"So has the Lord taught you anything lately?" I ask. Jane and I skirt down a narrow street. Budding trees line the curb. Green the color of adoration silhouettes the sky.
"Be nice," Jane says, "even if you don't get what you want." Her liquid blue eyes, the gems of her face, guileless, unguarded, smooth over the green trees.
"Mmm," I say. Be nice. Nice. A small sphere of rightness slides down my throat. The shape of a bubble, the weight of a universe, it slides, slides down until I can't feel it any more, just a growing revulsion at the meanness I laced through my words at Craig.
"I've gotten many chances to practice that lately," she says. For a moment, our worlds overlap. The cathedral of sky, the shattering glory green of those trees, defenses fall and there we are: the pivot point of a perfect circle.
"I know the feeling," I say. A horizon of rightness encircles us. Be nice. Do good. Lay down our life along that perfect rim of goodness. For a minute I see it, the choice: receive good or become good. "That's a good one," I say. "It seems like we never get done practicing that one."
"Never ever," she says. Balanced there, the age old question dangles before us. We take it in. Receive or become. A silent camaraderie passes between us.
Cobblestones of faith take shape beneath our feet.
5346. "I can't hear the reading inside my head when you guys are talking," Lucy scolds during silent reading.
5347. "Hello, cold hands," Myra says when I give her a hug.
5348. "My high," Lucy chatters at dinner, "was that I was able to do multiplication. And my low, um, um," she crunches the long arm of a carrot. "Um. I didn't have a low. Wouldn't it be funny if you didn't have a high?" Inconceivable.
5349. "Smells like a horse," Myra says. "I think it smells like someone smoking," I say. "I think it smells like a frog," she says, "and an elephant. Pooping. It smells like poop is somewhere."
5350. "That is a girl I like," Myra points to a construction sight. A woman in neon green holds a stop sign across traffic. "'Cause her has a cute hat in my favorite color," she says.
5351. My parents come for dinner. We enfold in the usual banter, dinner the playground of love.
5352. Almond soap, the kind that can envelope a whole bathroom.
5353. Mom and I compare notes on the state of this world. We find an indelible thread of truth laced between the words.
5354. Myra turns 4.
5355. Lucy turns 6 tomorrow.
5356. The big wide family comes over for a birthday party. We scribble notes about each girl, let the moments pass slowly, memorize the love between us.
5357. "I ate my oatmeal," Myra chirps, "'cause that's what the Bible says. If you don't like it, eat it anyway."
5358. "I don't really like you drinking out of bowls," I say. Myra frowns, lower a full bowl of water form her mouth. "'Cause I will wreck it?" she says. "No, it's just kind of weird," I say. "How I drink out of it?" she says and stares at her hands. "No, people just don't drink out of bowls," I say. "I know," she concedes, then leans forward in a conciliatory way. "Sometimes I do," she says, "I want to 'cause I like doing it." Four, it's a beautiful age.
5359. Mother's Day. I salute the unimaginable sacrifice and perfection of my mother. Craig's too. Nothing compares to a mother's love.
5360. Another quilt takes shape beneath my fingers.
5361. Material for a ladybug picnic skirt.
5362. Jane and I take a date to the Cathedral. They let us wander the magnificent old building for 40 minutes all alone. To the glory of God, we find this written all over its walls.
5363. Joe holds up a grubby paw. "Is that dirt?" I ask and brush off his palm. He grins, tilts his head. "No, HAND," he says.
5364. Third John 1:4 rings in my ears: I have not greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. My hope, my prayer, my anthem, I have no greater joy.