Today I washed the Jeep on the way to Culpeper. I left home and drove through Chick Fil A for my "Large Unsweetened Iced Tea with Extra Ice". At the window, the lady handed me a large iced tea and it probably had ice before the hot tea was poured over it, but there wasn't a single ice cube left. When I asked her, politely, if I could have a cup of ice, she acted as if I had asked her to do a thousand push ups.
I reminded myself that she might not like wearing the brown pants and hat that are neither flattering or part of her chosen color palette and that at her age, she would rather be sitting on her own front porch rocking, drinking her own iced tea than trying to please every customer, with the obligatory, "My Pleasure".
Then I drove to Bob's or Rob's ... I'm not sure which, car wash. I flopped the top back up on the Jeep and put my money in the slot. I pushed the button for "Three Foam Brush" and lifted it from the holder. I was immediately showered with gobs and gobs of splattering green/yellow/pink foam spewing from the broken hose. I worked quickly !
The e mail that I received this morning from a stranger/friend kept playing in my head...
"I am finally tired of being angry. Can you believe it, 10 years later I pulled these thank you book marks out and started reading them. Thank you for these, the things written on the bookmarks are what I need to be thankful for. I started crying for the first time in years. Thank you God for Shannon, Thank you for removing my addiction, thank you for your son Jesus, thank you for life."
Thirteen years ago, Shannon quietly contemplated the things that mattered. She faithfully recorded those thoughts for nine months. She told her Aunt Candy that she didn't want just any job, " I want a job that makes a difference." Ten days later she returned to Heaven.
Today she touched a stranger's heart and gave him hope. He in turn touched mine. How can there not be some grand plan, some wonderfully loving, incredibly compassionate grand plan? Today, paths crossed. It almost seems as if there is a luminous thread, carefully binding us all together, drawing us close when life seems harsh, sheltering us with one another.
I love the feel of the wind and sunlight when I'm driving with the top down. I love the sky overhead and the sound of life passing by. I didn't drink my hot tea. I did mow grass and enjoy another Friday with my Mom. We had fast food by a mountain stream and then I came home.
For a moment, I laid on the bed with my head in the crook of Jules arm, looking at the stained glass panel that he gave me for my birthday... three dragonflies, gracefully flowing through afternoon sunlight. I heard the front door open and footsteps on the stairs....and the beautiful sound of Shannon calling to me. I hadn't fallen asleep. But for one precious second, I had fallen through time. I can't adequately describe the feeling, but I was given a tiny reminder of what it felt like to be 'me'. To be me with my husband and my child and my heart in one piece.
Maybe I spent too much time in the sun today. Maybe I'm a little dehydrated. Maybe the love extended to me by a stranger on this particular day, opened a crack in time so that I could remember why it is we try so hard.
It doesn't really matter how it happened. It happened and it felt wonderful. I was basking in the moment, welcoming the tears that were building just beneath the surface when the phone rang. Today is Jane's birthday and she was calling to thank me for the message I had left wishing her a happy one. She understands that "happy" is relative. I told her about the snag in time. She understands that too. Her husband is with Shannon and she, too, appreciates the magic that we are sometimes given. It's Friday night... movie night... we always had family movie night on Fridays, so Jules and I are going to a movie.
I'm not going to worry. I'm not going to agonize over what has been or what is to come... I'm going to eat popcorn, drink Diet Coke, in an upholstered seat, in a darkened theater with my husband and let the world spin on it's own for a little while.
Today I got ordinary and extraordinary. It fills my heart and waters my eyes and I remember... and I am so incredibly grateful.