Marsh marigolds push up from pools of wet reeds near our house. Sunshine yellow breaking through the darkness, beauty birthed in the midst of mud. Brave muck boot wearing children trudge through the slop to bring me bouquets of cheer.
Waffles for dinner. Marsh marigolds and tulips held not by social distance regulations gaily remain at the center of our meals. A family bible plan is pinned up under our dinner menu where Andy checks off the boxes after each evening meal. He’s reading through the Bible aloud to us; us and the marsh blossoms.
We eat in the van together on a separate week day, munching down takeout with plastic forks, a lunch date with covid-19 written all over it. He grabs my hand and prays thankfulness over our Styrofoam trays of beer battered fries, holding tightly to the unity we share in the midst of a chaotic world.
Back home a girl proposes an idea mid kitchen sweep, “Mom, we should plan to have teatime everyday at a certain time, wouldn’t that be a good idea?”
I had answered her too quickly, “Hmm, we’ll see” was my response.
She smiled and kindly shrugged off the need pressing deeply on her heart. She had told me what she was missing without demanding it and I had given her a “yeah maybe,” answer.
The day went on cycling through the meals, the messes, the bursts of voices throughout the house, the sound of boots being flung from foot to entryway wall, door slamming behind them. A tsunami of living.
Then silence when the sun hits hot in our backyard and all the housebound kids forget about home isolation leaving me to a quietness these walls know little of.
I wipe the table down, jelly plops and bread crumbs stuck in the cracks of our ever shifting tabletop, the result of seven months wood heat positioned nearby. He told me it wouldn’t hold up too long, that the pine board top was only a prototype. Though I’ve come to love it’s crooked, uneven character and I’m thankful for the steady companionship of this useful table. Then again, maybe it’s the hands that made it that fall me in love with its worn frame meal after meal, yes maybe.
The thought of a set teatime filters back through my mind. She needs this, the Holy Spirit presses on my heart. I scrub the stuck scrambled eggs slowly off the pan. Don’t miss the cues, God whispers the foresight into my soul.
Don't miss the cues.
She needs something to look forward to daily, Something to count on at 2pm every afternoon, like we used to have with 1:30 piano lessons and 8:20 CFA drop off. She needs a time to count on like I need a date set for when we can go back to church, or throw the masks away or invite over that family we laugh with until our sides ache.
Maybe that’s it, maybe we all just want to know when. When?
Most of the when's are out of our control, but this one, a 2:00 teatime is not. Can’t I give her a time to count on? A daily teatime to settle her structured heart? I think so.
And so it is at 2:00 we set a table with teacups assorted. Or maybe the matching set, depending on the mood. Some days it’s lemon drops delicately crafted and other days we tear open packaged biscotti and split blueberry filled granola bars into bite sized pieces. No matter the sweets, we can count on the yellow teapot’s whistle blowing at 2pm each day. Cups on saucers, tea box displayed, candle lit and chairs scrunched in close filling one end of the table.
It was a subtle clue, delicate and easily missed, like the hundreds of heart hints I’ve brushed aside in the past thinking them frivolous and unneeded.
We have to take a pause from more than just our calendar of events so as not to miss the cues of today. A whole lot of living is lost when we fail to see the cues to live right in front of us. Some of the most abundant living is done when we pay attention to our invation to enter into it's presence. Don't miss the cues.
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11