They were once always the same. It started the night before, laying out clothes for the kids. Michael was in charge of ironing. At some churches, he would have to get there early on Sundays. Those were the times I wanted to kill myself. Getting all of the kids ready by myself. Fed, changed, whatever. Getting myself ready. Making sure I had whatever I needed to sing/play guitar/teach.
When he became a pastor of an institutional church, he refused to go to church on Sunday mornings without his family. We all got there a bit early, but always with him. Always. He rode with his family. None of this getting-there-early-to-prepare/pray/hide from the children stuff. I cannot begin to explain how much I respected him for that decision. It made his life harder. He put us first. Amazing.
Now, Sunday's are never the same. Last week I visited a church in Austin, while my husband was at home with the kids. Sometimes we gather as a family on Sundays. Sometimes we gather on other days. Sometimes we sing together. Sometimes we read together. Sometimes Michael is filling in for a pastor somewhere in the area. Sometimes we go with him. Sometimes we don't. Sometimes we have guests arriving at the park. Sometimes you can hear the crickets chirping.
Today, Michael is at a church about 90 miles away. The rest of us are just chilling. Rocky was headed down to use the park restrooms (because of a recent dialoguing-with-pee episode) when Willie stopped him. Sent him back down to our house with a styrofoam cup to see if I had any coffee. Poured him some and told Rocky to tell him I spit in it. Watched him out the window as they laughed together.
Twenty minutes later, the kids are yelling that Willie is back. That's my clue. Willie just needed to hang out with someone today. So, I headed out back with my cup of coffee and sat on the steps so we could talk, and he could smoke.
So it went for about the next hour. Since we've moved into the house, our interactions are not so constant. I'm glad he showed up to let me know he just needed to connect. Granted, it can be tough. The cigarette smoke always gives me a headache. He had a lot of drainage today, and he does not use kleenex. I mean, why would you waste trees when you can just depress one nostril and blow out the other side just fine ... without even breaking your conversation?
And then, there is the hacking and hacking and ... yeah ... upchucking of coffee a few times. Again, without even breaking conversation.
It was the conversation that pushed me through the desire to dry heave. We talked about family and the holidays. Talked about God, and drinking, and sobriety. Had a very fiery exchange on legalizing marijuana (fiery, because we both agree it should be legal, and were going off on the nimrods who still make it their crusade). Which led to talks about his constant pain in his legs. Why he quit drinking. What his life was like before, and how now - even in the weathered body and upchucking and scraggliness - his life is so much fuller and brighter and enjoyable.
There is nothing ... no program, no curriculum, no order of service ... which can replace the connection of two humans. So, if you did a lot today, but forgot to do the most important thing ... connecting ... go find your Willie before the sun sets.
Oh my cow. That's the official welcometomybrain.net t-shirt!
"Go find your Willie, before the sun sets."