The weekend is a ride down a water slide. A blurry rush of travel and speaking and visiting and great fun and homecoming and caregiving and then, splash. I land in the pool, ungainly and with arms and legs akimbo and I’m a little disoriented, even. And on Sunday afternoon I surface from the ride, sputtering and rubbing the water from my eyes and I look around. And when I haul myself out of the water I am heavy and flat-footed and a little unsteady, and I’m looking forward to warm clothes and warm food and comfort. I’m tired.
The thoughts I try to share with a friend sound trite even in my own ears and I don’t think she gets it, what I’m trying to say. The day is pancake flat and I’m not sad or upset or negative or unhappy. I’m … nothing. I’m tired.
And my husband is sick and the kids are still coughing, too. There are things coming up in the next few weeks that I need to begin preparing for, and here it is Monday and there you have it.
I feel a little bit the hypocrite, since just a few days ago I shared with a roomful of women ideas about story and the importance of sharing and about this one life we are given and how do we live it well? And the not-so-well-lived life of poor Whitney is splashed around the internet and everywhere she is called a cautionary tale, and yet, with these reminders right in front of me, I still want to curl up on the couch with cups of tea and plates of toast and pretend I’m sick and watch movies all day.
I sit a minute, after the older boys have gone out for a day of work, excited to be almost grown and driving to the next town on their own to haul things and hammer things for money, and I pour a cup of coffee that grows cold on the table before me. I know that in a few minutes the day will begin and the youngest will be down for breakfast and we’ll try that subtraction again and I’ll read to him and he’ll read to me. I’ll remind him that the number three goes the other way and once again he’ll say why does it matter? And I’ll say, because it matters.
I pour myself a fresh coffee, dark and strong like a good Norwegian should drink it. And I bow for a minute, and i open that book and look for comfort and I find it here, In the words of that familiar Psalm:
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.