This morning I woke up early (for a Saturday) and made bacon and eggs for David and one of his friends. We heated up the pumpkin bread that I’d made yesterday. We had a big pot of coffee.
It was a very nice morning; it moved slowly. The air is cool, the leaves are littering the yard. The cat sits pensively, staring into the distance. I move from basement to bedroom, through the kitchen, into the hallway. There are clothes to wash, dust to collect, dishes to dry. I multi-tasked and threw together an apple crisp with the tart, tangy Granny Smiths we brought home from Carter Mountain last week. The house smelled good.
Later in the day two of my daughters came crashing through the door. It is good that their university is an easy, two-hour route through the mountains and a gentle interstate highway. My mom walked in an hour later, and we all piled into her car.
There’s a traveling Brides Against Breast Cancer bridal gown show in town, and Shannon felt sure she would be able to find something she liked.
So today, I made bacon and eggs, and apple crisp, and then when we got back home I gave this new recipe a try and we had potato soup for dinner. It was amazing, if I do say so myself.
And I do.
So, today, we bought a wedding dress. And I cooked a lot.
And what did I notice today?
There was this: In spite of a wonderful day, a memory-making day, a day full of rich family connections and delicious food and notable aromatic atmospheres, it was difficult to be fully present. Sometimes, when I get a very good night’s sleep (like eight full hours, after a week of only five or six per night), I cling and claw through a peculiar fog all day long. No amount of coffee clears it. Today felt like such a day. Underneath every beautiful thing was a clingy molasses, a tinge of something slow and sad in spite of all the beauty.
And I felt guilty, and sorrowful.
But then it occurred to me; perhaps this is not a particularly notably bad thing. There is a point, I guess, when all the jumping and shrieking and overflowing effervescence belongs to the bride who simply cannot stop beaming because she loves the way she feels in a beautiful wedding gown. Or to the sister, who is literally jumping up and down, babbling about getting her cartilage pierced and her hands on some diet Pepsi. Maybe to the grandmother, who walks through this new experience with a calm wisdom and a happy smile. To the assembled group in the kitchen who drink down the rich soup and say, “Yes. Yes, Mom. This is good.” and then tear out the door in search of another adventure. There is still great, precious value to a day when someone carries the joy. It doesn’t always have to be me.
Sometimes I just get to watch, and take it all in.
We are given these days and these moments, and regardless of our focus, our distractions and our attitudes, time marches on. Joy and wonder slip into the cracks somewhere in the room. We buy dresses and cook meals and clean kitchens and good music seeps into our ears; and whether we are surrounded by friends and family or left sitting alone in an empty, soup-strewn kitchen,
I guess thought I’d start this post with a doleful attitude, some measure of regret that an entire day has moved by with me being somewhat preoccupied. But here I am, at the end of the post, and I think perhaps I have discovered more gratitude than sorrow. Life goes on, indeed, and we are blessed to reach out and catch hold of the things that are precious – whether mundane or momentous.
Today, I made good food, and my daughter found her wedding dress. Simple and complex, mundane and extravagant. There are many things, beautiful and true, that I hold in my hands; many people who surround me. Three strong daughters, two talented sons full of promise, a sturdy, handsome husband, extended family.
Life goes on.
This is grace.