the roll out of bed this morning made the spine in my back creak with ache. the sun shines and I blink unready for the drive and the appointment to come — so the pulling on of clothes comes slow and hard. by the time The Guitarist pulls up to my curb, my tummy is filled with monarchs and the dull ache becomes a sharp throb as my footsteps jolt, jolt, jolt. prayer rope running, prayer rope running helps. how do you keep on keeping on when even the sitting still breathing hurts? the thought keeps on thinking in my head over every speed bump on the way there and while my feet swing out the car to touch the pavement. waddling inside with the jacket he’d passed me, baring his own shoulders and breaking me a little, making a hug wrap around me as I keep on thinking on about how to be the joy in the midst of the hurt.
my feet hit office floors, I’m looking around at the old and the old and somehow me, the young, ended up in the middle of this because of a too fast beating heart and a pain that’s not dying and somewhere within there’s a well of tears that’s slowly being pulled from as I try to smile. how can I be the GIFT when it hurts? because, lord, it hurts. how did you carry on, I need to know. because suddenly, feeling trapped in an unknown medical office, my spirit is screaming for a Savior that knows what he’s doing when I sure as hell do not and all I want to do is smile real for a second. I’m a sinner and I need a way to smile right now.
my hands shake over the paperwork and when I look up, hair falls in my face, but: it’s there, the answer. it’s there right over the head of the secretary as I stare (or maybe it’s in the flowery pen that’d been pressed into my hand) and I think from stressed to blessed and the kind in her eyes deepen my heart’s crack and all I want to start doing is bless. because remembrance rushes me that it is the one cure all for all the hurt in the world, the one thing that fills up all the jagged cracks. my Ann’s words are burning into me through my purse and they yell at me hard to do the real smile and drop the anxious bundle I carry.
prayer rope slipping. as I plop down and smile wide at the old lady next to me. “I’m actually 60.” she looks up and snickers as I pop those words. prayer rope slipping. “how are you today?” nurse balances my weight and her clipboard. “Somewhere between crazy and crazier, yourself?” and she whoops. somehow the anxious is slipping and the blessing is creeping into those rivets in my heart as I smile into the smiles I’m helping create. is there any other way to be enblazened with blessing when the pain cuts you like a knife?
and suddenly it seems wonderfully absurd, the way this girl and I are laughing at the way my heart beats while I lay bare under a paper towel sheet. the way her laugh crinkles up her eyes when I pat my chest and giggle, “good job, heart.” I’ve found someone who’s right there with me between crazy and crazier. a crazy passion girl who is enamored with the way the valves in my heart are yawning and closing and talks about her former grinching habits. right before we finish, she leans in with a wide eyed whisper to say, “it floors me how perfectly God lined all this up.” and suddenly I want to hug that passion girl and tell her she’s rare. when she leaves the room, I drop a pack of chocolate on her table with a note reminding her to never stop being what made her stand out. I bet she didn’t know this morning that her GIFT being would make someone else into a GIFT too. that her battle fighting would help me win mine.
when I jump the hours to my fingers on the keyboard, the rest of the time was filled with bunny kisses on three year old noses, taco bell picnics in the back of trucks, howling with eyewatering laughter in the drive-through of mcdonalds and it still hurts, the burn, the ache, the ice pick in my spine. but under the meds, there’s something stronger working — the stressed blessed hands of the father smoothing out my heart.