"Can you play nine again?" Myra says. Nine, it's a hymn: Before The Throne Of God Above.
"Sure," I say.
En route to church Joe, Betsy, Myra, and I play hymns, a collection, modern but old. Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect plea; a great High Priest whose name is Love, who ever lives and pleads for me... The words peal through the car like tiny bells, like pearls scattered across tile. We listen to them bound and ripple until the car is silent.
"Momma, can you play nine again?" The invisible seam between song and cerulean sky, drooped low through our car, snaps back.
"Sure," I say.
My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart; I know that while with God He stands, no tongue can bid me thence depart. I weave perfect stitches through traffic. Myra in the back, me in the front, the music, as if alive, joins us.
"Nine, Momma," she says.
"Ok," I say.
Because the sinless Savior died, my soul is counted free; for God the Just is satisfied, to look on him and pardon me. The words encircle us with smallness and grandeur.
"You and me, Myra, we're the same," I say. "We like to listen to our favorite ones over and over and over again." I laugh. Those tiny glimmers of exactness, exact copies of me in tiny slivers, I laugh at the likeness.
"Yeah," she says. "It's sort of like the seaweed -- just one more, just one more, just one more."
We laugh and laugh. The seaweed. One afternoon I ate an entire package of seaweed that way. It was so salty and crisp, just one and another and another and the whole entire package disappeared. Delicious. It made me terribly ill, but such extravagance of repetition it's an engine. Myra sees the match. A whole roomful of possibilities and we see the exact same one.
Something tender and in perfect agreement springs up between us.
5840. "Hey Mom, this needs new batteries," Joe holds up my watch. "Look, it burned out." Between Jane and I we used it until the battery died.
5841. Jack makes us a double batch of peanut butter cookies.
5842. A bag of groceries from Trader Joe's, bliss.
5843. Some new clothes. Spring treasures, a few new things, and we feel like kings.
5844. Craig opens a fb account for me.
5845. We end the week with 147 freshly transplanted tomatoes and change, 16 flats total.
5846. Craig's mom offers to babysit the plants for us. We have pizza and roasted brussel sprouts and homemade vanilla ice cream down on the farm.
5847. "Ya know," Jane says at breakfast, "Now that I know what the Cuban Missile Crisis is, The Cuban Muscle Crisis [a political cartoon in World Magazine] is a lot funnier."
5848. Each of the kids grows a little older, a little more different than each other. I see how they notice and recall events each with their own bent. The difference is striking.
5849. We start taking a family walk after dinner.
5850. We begin praying with the kids for "big" things, things only God can provide. We watch for His hand at work. Whether in the simple or the grand, His presence is everything.
5851. "This is so FUN," Joe says as he lays on a pile of pillows. Betsy squawks her agreement.
5852. "Betsy, where's your baby?!" She frantically searches under the pillows with Joe.
5853. The responsibilities of life lay heavy on us, but joy fills in all the cracks.