Friday, September 3, 2010
I almost lost it--my sanity, my togetherness—when the song came on. “This is what it means to be held. How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life.” I covered my mouth. So she wouldn’t hear the sound of my desperation. I pushed my sunglasses up, thankful for them. She was awake. She might be watching. I need Superglue. I blinked back tears. ‘Cause I’m falling apart.
I focused on I-270. Is war like this? My brow furrowed. Where’d that come from? But I knew. The trip to the airport felt as if I was going to certain death. Like Prince Caspian and the Narnians. Before the fighting trees showed up. Like Aragorn and King Theoden at Helms Deep. Before Gandalf arrived with the Rohirrim. Like us. Before Jesus came.
For a week, maybe two, I had a ritual. Let my eyes burn. Allow a few tears to fall. Then I stopped ‘em. You can cry all you want, the day after. Keep it together for now. So she won’t see. Don’t soak her dream with your sorrow.
I almost failed. Husband asleep. Little guy reading. Our oldest daughter looked out the window. Then that dang song came on. The girl sang about the sacred being ripped from your arms. The SUV swerved as I lost my grip on the steering wheel for a second. I eased the car back to the center of the lane. Set my face like flint.
At the airport Daddy saved the day. He leaned over the counter. “Her flight’s been pushed back,” he told the customer service representative. “She’ll never make her connect. Can you put her on the—" He glanced at his watch. “The one that leaves in 20 minutes?” It was accomplished.
We sprinted to the escalator. What if she gets stuck in security? My breath came in gasps. What if her plane crashes? I put my hand under her backpack, heavy with books. Tried to bear some of its weight so she wouldn't have to. We didn’t get to pray for her. One last time. I struggled to keep up. If she cries, I will lose it. I'm serious. Right here. In front of all these people.
At the turnstile she faced us. I felt as if I was breathing in a plastic bag. My eyes shone with unborn tears. This is it.
I laid my hands on her hair. Dug my fingers into the curly mass. “Oh, God! Cover everything.” Spirit, please pray what I don’t know how to.
And she was gone. She didn’t look back. Did she not want to be Lot’s wife?
The next morning I couldn’t move. I felt almost bound. Like a thick blanket was on me. A weighty covering. It was warm. Expensive. I don’t know how I knew it was costly, but I did. I pulled my arms out and stroked the luxurious softness. Without looking, I could tell it was silvery aqua. Gorgeous. I inhaled. Identified the fragrance as lilies and lemons. Then I knew. What it was. It’s peace. And grace.
I smiled and opened my eyes. That's when I remembered. The rest of the song. “This is what it means to be held. How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life. And you survive.”