Write In Between

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Clarity at 4 AM

(And now, we interupt this blog break with a little page from our journal...)

It is 4 am. Not wishing to wake me, my husband moves around our bedroom using his trusty flashlight. He doesn’t know that I am already awake. My eyes finally open. In the dim light I see Jesus: head bowed, arms stretched wide open. It is the crucifix on the wall, a gift from our wedding day, way back when. Just beneath the feet of Jesus, a wooden frame displays a much younger bride and groom gazing into each other’s eyes, unaware as yet of how proximate the love of the cross will be to their own. Next to the wedding picture, my favorite tall “morning person” sits in our old comfy chair. His head bends down as his long arms stretch to tie the laces on his dress shoes. He is preparing to catch an early flight for a business meeting out of town.

I lay in bed, taking in this little scene of my husband’s movements, against the backdrop of the cross of Christ and my marriage memories. And suddenly I’m wondering about Eden and just what it meant when God said man would now earn his bread “by the sweat of his face.” I find myself moved by this man of mine, who faithfully bears that burden in this early morning hour. And in the next moment, a holy clarity comes into view—Someone Else was Once So Moved—and the words of my Lord echo in the example of my spouse: “This is my body, given up for you.”

I wonder how many other people are making sacrifices on behalf of someone else right now. I’m sure many were up before the first light, whether by choice or by duty.

There are babies to be nursed, hands to be held, fields to be plowed, meals to be made, trains to catch, and all-night care in the local Emergency Room. There are soldiers standing guard, police and firefighters keeping watch, and a third shift needing a fresh pot of coffee. Somewhere someone is receiving the last rites and viaticum. And in every case, someone is up in the wee hours tending to what is needed.

Sure, some folks might say there is nothing heroic or special about what they do to provide for those they love, or to keep a stable home, or to keep the bills paid. But what is heroic is the faithfulness in which they do it. The giving up and the laying down of a million and one sacrifices made every day and every night. “This is my body, given up for you.”

So with that, I crawl out from under the warm comforter, and reach for my robe, wanting to give my guy a proper sendoff. We walk quietly downstairs for a few more kisses by the door. I stand at the window and watch his car taillights leave the driveway. In the darkness, he switches on the car’s interior light – so I see his wave goodbye. I return the wave as he goes and I bow my head and say a little prayer. I notice the moon setting and the curious shadows it creates in the snow.

It’s no use going back to bed. The early hour allows me rare time to attend morning Mass before I start my own workday.

Later on, the cycle plays out again, I kneel in the pew surrounded by a few hearty souls who venture out early in this winter’s cold. I gaze at the crucifix and smile. Just beneath it, the priest’s voice breaks in with clarity as he elevates the Host: “This is my body, given up for you.”

©2008 Patricia W. Gohn

(and yes, we continue now with the BLOG BREAK already in progress.....)

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