to mother and father on their day
(wishing you many more years of love)
He stumbled out of the mini mart on the corner
Plastic flip-flops too small for his feet
He looked gruff, in his ragged plaid button-up
The only possessions he carried were a cigarette pursed between lips and a pint sized milk carton nearly hidden within a burly right-hand grip
Instinctively I locked my door. My first impression of him sent a chilled fear down my spine.
Sitting there in my truck, eyes locked on this stranger, my gaze drifted up to his eyes
his big sad eyes
dark and lost hanging luminously over gray shadows, telling a story of sleepless nights.
does anyone love him?
Was he on his way home to his family? to a wife and kids? a baby and a dog?
Do his parents phone him on the weekend? Just to check in and remind him that they love him?
Or was he lonely? Was the single serving milk to be brought home to stale cereal for one, on a cluttered couch, in an apartment scattered with cigarette butts?
When I looked further into his eyes. I feared this was true. A one bedroom apartment in this hard part of town was his sad reality.
Days later I find myself following mother and sister out into the dark of our yard. Finding family huddled in the cold summer night around a campfire.
cracking and sparking
laughter and chatter
marshmallows on sticks and wine in plastic glasses.
We weave together like a tapestry.
Complicated but beautiful
intricate with detail.
This reminds me of the man at the mini mart on the corner.
And in this moment, huddled close with those dear to heart, I remember to thank God for family.
Thank God for my parents.
Bodies meshed, forming the center of this tapestry.
He held her up when she was alone and rejected.
Years later she was his support when he felt himself falling.
With love and a deep passion they wove new threads. Each thread came with potential to weave its own piece.
A priceless creation with such a strong center.
It held up through the strongest storms, and was sometimes trampled through the dirt.
Every time they touched, kissed, held hands, exchanged words, you saw it
an untouchable bond made strong only through time and an imperfect understanding.
I pray that one day the stranger would know a love like my parents do. a love with no limits.
Happy anniversary mom and dad.