"Just get a box of tissues before you even start watching." I looked at his face, shadowed with stubble. Then I looked in his eyes. The laughing man's-man eyes had changed, become soft, almost misty. His lips tightened as though he were trying to control a quiver in his chin.
"GREAT movie," the woman beside him said, nodding passionately, eyes wide, vulnerable.
A chorus of voices joined in, accolades for the movie, comments on the powerful emotions.
I tried not to tense visibly. The very mention of the movie made my mind shut down...and my heart ache.
They were talking about the movie Courageous, the story of men stepping up, becoming who they should be, being the leaders God intended. Except the man in my life didn't, and I really didn't think I could watch another reminder of how things did not go as God would have chosen...as I wanted.
"It's a promise, not pain." A whisper deep in my heart, just loud enough for my conscious mind to register. Still, easy enough to dismiss as imaginary...because the pain was still all too real.
No. That movie was not for me.
I left the home group that night and headed back to my friend's home. The next day I left there and headed back to Texas.
We had survived Valentine's Day and the first anniversary of my husband's dying, and it was time to go home.
Although I knew it was only a date on the calendar, some part of me felt good, like we had crossed an unspoken line in time, a line that said the first wave of emotional landmines were behind us and although more would be ahead, we would weather them well.
I had no idea the first was waiting for me in a decorated bag on my counter.
When we drove into the driveway, our house sitter came to meet us. Everyone grabbed bags, coolers, and "stuff", and one trip at a time, we unloaded. With piles of bags, pillows, and personal things spread through the house, I went to the kitchen to see the flowers my friend Kristi had sent me. Although they were a few days old, they were stunning. Mary Kate had done a great job trimming them and tending them so they still looked lovely for me. White roses and red carnations hugged up by greenery. Perfect.
Beside the vase of flowers sat my gift. I opened it somewhat slowly, enjoying the thoughtfulness, being remembered, not being alone on this holiday of expressing love...of being loved.
Then I pulled it out...
"It's a promise."
I slid it back into the bag and stared at the gift lying on my counter.
This was no coincidence.
This was not a whisper that might or might not be real, a whisper easy to dismiss.
This was a language I understood, the language of a Father speaking to a daughter too raw, too afraid, to trust her own ears. So He spoke in ways I could hear...in a home group I visited once, more than seven hours from my home...and in a gift of love and hope delivered right to me...waiting on my return...clear words too close together in time to miss.
This was more than a movie. This was Daddy speaking...