I’m not sure what made me stop the car as I was pulling out of the carport, but something inside told me to stop and slow down.
Having talked my husband into going to Costco, with the goal of looking at new television sets, I was surprised at my sudden lack of wanting to go.
Fran and I have been married 23 years, and he is 24 years my senior. These later years have shown up the difference in ages a lot more than before, which anyone would say should be expected. However, I am often ill-prepared for the realities that impose themselves upon my expectations.
My husband remains the calm, loving, attentive husband he has always been, but age has taken on the nuances of Parkinson-type tremors, forgetting things, and fatigue. He’s often tired, and sleeps a lot. Chronic Leukemia and past heart surgeries add to this. He’s not one to complain, though, and carries on with the same calm, Jesus-loving mentation and aura he had when I met him over 35 years ago.
My life is often a sharp contrast to his, full of being busy (even when there is no reason). I do a lot of rushing around, setting goals, writing lists, and running instead of walking.
Today, however, despite my addiction to shopping and wanting something “new” to give me a momentary feel-good relapse, I paused.
Fran was most certainly glad to be untethered from an unwanted shopping trip, though he said nothing. We got out of the car, and headed back to our small one-bedroom apartment. Fran stood outside the door, instead of coming in.
“Going for a walk?” I asked. Fran nodded.
We have a beautiful park one block from our home, and Fran loves to walk there, later telling me about the myriad of flowers and seasonal birds he has seen.
“Can I come with you?” I asked, feeling myself slow down as I said it. A walk with Fran was not going to be my usual fast-paced fevered march.
“Sure,” so we headed to the park. We walked as we often walk, arm in arm, walking in stride, like one human with four legs and two heads. I love walking this way with him.
When we reached the park, just inside the gate, Fran pointed to a large bush a few feet away. “See the goldfinches?” he asked.
I couldn’t see them. I squinted and bent down. I looked and looked. I couldn’t see the damn birds!
“There’s one there, at the top, eating from that brown seed pod,” Fran pointed.
I began to see some movement in the bush. Then a couple of shadows, and finally, I saw golden-breasted little birds dancing branch to branch, nibbling at the brown seed pods.
“Oh, my god, there are so many!” How could I have missed them?
One came closer, to a nearby bush, and we watched for several minutes as it pecked at a seed pod. I noticed the bird had a tow-like black head. We were completely ignored as the little guy enjoyed his meal. I never would have seen you, I thought, had I not slowed down and looked.
Slowly, I took on Fran’s eyes as we walked. He pointed to two separate bushes of hibiscus, showing me how different the two kinds of flowers were. One white with wispy petals, and the other bush with huge salmon-colored flowers, stamens red with bulbs on the end, raising fully to the sun. “The sun is kissing them,” my husband commented.
Fran took a small red tube-like flower into his palm, just holding it without picking it from its stem. It was bright red with several small golden stamen exploding out of it. He asked, “See why they call these Firecrackers?”
I don’t know if that’s what they are called, but they looked just like firecrackers, all right!
We continued to walk, while Fran made this whishing sound he often makes, to call the birds. We saw towhees, woodpeckers, warblers, and more. Countless colors, sounds, and types. We walked slowly, exclaiming at the multitude of purples available amongst the varieties of foliage. “We love purple,” Fran said, and I knew what he meant, because his mind is always on things like the kingdom of God (which he says is right here, right now). He pointed out the golden colors of various flowers, which also speak of God according to him. But then, everything does!
To see Holiness in all things, to walk in that, sit in that sight, all the time, good and bad. That’s how Fran’s eyes are. I rush around, often going nowhere, while he sits calmly, or is doing small things around the house, singing his songs, loving God, loving me.
What more could anyone ask for?