We love to drive together, so we do—a four hour journey of side-by-side and music and leaving things behind. Earth carries us on her hip and I watch the tops of the evergreens wave us by through miles and miles of naked trees. A hawk catches an updraft for pure joy—dark wings spread wide against pale sky. The arching arms of sycamores stand out like old bones against washed out winter oaks and maples—fair sister in midst of wrinkled rough bark and fragile leaves holding on until the last.
I am happy and I tell him all my thoughts—about this beautiful life crowned by this amazing community—these word-lovers I am longing to see.
He grows quiet.
How to touch that empty place—the tender space where two branches meet and grow up and away from each other? They begin as one—climb up from the root and push through the loam of earth together…but one leafy hand reaches for light this way and the other stretches up that way and grows away…
I sing the words to the music soft.
We arrive and I go chase words and he walks streets and stops in a pub to taste some Belgian ale. He watches people–the man who sits beside him, the people at the bus stop, two Orthodox Jews—young men, in black dress with long locks framing faces.
I text him during breaks and he is resting and the quiet in the space between grows louder.
At dinner I press my cheek against the window and look out at the streets glistening in the night—all dressed up for a night on the town. In that moment, I am held.
On Sunday, my pastor preached the story of David and Goliath.
It’s a familiar story, she said. But don’t let that keep you from listening. Don’t let that keep you from hearing.
She read the story and I listened with new ears.
The Israelite warriors looked at Goliath and quaked with fear. They looked at Goliath and saw a giant. David looked at Goliath and saw a giant target—one he couldn’t miss.
And Saul took David in his tent and dressed him in his armor. And David couldn’t move…David only needed one kind of armor to defeat Goliath…
But isn’t that what we do? She said. We put on the armor of a giant and go out to fight the big guy. When really, only one thing is needed…Oh, Lord, when we pray, you come to us and enter our lives and make us strong…
This doesn’t feel like a giant. Love bridges most any chasm. But I feel the growing pains and I know what this requires.
…come to me, Lord. Enter my life and make me strong…
The giant target I cannot miss is love. But I must take off the armor first. When I do, my heart is left bare and I feel small, frightened, vulnerable. One arrow might pierce these tender places. I reach a branchy arm across the quiet space and dig through the earth to touch the root of me, curl into him.
We grow this way—following light but always turning back to one another, braided together in love.
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