The rain came in sheets, weighing down the leaves and rushing down the gutters of the house. The air turned cooler as the storm arrived, a welcomed blessing to be enjoyed with a hot cup of peppermint tea I have sitting nearby.
Days later and miles away the outside temperature gauge reads 97 degrees as I park the car and walk into the eclectic restaurant my kids have chosen as our meeting spot for a quick dinner in Scottsdale. The warm temperature is actually welcomed after sitting in my mom’s cold hospital room for most of the day.
We choose an outside table and order five types of bruschetta and three glasses of wine.
Welcoming the now, the moments that are, not the moments that were or that will be has been a steady invitation from Jesus this month.
I find myself wanting to resist the invitation, not welcoming it. The resistance often starts with my judgements against what “is”, my feelings, the reality of circumstances, the theme repeating itself, or the disappointment, it feels like a “no” inside of me.
I felt it working on this post, sitting down multiple times to write and wanting to have something light, perky, positive to share and instead finding that I have no light, perky stories bubbling up in my heart right now. And, I only have the now, what is real.
As I sat with Allison and Steve tonight being present in the now, the conversation was not light although it was peppered with their trademark laughter and playfulness with me and one another.
The wine arrived, Allison’s Pinot Noir, Steve’s Cabernet Sauvignon and my Chardonnay and Allison was the first to raise her glass as Steve said, “So Mom did you ever think you’d be sitting at a table in Scottsdale drinking wine with two of your kids?” We clinked our glasses as I answered, “No.” And for just a moment the now held both the past and present as I savored what was happening, an unexpected experience with my very adult kids in the city where I grew up, where Mark and I met and were married.
As we sat and sipped our wine and munched those five different bruschettas, we talked about what is real, for them and for our family. They showed me their text threads with their twelve year old sister, sweet and funny exchanges that are keeping them connected with her across the miles and years that separate them.
There are things that are true about us, who we are, what we love, and why we love it that remain despite the many things that have come to tatter the fabric that holds our family together.
Suffering, hardship, betrayal, deep disappointment, and illness have marked the past two years. Working to steal joy and leave us fragmented. It is the reality that I resist because it has felt relentless. I have wanted to turn the page, start a new chapter, find a fresh color of ink for what is being written.
And under a warm Arizona sky with a tangerine sunset tonight the story was real, resistance was gone and the ink of a good story was flowing, a story I welcome. A story that began under the same sky on warm summer night thirty years ago when I said “yes” to taking a walk with Mark Johnson. As I sat with the kids I found that my heart was feeling less tight and the space seemed to be opening up again to welcome the story that is still being written, the real story.
There is still ink in the pen and the color is good.
Tracy Johnson is a lover of stories and a reluctant dreamer, living by faith that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when dreams come true there is a life and joy” (Pro. 13:12). She is the Founder of Red Tent Living. Married for 29 years, she is mother to five kids. After a half century of life, she’s feeling like she may know who she is.
This entry comes with a deep ache that continues to unfold. I can almost feel the “sigh” of your heart. I with you, my friend!
You named it well Mary Jane. ❤️
Beautiful, Tracy. I connect with your yearning: “I have wanted to turn the page, start a new chapter, find a fresh color of ink for what is being written,” yet I loved your declaration at the end of the essay: “There is still ink in the pen and the color is good.” Welcoming the now – you have invited me to this place with your words. Thank you.
Thanks Susan for letting me know I am not alone in the desire for new ink, it always feels good to have that affirmation. Here’s to the now together!
Wow, Tracy, what a gorgeous entry. You have me wondering…and wondering more with what is going on in your heart and with your family. I am grateful for the ink in your pen and the color that is good. You have written like a mysterious and good detective story….I wanted so much more to keep reading. With love, Becky
Becky, yes much has happened and I have kept it mysterious…your wondering feels kind and leaves me wishing for a cup of something warm to be shared along with more of the story. ❤️
Your words captured and drew me in, piquing my curiousity, causing my heart to wonder and feel a familiar ache. I hear the tension between the good and the hard, painful things and the place of rest you have found the ink still in your pen. And I am glad you can name it as good. Thank you for sharing your words and your heart.
You are right about that tension
Erin, I feel it. Thanks for noticing and naming that. I can sense your kindness across the miles.
Wine and conversation with the adult children is one of my favorites. Rare, precious moments, indeed. I am glad you were able to enjoy the laughter and playfulness in the midst of the tattered and real. It is hard to engage honestly, listening to each other’s reality, staying present in the moment with each breath. You are not alone in this. Thank you for sharing your reality and hope. That is all.
Oh Julie….my knowing friend who shares such similar “kid” spaces. Your comradeship is blessing, your words a reminder that while my world sometimes feels unique is a way that can seem isolating I am no alone.
Still ink in the pen…and you keep going. Holding and hoping. So, so much. Love you and this entry. Hoping for more spaces and moments like this.
Sweet B….me too.
The now and the real. Yes. More than enough. And yet I hear the ache in how relentless the weight of these last months turned to years has been. I honor you for noticing the moment, for allowing yourself to breathe more deeply.
Thank you…for being one who reminds me to notice and breathe.
“I have wanted to turn the page and start a new chapter” ~ the heaviness often comes with forgetting to breath !
So true Elaine, so true.