Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. (Prov. 4:25-26)
Still in my son’s little apartment in Colorado, I sit in the recliner, close my eyes, and try not to listen as Mark settles my parents in his bedroom. He’ll sleep on the floor tonight. I’ll be on the sofa.
I want quiet and calm as I go over the events of this day: Mom’s confusion and hostility when we arrived, my panic and fear as we fought to keep her inside the apartment, and the miracle of the lovely evening we just spent with Mark—the laughing, happy, normal evening.
Normal. I could use a little more of that, please, Lord.
When Mark emerges from his room, I see him holding the Lord’s answer in his arms: laundry. The basket he carries is full to overflowing with towels and sheets, T-shirts and running socks and blue jeans. He almost loses the whole load when he bends to pick up the detergent.
Peace can be found doing ordinary things.
“Got any quarters, Mom?” Mark doesn’t even have the good grace to look sheepish, just grins and jerks his head toward the door. “Almost midnight. Laundry time.”
The door closes behind us and I know I must tell him. But how? We walk together past a line of doors and windows that open on rooms where, I imagine, life hasn’t changed much from yesterday to today.
In the darkest hours of the night, in the steamy little laundry room at the end of the apartment sidewalk, I talk to Mark. While the washer churns a super-size load of his jeans and flannel shirts, I lean against the coin-operated dryer and describe the nightmare we lived while we waited for him to come home from work. I can’t hold back my tears.
When Mark was a little boy, he never admitted to crying. He maintained his eyes were leaking. They leak again tonight.
I’m still talking when the buzzer sounds on the dryer. While I fold and stack, Mark stands and listens. My words tumble over each other like rocks pushed downstream in a fast-running river.
At length, the torrent slows and Mark has a chance to speak. He asks if he should drive us back to Texas. Suggests I start making notes for when we talk to the doctor. “You’ll see someone right away, Mom, right? If you’re going to fight this, you need information.”
No trace of panic in his tone or his words, just that look in his eyes I recognize so easily. I saw it when he climbed his first tree, wrestled with his older brothers, filled out college applications—that look that saw past the circumstances, the obstacles, the pain, or whatever else stood between him and his goals. I find strength in that look.
Thank You, Father, for showing me the way forward. We’re not stuck in darkness; we can move toward the light, one goal, one step at a time. Help me focus my efforts on what is possible. I know I can get information. With information I can find out what kind of help we need. Once I know what we need, I can go after it. I ask for courage and determination and insight as I begin this quest. With You, no mission is impossible.