I had been in the backyard working on one of those DIY projects. Years ago, Tim built a log glider and gave it to me as a gift. Mother’s Day, I think it was. At our current home, I have two rockers, a porch swing and the backyard glider. I consider them all tools of the trade. Storytellers must have places for all that pondering.
The wicker rocker in my bedroom came from Aunt Grace’s home in Georgia. Aunt Grace wasn’t my aunt, she was the aunt to my childhood friend Beth McCombs. I spent a Thanksgiving with Aunt Grace and the family once, or was it Easter? Who can say? But I do recall that we ate several slices of cake and handfuls of caramel chews while Grace sat in that white rocker and swapped stories with Norfleet and Judge Rufe.
When Grace died, Beth saved the rocker for me. I carried it all the way back from Georgia, strapped to the top of a van, Beverly Hillbilly style. I think that’s the same trip the kids brought a turtle back from Florida. Do turtles count as contraband?
I have a newer rocker for when company comes. Its seat doesn’t sag like Aunt Grace’s rocker. I keep the Grace’s rocker in my bedroom. I’ve written parts of every book sitting in that chair.
But on Saturday, I was working with Tim on restoring the back porch glider. All the varnish had worn off and the glider was looking aged and neglected, the way I feel sometimes when I look in the mirror. I told Tim if he would sand it, I would paint it. We settled on a glossy orange paint to spiff it up. If you ever come to our neighborhood and want to find us, just look for the house with the orange front door and the matching glider out back.
Tim sanded it and I did a lot of the painting, but he finished up the hard to reach parts for me. Tim’s good like that. The day was sunshiny and my allergies which I didn’t even know I had until this year weren’t acting up too bad. Once the paint dried, I ran out to the store and picked up some pretty pillows to match. When I came back, I got a message on my phone.
It was a note from the editor at Mercer University Press. She had just finished up the latest edits on Burdy, the sequel to Mother of Rain. It was her opening sentence that got to me: “I want to commend you for all your hard work.” I was an absolute mess by the time I read one of her closing sentences: “The result of our hours of hard work is a truly beautiful book.”
Tim, who had no idea why I was crying, wrapped me in his arms and let me bawl a bit before asking if I was going to be okay.
“It just feels good to have someone acknowledge how hard I work sometimes,” I replied. Then I went outside and sat on the newly restored glider and prayed for a good long while.
Praying allows me the chance to thank God for all the hard work he has put into making me who I am becoming. I’ve been a big chore for God. No one is more aware of that than me.
I figure God probably weeps when we acknowledge all His hard work, too, don’t you think?
Natalie Merchant may not have considered Kind and Generous a hymn when she recorded those lyrics, but her song sums up exactly the way I feel this Holy Week.
What is there left to say when we are standing before the Risen Christ who restores us all?
Except, thank you, thank you.