Concrete blocks for steps stack to sturdy boards. What is left of a screen door hangs crooked and scrapes when opened. Knocking on this door produces a throaty bass and tells you it is solid and thick. I hear her voice after three quick taps. It is slight, Come in.
I take a breath and bust in with a smile.
She is at the sink across the room, putting water into a pitcher to take care of a plant that's almost died. She shows me a peace lily that someone gave her the day Mike was born. Mike is twenty. This simple fact, that a woman has kept a plant alive for twenty years, is enough for me to claim worship. Yet that is the very smallest of who she is. She tells me, I was going to call you. I'm not feeling good today. I put on my shoes fifteen minutes ago but I don't know if I can go walking.
I laugh, So glad you didn't call me 'cause you're going for a walk.
She pauses quick, looks me in the eyes and notices how big I'm smiling. I know, she says then wipes down a counter.
Admittedly I did use God on her yesterday. Sometimes it takes some God to exercise. She and I both need God to exercise so it only makes sense that when I called her yesterday to find out when we were going for a walk she hemhawed, stuttered, hesitated and I went ahead and moved my queen in a diagonal attack with a bishop on her first row king as my castle covered the second. I said, God talked to me yesterday. You wanna know what he said?
Silence then, I know he did. What did he say?
He said, 'I got some fabulous plans for you and Debi. It's gonna be awesome. You can't even imagine how great, that's how fantastic it all is. But you gotta stop killing yourselves'.
I know, Shea. I know he told you that 'cause that's right.
So what time?
I can't do it on Tuesday morning 'cause of the weekly church meeting.
What time do you get out?
I'm usually home by twelve thirty.
Well. she loses her turn with any more than a three second pause and knows this. It's supposed to be cold.
We have clothes. Remember God?
He also said, 'Shea, if Debi doesn't want to go you will have to smoke cigarettes until she does', Nonstop smoking, Debi. I will die and it will be your fault.
It is today and two and we are walking across those sturdy boards, down concrete steps, onto grass then gravel until we are maneuvering a broken sidewalk. We are doing it for each other and are okay with the side effects our own bodies may suffer though good health is pretty damn scary. I mean, what's to come?
Gratitude, that's what.