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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Alone Again Or...


There is a specific chair in my heart.  A stackable wooden one, the kind you might find in a bar or restaurant.  Covered in crepe paper streamers with balloons taped to the frame and all around the seat.  I decorated this chair myself.  It is truly a sight for sore eyes, but this chair is for you, Claire.  Here is where you can sit and be with me for the rest of my life.

I will bring you the gifts of my everyday pursuits and place them at your feet.  Just as I've always done.  As you unwrap and examine each story and occasion, admiring the contents, I will tape all the ribbons and bows to a paper plate and make you a ridiculous hat.

"You have to wear this thing, you know.  At least, so we can get a photo," I'll suggest.  And you will make a face because your hair looks so wonderful, and this monstrous headpiece will surely put an end to that.

"Can't we do it later?" you'll ask, grabbing my hands in yours.  "This is such a magnificent party, Mary.  I simply adore you!  And I can't get over this chair."

"No." I instruct, ignoring your request and fastening the straps beneath your chin.  "Later, we'll forget.  We have to take the picture right now.  Hold it straight, just like this.  I'm gonna run to the car and look for the camera."

And of course, you'll indulge me.  You always do.

When you told me you were sick, my darling Claire, I immediately went to God to voice my complaints.  I mean, concerns.  He and I are close, but I knew right away that my happiness was in jeopardy.

"Oh no, you don't," is what I said.  To God.

As if my reluctance to accept this news would somehow challenge and affect the outcome.

"Oh no, you don't."

Perhaps the most unproductive response one might choose when confronted with unpleasant information.  But given the circumstances, "Oh no, you don't" was all I could manage.  A knee-jerk reaction.  I know you'll never agree, but I can be such a jerk.

I realize our lives are always changing, and that's how we continue to grow.  We talk about this all the time, Claire.  You are the person I come to, without fail, to discuss these potential changes and celebrate all the growth.  And awareness.  And enlightenment.  And awesome, awesome haircuts.  Now, none of that seems possible without you.  And I am beside myself.

I need God more than ever.  But instead, I continued to threaten him.

"How dare you," I cried, indignantly.  "How dare you."  To God.

I use "How dare you" with my children when they misbehave and I'm at my wits' end.  When I really want to get their attention and nothing else is working.  "How dare you" seems to suggest "Mister, you have gone too far."  But unfortunately, there's something about "How dare you" that makes them cry.  And then, I cry.  And I end up feeling worse.

Well, the same thing happened with God.

I knew you would leave me.  I could feel the shift when you and I last spoke. My prayers were reckless and self-serving.  I scrambled to prevent this change.

"I'm sorry I didn't call you back," you said.  "Please know that I love you."

As if there were ever a doubt.  You have loved me from the moment we met.  I remember trying to describe you to my husband.  Your lively, benevolent nature.  "She can't be for real," I said.  "No one is that good."

And I was wrong.  You are  that good.  You are  the perfect friend.

Back to God I went, this time with what I thought was a much less hostile approach.

"I don't want to be without this girl.  Please, Lord.  Anyone, but her."

I am brokenhearted, but I remain faithful that God knows how desperate I feel.  He recognizes the depths of my sorrow.  He also believes in my strength and worth.  God has blessed me with one of the most beautiful relationships I have ever known.  Your love has been a gift that no one but God could have given me.

I don't understand everything yet.  But you are an angel, Claire.  Of this, I am certain.  And you are here in a new and different way.

That's why I decorated the chair.  So we can be together.

Thank you, God for giving me the idea.  For giving me what I need, even if it's not what I want.

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