Saturday, 08 February 2020 18:44

The Tiny Heartbreaking Commonplace

Written by  Priscilla K. Garatti
The Tiny Heartbreaking Commonplace Photo by Dominic Morel from FreeImages

The tiny heartbreaking commonplace, yes indeed.~Patti Callahan from Becoming Mrs. Lewis, The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis

Sometimes I feel the weight of my history. Time stacked up, rising upward. Day by day. Hour after hour. Time moving, coursing so rapidly that even if I wanted to slow it, I couldn't. It is more beneficial to focus on the present rather than placing my hand on my brow, shielding my eyes and looking up at that accumulated mound of time. When Joy Davidman died, her husband, C.S. Lewis, wrote in A Grief Observed, "I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace." Yes, these are the things I want as well. So let me focus on them while they still exist.

I open the cupboard to fetch a cup for my coffee. On the top shelf sits a jar of instant coffee that Giovanni and I resort to during the hurricanes here in South Carolina. When we have no power and can't make a hot cup of Hazelnut or French Vanilla. Giovanni heats the water on the side burner of the gas grill, and we pour boiling water over the brown crystals. We welcome the surge of caffeine, the taste bitter, even with massive amounts of sugar and cream kept cold in a cooler with the last of the ice. Daily, I see that jar with the yellow label that states, "Every Morning Essentials." I have a secret wish that we never have need of its contents again. But its presence is a reminder, too, that we have survived multiple storms over the years in this extravagant and peculiar coastal territory, sitting in the dark, the candles burning, drinking that hot, acrid brew. Safe together.

Then the end of the week draws near, the duty and responsibility of work weighty too. I lay on my husband's chest, my palm resting over his heart. The comfort of that rhythmic pulse and the warmth of his body brings me comfort, grace at the end of the day. I kiss him goodnight, relieved that God created the night watches so that I can sleep and be restored for the next day. In this rushing flow of time, I pray, "God, open my awareness to the place where the sacred and secular intersect. The tiny, heartbreaking commonplace that is so wildly poignant. So dear."

Newsletter Signup

* indicates required

What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.