Yesterday was a hard day. I came home from my morning gab session with the boys from Starbucks terribly inspired and wanting to take over the world. Renee suggested we needed a work day. I thought we needed a road trip with burgers and fries and friends, not necessarily in that order.
We had a work day. I mourned the loss and pouted as I spent my energy and worked out my grief cleaning showers, clearing drains, replacing plumbing, cleaning up the lawn. I took a break for church, then came home and renewed my efforts on the drain.
At midnight, I was lying on the floor in a pile of rubble in the bathroom falling asleep with my head leaning on the shower door. I called it a work day, cleaned up the mess, and went to bed.
This morning I jumped at it again. Renee was inspired to play today, but I was committed and intended to prove my mettle. She asked me what my plans were. I retorted, “according to my wife, the gutters need to cleaned.”
Katie, our oldest daughter, and soon-to-be 18-year-old, high-school senior, left this morning for a 2-week stint at a Summit Ministries leadership development camp in Manitou Springs. I’m trying to trust that God will do amazing things, while struggling to figure out how my little girl will manage to travel the 140 miles through two major cities without me.
The gutters got cleaned. Then I attacked the drain again. Forty-five minutes of snaking through hair and black sludge in the cramped crawl space, and the drain was still clogged . . . but then, after 2 minutes of staring at a sink full of water with tortured facial spasms and clenched teeth, it sputtered, bubbled and flushed. I ran the water forever, just to be sure I wasn’t overconfident. Drainage. Yes!
I cancelled my run and had a shower. Renee went to the store. We mixed up a mexican fiesta to make your tongue slap your brains out, and had some friends over to enjoy the cleaned up lawn and the breeze on the backyard deck. Thank God for that giant cottonwood tree, and the cool breezes under the barking-but-not-biting thunder clouds of Spring.
Due at my mother’s at 5:00 for swimming and dinner, we cleared the tables, packed our changes of clothes and headed out at 5:30. As I was preparing to leave for activities demanding more energy than I could muster, and hunted for my swimsuit while everyone waited impatiently in the bus, the following text-message thread began.
KJ is Katie’s pastor at our church, the sponsor of her time at Summit, and one of my closest-ever friends. I love him dearly, yet in the past year we’ve been able to enjoy only sparse face-time, including a 4-day elk-hunting/camping trip last fall.
KJ: Are you driving katie down today
me: No. She drove. Tim went with her.
KJ: Yeah that’s cool. I miss ya . . . what’s up
me: Miss you too. Over to my mom’s for dinner and swimming. End of revolution. How is that feeling?
KJ: It feels like a good ending
me: And beginning?
KJ: Yepp I just think we need to exhale
KJ: I’m going scouting for elk this weekend in carbondale
me: Looking for happy thoughts and pixie dust.
KJ: Sweet jesus
[At this point, Renee has asked me who it is I’m texting, and as we walk beside each other into my mother’s apartment, I tell her it’s KJ, and after reading that last note, I chuckle to her, and say, “Oh God, I love that guy.”]
me: Sweet sweet Jesus!
KJ: I’ve been loving philippians man
me: Which piece?
KJ: We have been working on the first chapter this whole month in the current and I’ve learned a ton. I think it will take us the summer to finish it
me: Mmmmm. I love that. Poetry.
KJ: I love papa johns pizza
me: Mmmmm. Poetry
KJ: You’ll have to point out that poetry to me cause it looks pretty straight up to me and I’m all about poetry
me: It’s all poetry to me.
KJ: No dale pizza. Come on super joe
KJ: You are poetry
me: I know you are, but what am I?
KJ: Daylight is coming
me: Sail to the east.
[Katie interrupts our thread, here.]
Katie: Hey. We made it. We are having dinner right now. We traded off on driving, but I managed to merge onto the highway ok. This place is interesting. We are kinda going through shock and warming up at the moment. Its good. I’m excited to see what will happen.
me: Sweet. Thanks for the update. That’s a relief. 3 days to warm up I think. Keep your heart open. Jesus is lurking there somewhere. Take a little risk to find him. Love you!
KJ: That remedy song called daylight is like my fave right now
me: I’ve heard. Hannah mentioned the conga line.
KJ: Yeah it was the best thing ever
me: I’ll ask hannah to play it for me.
KJ: Yeah its mainly piano driven
KJ: Do you think people can fly?
[An hour break, here, while the kids try to drown me, and I try to keep them from drowning in the pool.]
me: Sorry. Swimming. Fly metaphorically?
[45 minutes for KJ to come back to me]
KJ: Nope physically
me: Yes. But only for a few milliseconds at a time.
KJ: I think people can fly like maybe
You might think that’s just a regular old weekend, and a regular old conversation, maybe even just “straight up” stuff, but it’s all poetry to me.
Point made, KJ. Thanks. I love you, man.