The cats cry wakes me early and I stumble blindly to let her out into the dark. Crawling back into a still warm bed, I soon realize my body may want more sleep, but my brain is working already. These are times I know the Lord has something to say. Flipping back over to the edge of the bed, I shuffle to the door, closing it carefully so Ben can catch his last remaining 45 minutes of dreams. Stove clicks three times and then blue flame jumps. I rearrange mugs, wait for the teakettle to whisper at me. Her face and words, those unfallen tears shining in her eyes, she’s the reason I’m up.
There had been food and coffee and laughter. We stroll, circling blocks of shops and commenting on the stillness of the lake. We subject hop from weekend agendas to resale shopping to Mothers day plans and back to weekends when she slides in, “Do you want to see the tattoo I got?” I knew it was coming. We’d wrestled back and forth for two months this decision, desire, to have skin punctured with the staining needle. She’d gone and laid herself down, let the pain try to make her beautiful.
See, there’s a list she still carries. He’d written it all down right before he walked out the door. All this falling of her failing. Two years spent drafting, but never revealing until he’d packed his bags. Months of tears, fear, starving, buckling boys into a car made for four, but searching for ways to say why there were only three now.
She’s laughed through her justification of this body marking and I’ve cringed at the smearing of perfect skin. She’s saying the words like “moved on” and “this is who I am”, but all I hear is the name of another woman now sharing dinners and a bed with the one she gave her heart to. And the pain has rooted so deep I stand with her and my heart prays hard, because it’s so bold how words stain!
Every conversation now is a quiet walk. My chest pulls tight when I see her battling to be beautiful, to be noticed, to want someone to care!
And this is what I tell her, that I love her. I cannot know what her shoes feel like right now, but I know the beauty of the woman she’s grown to be. I tell her I’m going to love her through these great big bounce houses of declaring herself “better without him”. We talk openly about the love of the Creator and his desire to bring us great joy, and I remember scripture that says “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving” (Psalms 100:4). He didn’t design a life of grumbles and complaints to bring you to those gates, but moments of grace and forgiveness, gladness and joy! This I know! And she chuckles and says what’s true.
I watch her change her top, slip gold dangled earrings through holes in her ears and smooth out her hair, putting on what feels beautiful and I wonder if it’s worth noting that it’s a dark bar she’s going to and maybe her pampering won’t get fully noticed, but I say nothing. I hug her tight.
I know she’ll be back, and I’ll say it all again. Because words that stain don’t have to stain ugly. They can stain beautiful. And Psalms were meant to sing, and love was meant to last, and God’s makings are perfect! And I will tell her that too.
In pure search,