I left off last time with Story crying in the rec room and me bustling around the kitchen, hurrying to get lunches made so I could get upstairs to write. I knew in my heart, though, that I needed to
...thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall
Yes, Robert Frost says I can plod, so I plodded up the little set of stairs, rounded the corner towards the rec room, and stood quietly back by the door for a moment to listen for sounds of Story. What happened next is pretty much a highlight of my life.
I heard Story, speaking rather loudly and clearly, to God.
God, will you tell my dad to get some wood and some glass, and will you tell him to come home?....[then something murmured I couldn't hear, mixed with crying].....I love you....[more murmuring]....Will you keep that glass up and help me stop worrying?
She told God she loves Him.
And that, right there, my friends, is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I was so touched that Story talked to God like that, that in her moment of fear and weakness, she was asking God to help her. I can't even imagine how this kind of childlike faith must make God feel. A million times yes, sweet girl, I'll keep that glass up for you. And I'll bring your daddy home from work, too.
After I heard Story's prayer, I went in and settled down with her on the floor and did all the calm reassuring I should have done in the first place. She was still upset and I don't feel like I solved anything, but at least she knew in that moment that she didn't have to be alone.
Anne Lamott always speaks God's love and forgiveness into the hard places for me. She said, in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith,
I don't think he was rolling his eyes impatiently at me...I don't think much surprises him: this is how we make important changes - barely, poorly, slowly. And still, he raises his fist in triumph.
So God wasn't annoyed with me, and I was no longer annoyed with Story. I could visit with her now and experience connection and restoration. As I said before, she still wasn't over the possibility of the glass breaking, but maybe her heart wasn't breaking quite as much.
I called TJ and told him how upset Story was, thinking maybe he would want to talk to her on the phone. I shared her prayer with him, and right away, he said he would come home. No plodding involved.
It's not hard to believe God answered Story's prayer, by bringing her dad home, is it? And then God also released her from worrying, because as soon as TJ got home, he showed her that the door is made of shatterproof glass and that the inside piece of glass wasn't even broken. I peeked down from my room upstairs where I had stolen away by this point to write and saw TJ holding Story and Story running her hand along the whole unbroken pane of glass on the inside. She was calm and no longer crying.
And that is just like God, to come home to pick us up, to meet us in our fears, to mend our broken hearts, and to put an end to our tears.
And He's also the one who arranges the friendly visits that Frost describes in his poem. We can sometimes miss out, though, because we're too busy hoeing, or we yell What is it?, forgetting that what it is is a chance to allow relationship to bloom.
My heart says Yes to this kind of welcome space for others to enter when they come to our home on the lake. The low stone wall at the entrance to our driveway is a daily reminder of the good and true things in Robert Frost's poem, "A Time to Talk."
When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don't stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven't hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?
No, not as there is a time to talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.
We have decided to name our home and property "Stone Wall on the Lake," a place for friendly visits, for stopping what we're doing to connect with others on a regular (or unexpected) basis, for talking to frightened children, for coming home from work to comfort and encourage, for plodding if we sometimes need to, and for knowing our relational progress is always celebrated by the most patient Being of all.
Our plan is to celebrate the renaming in a twofold manner. We want to have a sign made to go on the stone wall by the entrance to our property, to replace the last name of the longtime owners before us, which is engraved there now. And we also plan to purchase a custom-made canvas from Etsy with Frost's poem on it to go on the wall inside the front entrance to our house where the broken glass door was. I hope you can see them the next time you're here for a friendly visit.