Being There

Today I had a couple of hours when I wasn’t feeling peaceful. When this happens–and sadly enough, it happens more often than it should–it is almost always for reasons too dumb to verbalize to other humans. And so I would never. I won’t even say them aloud to myself while walking or praying. What is there in my life that would justify anything but peace? I am healthy. I have everything I need plus a thousand million luxuries. I have a loving husband, 4 wonderful children, and family and friends. I mean, for the love of Ramon (I don’t like to say Pete), I have Jesus! I have too much. So I get irritated with myself when I feel this weird unsettled offness. And I try to stop it through a brisk walk or a prayer or anything that seems like it would serve as an attitude shifter. Today I chose to walk. I walked up to Florida College and back. I passed three old men, 2 german shepherds, one truly strange-looking dog, and a person on a bike that surely died shortly after she passed me. There are a lot of older people in my area. I hope to be one some day.

When I returned home, there were 3 or 4 extra messes that had not existed when I left. So of course, I barked a few orders and set the laws in motion. Heads were gonna roll if those messes didn’t disappear quickly enough. And then I decided to take a shower. That was more for others than for myself. After working in the yard all day, I had smelled better.  One can only require so much of their deodorant.  As I was about to step into the shower, the knocking at my bedroom door began. This is not terribly uncommon and a person has to double lock doors to keep out the riff raff. But that’s where this story goes bad.

“What?!” I said, annoyed that anyone was trying to get in.

“Can we come in?” I heard little Beloved’s voice.

“I’m taking a shower,” I said. “What do you need?”

And then I heard it. That phrase that was both the best and worst thing I’ve heard in weeks. Her answer, totally bare and honest.

“Nothing really,” she answered. “We just want to hang out with you.”

Oh man. There I was in my unpeaceful state of “what is your problem” and my daughters, 7 and 9 years old, were knocking at my door…needing nothing but my presence. Just wanting to hang out with me. How long until that is no longer the case? How long until I am begging to hang out with them and it is their tone laced with irritation or impatience?

I don’t know how long.

So you better believe I got clean fast and went looking for my daughters.

I found them reading on the porch swing, and they had left a space just right for me in the middle. I slid into my spot, patted them on the legs, and we hung out.

And I felt peaceful.

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