It was time to work. The yard and stone walls surrounding our house needed to be cleared of brush and fallen trees and blankets of dead leaves. The job was huge, far greater than I could do alone, and my husband was at the office. “Come help me clear brush,” I called to my older children, who were in their rooms, out of sight. Instead of hurrying feet, my request was met with silence.
Here is for the courageous ones. For those who say, “yes,” despite the personal cost. For those with the outrageous audacity to love those from whom they have nothing to gain. Here is for the California preacher’s wife, who at the comfortable age of 52, said yes to a dying missionary’s desperate request, “I’m giving you the orphanage.”
When I was growing up, my mom often sang in church. It was the late 1970s, and even in our small Oregon farming community, most of the other mothers wore lipstick and high heels and pantyhose on Sunday mornings. Embarrassed, I scrunched in my pew when my sheep-farming mother walked up the center aisle with her bare legs and Birkenstocks.
A little more than a week ago, we moved from our roomy New Englander in the small shipbuilding city of Bath to a snug fixer-upper in the woods. “Do you need help?” a friend asked the previous day at church. “Oh, no,” I confidently replied. “It should only take an hour or two to load up the last U-Haul. Then we should be on our way.”
I haven’t seen much of my husband lately. It’s a side-effect of Dana’s day job and his having grown up in Maine, working alongside his father, who ran a campground. By age 10, Dana and his two older brothers began learning how to drive a tractor, split wood, shock a well, wire electricity, run plumbing and build whatever was needed. I used to joke that I’d married the plumber, the electrician and the handyman.