Jacob, what is this?
Let me see...oh, that's just..nothing.
It wasn't nothing. Several days ago I noticed a folded piece of paper balanced on top of the wastebasket in the den, as I finally felt enough energy to clean a little, I reached under the desk to empty the basket and my fingers fell on the paper instead. It was notes for a sermon. Jacob usually writes out his sermons or even types them up on the computer and then works at them out loud until he no longer needs the notes, but he never ever throws the notes away or deletes them. This one appeared to be complete, and new, for I had never heard it before. I sat down in the chair and read it, starting with the title "Let your Life Speak". I was in tears before I got to end, knowing full well why it ended up in the wastebasket. It was dated for October 1. Which meant that was the date he wanted to deliver that sermon, to herald the arrival of fall here in the city, turning over a new leaf, letting the actions you choose tell of your character, of your faith, of your love of God, of being who you should be, who you want to be.
Instead Jacob spent October 1 in a waiting room biting his nails and trying to hold himself together while I was in surgery fighting for my life. Our baby was gone, the kids once again with the neighbors while we inhaled the acrid antiseptic scent of life interrupted.
But it isn't nothing. It's some of the most beautiful writing he has ever done. It showed the most joy and enthusiasm for life that I have ever read from him and I didn't want it to disappear. I brought it to him and asked him, hoping he'd look at it again and decide that he could still deliver it with the same emotions.
Only he can't. Right now he wants to be protective and strong and grateful. He feels like trying to give the sermon anyway would weaken him, would expose us to raw wounds and would hurt so deeply once again. He's patient to wait. He's aware that we are catching up, and that we can only go so fast. Healing takes time. Or at least that's what he always tells me.
So with that in mind, I folded it up again and put it away, at the bottom of a drawer containing various treasures like extra skeleton keys for the bedroom doors and Ruth's stray hair ribbons, a tin car that my Dad gave to Henry and three silver baby spoons, my skating badges, extra copies of photos from Jacob's collection and emergency phone numbers for the church.
Jacob, you told me once that when you struggle to deliver a message that you learn the most. Maybe you should give this one.
Inwardly right then, I wanted to ask God why I always make Jacob cry, but I didn't. Instead I hugged him as hard as I could, not letting go. Because he needs comfort as much as anyone. Even with the wings. And the tears.
He's going to preach that sermon this morning.