Sorry, folks. I’m too busy to write a Faith Finder article this month. I could give you all sorts of explanations—the 8 a.m. phone call with Gwyn’s teacher, the hassle of bundling her off to school, the disaster I’m ignoring in the kitchen, my crazy to-do list—but ultimately the problem is internal. Jangled nerves. Thoughts popcorning willy-nilly. Disquiet, distraction, disease. Can’t write if you can’t focus.
So instead I’ll give you the cat: She’s a lump of white and black fur curled on a blue blanket. From here I can’t see a head, only the slow rise and fall of her breathing body. Her every muscle is slack. Her snores are soft and even.
Or perhaps I’ll give you this morning’s trees, sticky with snow, each branch white against a crystalline blue sky. The snow details the trees.
For that matter, I could give you this awesome red easy chair. It’s big enough to sit cross-legged in, with good but soft back support. A window on the left, a window on the right—morning and afternoon sun. This chair holds me but it also holds memories: Gwyn squeezed beside me, chowing on popcorn while we read Winnie the Pooh; rare evenings reading by the fire when the house wraps silence around me; deep meditation. There was a time, before Gwyn, when daily I’d close my eyes and sit for a half hour, only breathing. A great filling up, a lingering release. An expansion, a deflation. I’d take God in, I’d send God out on my prayers. Stillness must have settled into these cushions like dust. I sense it even now.
Sunlight is in the potted rosemary and creeping thyme. The house balloons with quiet. A sip of hot tea and my belly radiates warmth. When I get up, my day will stampede forward—a client, a dentist appointment, the kitchen disaster, four dozen emails—but for now I linger on this page. It’s an empty palm.
I offer it to you. –Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew