Friday, September 6, 2013

He Carried My Daddy

One of my favorite Seinfeld bits is about moving.  Seinfeld observes that suddenly, everything in your life is centered around boxes.  "Where did you get those boxes?  That's a nice box.  Boxes...boxes...I need boxes!" At the end of the bit, he equates death to the last big move.  "The hearse is like the van; the pallbearers are your good friends...the only ones you can really ask to help you with a big move like that; and the casket is that great, perfect box you've been looking for your whole life.  The only problem is...once you find it, you're in it."

I thought of that comparison at midnight last night, amidst pleas for Jesus to live in me; requests of the Holy Spirit to guide my words;
and prayers of forgiveness from God for all of my words which, up until that point, had not been guided by any of it or Any of Them.
I thought of that comparison after an hour of thinking,

"Marriage is hard."

Once upon a time there was an engineer who married an artist.
The engineer walked through life thinking like an engineer and the artist walked through life thinking like an artist.
And, only by the grace of God, did the engineer have an artistic side and the artist have a logical, organized side.
In this story, every moment, every part - the exposition and the rising action; the climax and the falling action - contained two conflicting sides.
So the resolution never came.
The End.
I thought of this story...our story...also at midnight and wondered how
- if -  
the resolution will ever be reached.
How the earth-shattering topics of 
"is it white and black or sometimes grey?
"How can you ever understand?" or
"Why can't you say it like this?" or
the subjects of empty breakfast chairs and attaching a detachment and filling a void plus the seemingly constant sound of the keys...
how, oh how will they ever be answered.
And then I remembered...

He carried my Daddy on his shoulder.

One morning in June, donning dark suit amidst the heat, walking out the church doors into the welcoming embrace of the clergy, he carried my Daddy.
He put him in a car then got into another car.
And the two cars parked at their destination and he exited his, lifting that box again.
That bronze box which replaced the little blue sewing basket with the plastic handles.
That box that held my Daddy's earthly vessel, cradling it in its billowy satin.
He lifted that box right up onto his strong shoulder and walked...
a final act of tender mercy.

And I realized, he's "that friend"...the only one you can really ask to help you with a big move like that.
Because, truth be told, who else would say,
"Sure, I'll help put your Daddy in the freshly dug earth,"
because it seems sort of macabre when you think about it.
Only your person, the one who loves you most, would know that it needs to be done. 
And it needs to be done lovingly, gently, with the utmost respect and solemnity as the Archbishop speaks and we all pray and tears flow into dirt and bugles play and  and my husband's earnest face is revealed as the flag snaps in half during the folding.

Then the engineering viewpoint and the artistic viewpoint and the logic and the emotion and crying and the pleas, the black & white & grey, and all of the questions and answers and confusion fall into one another...
And they just sort of melt away as the story continues to unfold.
For I know he loves me.
I know he sacrifices.
I know he cares.
Because he carried my Daddy on his shoulder.


  1. Replies
    1. What a coincidence...I was sobbing as I wrote it. It's amazing what we'll do for one another, huh? The hardest things. The most objectionable. The most heartbreaking. Wow...marriage.