Friday, October 29, 2010

A Joyful Heart and a Broken Spirit

"A joyful heart makes a cheerful face...

James sat quietly in his rocking chair, cherishing the cooler morning. The peaceful tapping of the raindrops persuaded his eyes to close and his face to relax. The book he was reading lay silently on his lap as he followed his thoughts to earlier days of sunshine and laughter. He smiled.

In the quietness of his room, James loved spending time with his memories. His sweet Opal had been gone for years, but her memory never left. The rhythm of his creaky rocker added to the rain’s gentle rhythm and set the pace for the snapshots as they passed in single file across his eyelids. His smile sunk deeper.

The rain continued and protected the serenity of the moment for James. He could read another day. His walk through the neighborhood could wait for the sunshine to return. For now, he was transformed back to a house filled with his Opal and their eight children. He would just hang out with them for a spell.


Downstairs James’ granddaughter, Addie, sat quietly on the worn cushion of the window seat and watched rain drops slide down the streaked panes. With hands locked around the outside of her bent knees, she dug her heels into the cushion’s edge to secure their position. Her half-eaten lunch rested on the window sill.

The watery trails on the windows mirrored the tears that fell down the backs of her eyes. Addie had long since refused to share her grief publicly. Another long, dreary day. Too quiet. Too empty.

The silent phone sat stubbornly on the corner table. No amount of coaxing would cause it to ring.

Music wouldn’t help. Listening to others’ joy just magnified her sorrow. And she didn’t need to shoulder the loneliness that wailed from songs born deep within the hearts of those who shared her dark, dank world. She had written enough of those.

The tick, tick, tick of the mantle clock seemed to slow with each minute that passed. Would this dreary day ever end? Probably. But it would be followed by another day just like this one. A few hours’ sleep would be her only reprieve.

She released her hands from around her knees and her numb feet fell to the floor. She slowly rolled up and stood, careful to let the feeling return to her tingling legs before trudging to the door.

Once outside, she stepped from beneath the striped awning and lifted her face to catch the quickening drops. Maybe they would wash away the despair. But the heavy clouds just added to the weight of her aching heart.

...but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.” Proverbs 15:13 (Holman)


Catrina Bradley... said...

This made me stop and think - how we handle our sorrow is up to us - we can wallow in our misery, or rejoice in our blessings. Wonderful writing.

Debbie Dillon said...

Beautifully written. I love the way you've managed to bring the reader right there in the house with this grieving family. Well done!

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