Dearest Rachel –
There is a disadvantage to untethering ourselves from the likes of alarm clocks and whatnot, relying solely on our own circadian rhythms to determine when to wake up. As the days grow shorter, and the sun gets up that much later every day, so we find ourselves sleeping in as well, becoming every bit as lazy as the sun.
And on a day like this, when it’s clouded over and threatening rain, it’s even more so like that.
Now that’s all well and good when we have nowhere to go – which is to say, most mornings – but this is Sunday, and we do have someplace to be. Back in the day, I would switch on the television in the bedroom, and play a song or two until you woke up.
Nowadays, I can’t listen to this song anymore without breaking down. Besides, it’s too gentle to wake Daniel up with (and in any event, he’s in the family room, on the other side of the house, so it isn’t as if he’d hear anything I played in the bedroom, anyway). So for the longest time, I simply go about my business, assembling a breakfast of fried eggs and toast – as if the smell might wake him up. I probably should be more aggressive about it, though, as I still feel compelled to use the table in the kitchen rather than clattering my plates down in the dining room, within sight and earshot from where he’s sleeping on the couch.
I’m probably too accustomed to the weekdays, where I’d make an effort to keep quiet. Besides, if he sleeps through the nine o’clock hour, what harm? There’s a service at eleven as well; surely he can’t sleep that late?
At the risk of provoking a dad joke (“of course he can, and don’t call me Shirley”), he does stay asleep until ten, but that still leaves him a half-hour or so to wake up and get himself put together. I offer to assemble some sort of breakfast – assuming he’s interested, as there’s no guarantee of that – and he asks for a couple of hot pockets prepared in the air fryer.
Uh… those things don’t come packaged with instructions for frying. Guess I’ll just work with the baking instructions. Again, we’ve got the time… almost? Yeah, we can put these on a paper plate and take them with us. And believe it or not, it almost works; I pull the basket out a little earlier than I’d have had it in the oven, but they’re certainly done. Not well done, thankfully – just a little tan. And crispy. You probably wouldn’t have liked them, as you preferred yours microwaves and somewhat flaccid, but it works for Daniel.
And while it’s no more than a ten-minute drive to church, Daniel manages to devour them before we arrive. It’s like he’s never hungry until you actually put food in front of him, and then it disappears like some sort of magic trick. Hey, as long as he enjoys it, I’m happy.
I know I talk to him about food more often than I need to; certainly, his generally non-committal attitude toward my offerings should indicate to me that I should dial it back a little. But it’s the one thing I feel I can do for him that doesn’t involve talking about politics or prophecy – and it’s something he needs that I can provide. It’s the one subject upon which I feel useful when it comes to dealing with him. So I bring it up with him, even on occasions where I’m fully aware he’s not likely to be interested, just to have something to say that won’t trigger something. I want to express my concern to him, without being antagonistic.
So this morning in the car was a pleasant moment of camaraderie. It’s a moment where nothing is said or done of any consequence, but you find yourself wanting – in retrospect – to bottle the moment and keep it for one of those days when things aren’t going so well between us. Especially since it’s over all too quickly.
Not that we start arguing, mind you, but we just find ourselves in amongst the Sunday crowd, saying hello to people – particularly the folks – and finding our seat as we wait and prepare for the service to start. It’s just a completely different mood from the car, where it was only the two of us.
Daniel’s seat, as you know, is in the front corner of the sanctuary. We’ve always preferred the front, the better to hear the message and take notes. Our position in the corner of the room is because of his… enthusiastic… style of worship. He puts his heart and soul into it, and people notice. Decades ago, it used to irritate people; nowadays, people come up to me, and say how much they appreciate his enthusiasm, and wish they could praise God with the kind of fervor he exhibits. At those times, I’m proud of him for his lack of inhibition; although, for my own part, I can’t bring myself to even so much as to raise my hands. It just doesn’t ever seem right to me; worship shouldn’t be based on feelings (otherwise, would we have even shown up the day after the accident?). But I guess that’s just my personal opinion.
In any event, you also know why we are in the corner; as much as people approve of Daniel’s enthusiasm, his height and movement mean that he would block most people’s view of the platform were he anywhere else.
The current series is on the concepts of love and hate, and the need for both of them in our walk with God. The underlying conceit is that, while we as a society are taught to avoid all manner of hate, it is a necessary counterpoint to the things we must love. Today’s message is about how we need to love the truth, and hate falsehood. In particular, John talks about false Messiahs, and I can’t help but look at Daniel at the moment. Fortunately, he’s taking notes on his phone – at least, I think he’s taking notes – and so he doesn’t notice my glance.
I should mention that I find myself taking notes more often than I used to. I would rely on you to handle that once upon a time. Now, with you gone, that responsibility falls to me – and I suppose, to Daniel separately. It’s probably better for us, although the price to learn that lesson seems awfully steep.
And wouldn’t you know it, but halfway into the sermon, I start getting pings from Naruko, and I find myself scrambling to turn my phone onto silent mode. No one ever calls me, least of all on Sunday, and after a weekend of silence, here she is. Of course, it’s not as if she knows when I might be in church, given her position on the opposite side of the globe, but it’s still kind of funny. For what it’s worth, neither my best nor worst case scenarios are valid (not that that should come as any surprise). She’s lost certain valuables and papers, and it’s been serious enough to get the police involved. They seem optimistic that they’ll find what she’s looking for, but it does keep her in country for a while yet. More details, presumably, to come.
And so, that’s my Sunday morning. Wonder how things are going by you, and wish you could fill me in.