It would be a stretch to say my parents were like Johnny and June. My daddy was small in stature and my mama although very wise, didn’t exhibit a tone of outward patience. Their tolerance for one another came and went, seems it was either battleground or preparing for the coming battles, a rhythm they finally mastered.
As a young woman, I had to move back home. Things happened that led to college being too hard for me. To an outsider, it would appear I gave up or wasn’t college material. Few people knew, most weren’t informed, college was interrupted by unanticipated harm. So, I lived at home in the house by the pond for just a bit, a young woman trying to figure what’s next and ignoring the need to heal.
Most mornings, I lingered lazily in my room. My fascination with art numbed by my sudden incapability.
My parents were in their chairs with coffee. Their singsong exchange in kind conversation captivated me. This is what made me think of Johnny Cash and his longsuffering wife, June.
“This morning, with her, having coffee.” Johnny Cash, when asked his idea of paradise
I cling to the memory of my parents having conquered hopeless days in their marriage and sitting in their morning chairs, calmly talking, planning for possibility.
It occurred to me last week as I thought of my own children, adults navigating marriage, parenting, career in a time such as this, I don’t remember my parents asking one another a question,
“How did we get here with Lisa? Where did we go wrong?”
And my tender heart is so grateful that I was never privy to those conversations.
Another thing I don’t recall hearing was panic over politics or very much talk at all about trouble to be expected here on earth, that earth is not my home, heaven is.
Surely, in different ways they felt similar fear, apathy and distrust of leaders back then.
There was Vietnam, there was integration, there was the President who had an interview in Playboy magazine and there were leaders assassinated and although we were grown by then, there was September 11th.
Funny story, my granddaddy purchased the said magazine and my brother and cousin found it, ran through the field and after enjoying it for a bit buried it in the sand.
I like to think that was one of my grandfather’s biggest and happiest moments, he probably yelled and stomped but I imagine him loving us all back then; but, especially the two rascals that sneaky and scandalous day.
There’s unrest, division, distress. It is palpable.
Someone told me; well, it was my daughter, “You sound so despondent.”
de·spond·ent/dəˈspändənt/ in low spirits from loss of hope or courage.
She called as I painted and repainted a piece. It was not coming together. I told her it was hard, this is new for me. I told her I have to finish so I can move on.
But, it wasn’t a painting for someone that was causing the mood she heard in my voice.
It was the piling on of other things, the dragging on of pandemic, the way the masked faces and isolation are destroying us all in our inners, depleting our reserve of hope.
So, I sit in my morning chair, a chair that belonged to my mama. The pines are dappled with morning sun, the same sun landing on the arm of my mama’s chair.
Saying, morning has come with wellness again. They did what they could and you are well. You’ve done what you could do as well and those you love are well, will be well. You know this is God’s promise.
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,”
Psalm 92:1-2 ESV
I did not hear my parents tell me that this world is not forever, there was minimal talk of heaven, even less conversation about our souls or salvation. We absorbed it I suppose from the sporadic other voices.
But, I saw and heard redemption when I laid quietly in the room that allowed me to be a temporary guest. I heard redemption in the conversation that was shared as they sat with coffee together in their “morning chairs”.
Imperfect love, grace and wisdom pulling me closer to living by faith because of mercy finding me, me finding God, continuously seeking, allowing every moment, my heart to be sought.
I pray your morning brings you the assurance that God is very near and that He is able to make good of all things, soften the hardest heart and redeem the angriest of relationships.
Continue and believe.