Saturday, November 18, 2006

through the mists

It's good to be in front of a computer screen blogging, even at four in the morning. I'm freshly bathed and powdered, java-ed and ibuprofen-ed up because my back hurts from a full day of travelling and sitting yesterday. But it's husband and I went to visit my son yesterday. During the four hour trip there and four back a song by DeVotchKa kept running through my head like a carousel, The Fabulous Destiny of Charlotte Mittnacht. It's a wistful beauty of a melody carried only by an accordian and snare drum, and it floated through the mountain mists and the stark late fall landscape as we drove on. With this visit, unlike the last, my mind and my heart were prepared. I credit the wings in my soul to the prayers of beloved and faithful friends, and the words of one young but wise man-the only thing that bothers us is us. I was determined this time, that instead of being bothered by my own fears and lack of trust, I should embrace this step in the dance of life and let the Father of lights, in Whom there is no shifting shadow, lead the waltz.

It was a long day, no question, and the temperature dropped from 60 degrees at four in the morning yesterday to 40 degrees at eight-thirty am as we pulled into the SCI parking lot. We both ran into the building through a cold drizzle and quickly made our way back into the visitation area. A grizzled but smiling prisoner greeted us-he was completely surprised we were there. We drank in the full six hours of visitation time before that last four hour stretch beckoned us home again, and enjoyed the rhythm of conversation and just being in our son's presence. I could not discern a trace of sadness or self-pity in him, only the straightforward walk through this jungle, hacking away at time with his sharp observations of prison life and devastating stealth humor. No one can pull up a lung-pumping hilarity out of the most mundane life routines like my son! How I miss him! And yet, the visit was enough. I memorized his smile line and the sound of his laughter to take with me back through the mists. One gem he did share with us-the way to clear a room post-haste is to mix prison peanut butter with a meal replacement packet. Within minutes of ingesting this combination produces gas that will peel paint.

It always seems like that last hour going either way just puts me over the edge from really tired to just plain exhausted. But in the midst of the return trip I had to get in touch with a friend back home due to circumstances that transpired shortly before we left. I'm part of a two-person worship team that plays at a recovery meeting Friday night. Of course I couldn't be there yesterday, so I left it to my partner, a young man about my son's age. Through events neither one of us had any control over, he also could not be there and I didn't know it. The reason he could not be there was that his father had died, and he also was headed in the same direction as we were, unbeknownst to me. I thought to myself how quickly the cord of life can be snapped, in a moment-it all could change and any opportunity to love and to share time could be gone. I came home so relieved and reminded that the cord between my son and I is still strong and a lifeline of love will exist as long as time does. That is all that is important to me now.


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