There’s a night breeze blowing through the window above the kitchen sink. Cool. Fresh air washing me right on through.
I wait for crazy mockingbird to begin singing a few hours soon. He sang and sang the night I slept on the couch. I covered my head with a pillow and navy blue blanket. His singing ringing in my ears. I was mad and that mockingbird just made me madder. His singing beginning at 12 am and continuing right on ’til three.
Nope. Like my family hears me say a lot around this little gray house with the white trim, “It was not okay.”
Because when you are out trying to sleep on the couch because voices shouted a bit too loud—one heart hurting and the other fighting back, neither wanting to give. . . a part of the two of you just breaks a little. There it is, lying all mangled and proud. Curled up, that heart of ours, beating strong—but closed up tight—on the floor.
It thinks it wants to be there. Pulled up. Strong. Apart. Away.
Sometimes, we just don’t want to go and pick up that heart. We like it better lying, all hurt, mangled and bent. A messy heap of self-righteous and weepy on the floor.
We recognize it. Those pieces of our one heart lying there. We want to scoop it up, all fragile and hurt. We want to coddle it, try to smooth it out again, buff up the rough, ugly places. Oh, my, we don’t like these tired fallen pieces of love. We wish we could just throw them away. But instead, we keep picking up the same messy bits. Hoping to change. Straighten out. Fix.
That mockingbird driving me crazy. Throwing them away, these pieces, is probably better.
Well, it feels that way.
Sticking it out here on the couch and not getting a minute of rest with that ‘ol nightmare mockingbird holding court in his personal grand debut of glory and show. There is no way he’s stopping now.
So, me, I’m not either.
And this couch, the one we bought when we got rid of the sleeper sofa that was way too heavy to move around when I wanted to change the furniture, is supposed to be one of the most comfortable and awesome leather couches ever. The guy at Restoration Hardware let our three kids actually jump on it in the store seven years ago to prove how both tough and comfortable it was. This couch, he said, could take anything you wanted to dish out.
It’s solid. Strong. It won’t break.
But it isn’t holding me close the way those arms do in that big old king bed we got long before those kids of ours showed up. And that feather bed we have piled up on top of that mattress that creaks a bit so I know just when he is rolling over. And that heavy black fan he blows so loud “for white noise” that I can’t go to sleep without now.
And this mockingbird is not that fan and this couch is not that big old feather bed.
I don’t like lying here, but I can’t go in. So I go to my daughter’s room and lie down on the floor and then the dog comes in and wags his tail and breathes all over me and I have to get up again and get mad and make him go outside.
And it’s 3:30 now.
And the pretty pastel oval rug on her cool wood floor is not soft, but I convince myself this is what I want.
I want “this is not okay.”
I chose that and I choose this and I will stay here.
I know better anyway.
The breeze rustles the rose bushes outside the kitchen window and right on through these white shutters. Kissing my bare arms. That mockingbird better just stay quiet, for now.
Hush. . .
And he will come back home from his meeting in a few minutes and he will wrap his arms around me like he does, and I will whisper, “I’m glad you’re home. I’ve missed you.” And we will climb up into that feather bed and ignore the couch and the wood floors, cool and hard. Unforgiving.
Sing, you ‘ol mockingbird. I don’t want to hear you, but I can appreciate you now.
I know your song, those notes. . . But wait.
My turn now.
Hmm. . . I’ve got a new song to sing.
Friends, we know how marriage can be hard. We’re in the thick of it, too–and we know it can feel impossible, sometimes, to hope for a happy ending. But Jesus is the God of second chances, new mornings, new beginnings. There is nothing he cannot redeem.
You are not alone here. How can we pray for you?
photo credit: picjumbo