.
A swarm chased me inside as Colby furiously tried to combat them with his baseball cap and a can of bug spray. Bug, searching through the medicine cabinets and breaking open her cigarettes to use the tobacco as a soothing agent, nursed my skin.
A little later that afternoon, the pain of another sting was met as Momma and I went to the funeral home. A close friend of mine from elementary through high school lost her father on Saturday. Memories of him, spoken through tears and laughter circled around the parlor and cycled on a television screen. I remember when I test drove my truck, driving it to their house so he could look at it. And every time I needed an oil change or something repaired, he was glad to do it. He was like that with everyone—a true reflection of Christ’s love. I found Robin and hugged her; words are absent at times like this, I don’t think they say what a hug and a person’s presence can. It was with stinging hearts, but hope that we will see him again, that we left the wake and drove home.
An evening of packing—sorting through a lifetime of memories, Ginger’s house in boxes and bags, mementos of her life, stories of our friendship spilling out as she and her mom and I “configured” them into her car. Now it is early morning. We stumble, sleepy-eyed, into pants and shoes packing the last few things in the Element. A prayer spoken for peace and protection, a phone call to say we’re on our way, a couple of Facebook posts—2 girls, 1 dog, and miles of pavement stretching out before us.
We made it to Fort Smith, Arkansas (a couple hours west of Little Rock, just past Parkin, Pickle Gap, and Toad Suck) tonight—miles of green, flat earth, fields with an irrigation system at work, flat land and hills, foggy morning and blue sky. We passed a work truck proudly proclaiming “Do Not Hump”, groves of trees, road signs, pit-stops, and a thousand songs to sing. “All Shook Up” in Memphis, we shouted out to Elvis. The Stones, Neil Diamond, Some Oldies. We learned that almost all places must have a soft rock station, a classic rock one that does “Two for Tuesday”, a “we play what we want to play” counterpart, and that these big, southern cities think you can never have too many country stations. In fact, we took our show on the road today, singing into our sunglass case and water bottle. Next show tomorrow, somewhere between Arkansas and Oklahoma!
Tonight I am contemplative. I wonder about things that have been, things that will be, and things that should be. It is a tendency of mine. But I read Your Word and find some way to halt my (sometimes overly) analytical skills. “…lay up these My words in your minds and hearts and in your entire being…Deuteronomy 10:18 [Just as you command us to love you with our mind, hearts, and beings, a connection perhaps? ]The words “lay up” strike a chord in my heart. After all the fields I’ve seen today, I am reminded of harvest time, and of a story about a grasshopper who plays while the ants work and finds himself hungry and cold in the winter. I think about the harvest though, as Your Words, as You-- something to not merely read, but to gather and store as if it were a harvested crop so that we will have them when “winter” comes.