I've been thinking of my late father this week, memories surfacing due to this "cool spell" that we've had, a break in the pattern of hot Carolina days. I grew up in Texas, and every now and again, the hot humidity of Dallas summer weather would break. And my dad would say, "Prissy girl, we're gonna get a cool spell, some rain. Lets go sit on the back porch and soak it up." Then we'd go sit under a covered back patio and listen to the drum of rainfall on the roof. My dad was like that, a soft-spoken, southern gentleman who treated me, his youngest daughter, with quiet tenderness. We'd wade in a lake with no words between us, my hand in his, or take drives to an airport landing strip where we watched airplanes land and take off. I'd place my hands over my ears when the planes revved up for take off, and my dad would turn to me and shout over the noise, "Aren't they something, Prissy girl?" And I'd vigorously nod my head up and down, basking in his presence and the mystery of the jets.
This cooler weather this week connected me to the watermark of love my father left on me, as well as the many impressions I continue to receive. I returned this week to work after a six-week medical leave. The warm responses awaiting me from colleagues and patients was compelling--people looking me straight in the eyes and saying, "We've missed you." "I've been praying for you." "Is there anything you need?" "We love you." "You're strong and resilient. You're going to sail through your treatments." "You look beautiful." It was the embrace of love.
And that love force trails me each day. My daughters like heavenly warrior princesses surrounding me with their strength, laughter and wisdom. Friends sending words of encouragement, bringing me pots of flowers that grow tall and vibrant, like orange and pink bursts of hope. And the love of strangers--the girl at Chick Fil-A who handed me my Fiesta salad at the window. A flawless white smile arced across her brown face when I drove up. I couldn't help but smile back, her warmth authentic. Something passed between us in that flickering moment. Stranger to stranger. Another watermark.
Then there's my husband. I adore him, honestly. Oh, we have our bouts of disinterent in each other, our tensions, like any married couple. I said to him the other day, "I think we're pretty compatible. Don't you?" Giovanni took a moment and said, "Let me look up the Italian verb in English." Then he responded, "We bear each other well, Priscilla." And lately he's borne me with elegance, eclipsing all cheap forms of marital commitment. He holds my hand in the night watches when I've felt scared and been in pain, he tells me repeatedly that I am strong and will make it through. He makes me laugh. He allows me to help him and comfort him, too, when he feels overwhelmed with life. And when he ladles his homemade pasta in a bowl and places it before me and pours me a glass of red wine, I thank him and humbly receive his ministrations. Love.
Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.~I Peter 4:8 (The Message)