“So can I pick you up?”
“Yes!” is what my friend, Lisa, heard--what she missed seeing was my diving lunge across the front porch and violent pounce on the phone I’d positioned on a nearby perch for fear of missing it ring.
Sunday afternoon was a picture perfect November day here in Southeastern Virginia. The kind of day for trail walks, apple picking, or just raking leaves in the yard. The kind of day that just begs you to get out and play in it.
A morning of nursing duties kept me mercifully unaware of just how terrific it really was out there in the great outdoors. A chronic overachiever, I was focused on my duties—not merely content to provide adequate attention to my husband, I was probably running the risk of smothering him when Lisa first called to suggest that we drop by an open house our painting teacher was hosting that afternoon. I expressed that I “hoped” I could go, if everything was absolutely positively perfect-- I mean, stable-- and asked her to call me back when it was “closer to the time.” Three o’clock was mentioned, in a ball park sort of way.
By mid-afternoon I’d become aware of the 70 degree temperatures and the abundant sunshine streaming in through the windows. I hope none of my readers will misunderstand if I confess that cracks began to appear the all-positive-all-the time format I had adopted. It wasn’t that my husband was difficult—not for a moment. It wasn’t that I’d grown tired of caring for him—I hadn’t. it was just, simply, that I’m and outdoors-loving, solar powered kind of girl that thrives on living as many moments as I can under big blue skies . And Sunday was the kind of day I wait for all year long but it was after 2:00 before I even made it to the front porch to notice that the air had just the right amount of snap, the sky was crystal clear—and suddenly, I was the one smothering.
I had to get out.
When 3:00 came and went without hearing back from Lisa, I began to panic—was I too vague? Did we have a misunderstanding? Did I miss my only chance to get out of the house, and, if so, just how long before my upbeat demeanor simply slipped away?
When the phone finally rang—it was all of 3:10—I grabbed the receiver like it was a life preserver. And in a small way, it was.
About ten minutes later, my son was on the couch watching football with his dad, and my daughter and I climbed into the car with Lisa and her daughter and we drove off.
If I’d grabbed my camera, I could have shown you the most beautiful pictures of what unfolded next. I’d show you the table of exotic foods that greeted us as we walked through the door. I’d get some close-ups of the wonderful seascapes displayed in every nook and cranny of the most charming late-nineteenth century home you have ever seen. I’d show you’re the beautifully battered floor boards, the wonderfully worn rugs, and the hand painted faux tile we walked across in our travels through our teacher’s home, graciously opened like unfolded journal pages.
And I’d have lots of shots of the bright little corner the four of us found in a cozy sunroom. Completely surrounded by glass, we sat on a well-worn sofa as the late afternoon sun flooded across the floor, across our faces, and straight into that little part of my heart that needed its cheery warmth. We sipped beverages, swapped stories, and stared at the red leaves of a nearby tree, burning with filtered golden sunshine. We soaked in every detail of the art and artistry with which we were surrounded.
We laughed. We admired. We recharged. And then, suddenly, we knew it was over. When we checked the time, we were surprised to see that just an hour had passed. But it was an hour that turned my whole day around.
Walking back through my front door, a feeling of gratitude flooded over me: to Lisa, for pulling me out of my reality just long enough to help me jump right back into it in better form than when I left, and for those moments of grace and beauty that come exactly when they are most needed: to revive, to restore, to rebuild your resolve.
For more stories about moments of rest and peace in simple pleasures, head on over to Tuesdays Unwrapped, where each week is a celebration of the overlooked and underrated gifts better known as life.
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