In recent years, I have been aware of the illness that steals away many of the loved ones of my friends and family in an insidious way. Slipping into their midst at first unnoticed, it creates a new heart-rending reality for all those it touches. I have wondered how they, the affected one, come to the realization of this disease and how strong can they fight against it in the early stages. How do they try to push away this creeping horror?
This may be one of those places angels “fear to tread” I ask; could the heart-rending knowledge be something...
I furtively flipped the light switch casting the side porch into sudden darkness. Quietly, I turned the door handle and slipped noiselessly over the threshold and was instantly enveloped by the thick, dark and fragrant midnight.
“Tonight is the night for memories.” I told myself as I tossed an ancient quilt on the thick growth of vinca vines, and in the process crushed many blue headed blossoms. The fire flies, new to the early summer, were in competition with the distant stars; blinking and winking at me, luring me to turn my dream time over to them.
It was the softness of the night and my bed of earth that lulled me and drew to the place where my reveries became remembrances of flesh once touched, and tears and kisses felt fresh on my face. So, I gave over to the madness of a dark moon, and gentle night breezes, as they stirred the leaves of the giant maple tree that stands as a guardian over my yard and me. Settled and comfortable now, it was time to visit old places once new.
I closed my eyes and went away for a while, to distant places, and other eras, times filled with passion, love, and grace, when I was young, where I was young. The golden haired “one for me” was there too. The one whose mouth curved rather than pointed at the corners; whose eyes, so blue, read me, and knew me, and touched me tenderly with an unspoken call, and I answered.
In the poignancy of the moment, in the stillness of the night, the hunger and thirst for days gone by became a palatable thing. The dew arrived and did its magical thing; quenching the thirst of my yard it also renewed and caressed my spirits and kissed my face and drew me back to this night, this time, and thoughts of tomorrow. I am here. I passed the test once more.
A faint light, glowing on my porch, and I heard a soft voice speak my name; the voice that has warmed me through the years, “It is time, please come back now.” I struggled to my feet, folded my Grandmother’s quilt and slowly walked through the blackness toward my reality. He well knew of my trips to yesterday, and he thinks I’ll always come back, and I will; I deeply desire to; for as long as I can.
His hand held my arm and guided me through the darkened house; I remembered the way, but it was so nice having a guide. I knelt at my bedside and said my prayers. Sleep waited to weave its calming way to my body and thoughts, as my life-long custom takes over, and my lips began their nightly whisper “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.”
With arms entwined we go to bed. It has always, always been this way. I kissed his beautiful mouth, and began slipping away again, not to yesterday, or tomorrow,but to a place of contented sleep where rest reigns and I am secure in the knowledge as love waits, it also will go on forever.
Scripture quoted Psalm 23 (The Message)