My kids’ aunt is pretty awesome.
After hearing about my youngest daughter’s head injury, this aunt went to the store and bought my girl a feel-better card and a pack of bubble gum to cheer her up. And my daughter, generous kid that she is, shared with everyone. Whoohoo! I hadn’t had this gum in… (cough) decades. We didn’t have a bubble-blowing contest, but we did enjoy watching bubbles grow so big they popped on our noses.
I also had a nice time with my son. We both cleaned up our sides of the workbench in the garage, and then I gave him permission to throw away junk and sort and label containers of stuff to keep on our shelves. He took the permanent marker and began: ‘Car Crap.’
“Hold on, pal. We’re trying to make this environment work-friendly in case your mom decides she needs to have an office out here in the garage.”
“She’ll never work out here, Dad, no matter what. ”
“She might if we go into lock down.”
Less than an hour later, my wife already had plans to use the garage. About a year ago her health team had coordinated a community event that reflected on alcohol advertising in North America throughout the last several generations. I’m pretty sure the idea was to help address stigmas concerning all drug use in order to build compassion for those who struggle with addiction to the harder drugs and as a result are living on our streets. An artist was commissioned to collect and display actual art. He did a professional job. But now the professor who after the event had asked to borrow the art for a class no longer had storage space and my wife is responsible for all this art. Our son can sell it online and keep some of the money. We’ll store the art in the garage.
“WHAT?! Are you kidding?! I just cleaned this garage and now you want to fill it with beer and boob posters so our son can take pictures of it and hock it online while destroying his online profile and credibility?! No way!”
“They’re not all like that, Dave.”
“The ones that’ll sell are like that.”
“Whatever doesn’t sell I’ll just hang up in my dorm room,” our son said. “Kidding, Mom.”
This is so not happening.
Sometime after lunch I realized that God was talking on Thursday.
First, Hannah, the optometrist told us about her footprints-in-the-sand tattoo. “That was when I carried you,” God answers in that story when asked where He was during the tough times in life.
Then, I thought of Sixpence None The Richer’s song Carry You sometime while driving home.
Then, my daughter had her accident and was bleeding all over herself, blood-covered glasses off, unable to see, panicked that she was going to die… and I picked her up and carried her to a place where she could be cared for and calm down.
When I look at the large picture, I get the message: No matter how tough things may get, God is ready to carry us.
We gathered with the cousins for a movie night and watched Secondhand Lions. At first, the kids complained. But once the old men fired their shotguns at the door-to-door salesmen, they bought in.
Another great choice by the kids’ aunt.
Finally “finished” the garage.
Went to the bridge/overpass where the homeless sometimes hang out or sleep at night. Played a few hymns on my trumpet. No one was around. The acoustics under the overpass are some of my favorite. After one particular hymn a voice sang down from the walkway above. It sang the melody, not the words, in a mocking tone. Felt… weird. I paused, wondering, Who would sing like that? Why?
I played a few more songs then hit Home Depot for paint supplies. Had to stand outside and wait for a cart. They were only letting so many people in the store at a time and they were bleaching all the carts when they came back.
Walking around HD was weird. Everyone used their cart like a personal shield. Some people were more outgoing than normal. Canadians don’t normally have conversations with strangers about what aisle they found an item in. They just go get it. As though the rule “Don’t talk to strangers” is just as important as “Don’t talk during Remembrance Day ceremonies.”
Other people were really on edge, like one old lady I saw snapping at her husband (not in English) and ramming him repeatedly with their cart. On purpose. He simply took it, like a dog so used to being beaten by its master that it’d grown weary of life, blinking slowly, the only hope visible on his face being that this might be his last blink. Nope, not that one. Maybe this next one. Blink.
Once home, I convinced my wife that our son should be put to work on the garden. “He so doesn’t want to do it that if we make him do it he’ll rush and get it done today.” Less than two hours later, he had topped up our six garden boxes and the mulch beds surrounding the boxes were filled up. My wife was surprised. “Why? The boy’s our ox.”
I’d gone with him, since he’s not licensed on the van. Shovelling dirt became a competition. He won. It was nice to spend time with him these last two days.
Went to visit Lars before the kids had breakfast. Before I left, my youngest daughter found out I was going and emptied her coin bank to count out five dollars. “Here, Dad. Give that to Lars,” because she genuinely cares.
I drove up just as Lars was getting up from sleeping to head in to the gas station. “I’m going in to warm up,” he said. My daughter’s coins arrived just in time.
We let our son go visit his girlfriend–after going to the bread store for us. (We get all-natural bread from a Seventh Day Adventist store in the neighboring city near his girlfriend’s house.)
The rest of us went to church. In a park. With only two other families. We read a devotion written by N.T.Wright. It was on Psalm 23 and yes, it talked about the Shepherd carrying sheep and how sheep recognize the Shepherd’s voice and are calmed simply by his voice.
We then threw rocks into the nearby river.
And I played a few hymns on my trumpet. The hymn melodies rang back in echo off the mountains on the other side of the river.