Wednesday, November 10, 2004

We lived in our van

An older couple stood at the desk when we entered the one-woman blood drawing center.

The harried one-woman team took forms from us, and then we sat in the cramped reception office to wait. The wife smiled at Cody and looked at him longingly. I recognize that look from an older woman who maybe never had a chance to have children, or whose small sons are now grown up. It irritates Cody who thinks he's being treated like "a little kid". The woman said one or two things to him, and then she and her husband were called into the needle room.

After them, we were ushered in too. Cody amazingly relaxed his arm while the needle inserted.

We were asked to again wait for paperwork in the reception room with the couple.

The older woman then began to amaze me.

I felt tight, withdrawn, upset in a former mood, and she began to talk comfortably with Cody about a) taking blood, b) her husband's mother's 100th birthday party, c) blowing bubbles, d) moving to Missouri. She was plain with a huge smile. Her husband was gray, grumpy looking until he smiled a wonderful wide smile with dimples.

I managed to talk a bit, "Where did you guys live before you moved here?"

"In our van," she answered. "For six years, we hiked, traveled, birdwatched, did photography. We had a little stove in our van that we used. We loved it." She relaxed me; I think she could have talked a long time, and I could have listened a long time too.

The unlived life theme came up again for the third time this week. I could cry about it (which I want to do), or I could take the middle way, taoistic, christian, which when applied makes good balance. Yet, I found it interesting; I find all encounters with strangers to be interesting and, although I resist this attachment, I find them to be mystical in a way. I will never see them again. What word did they leave with me?

Did they leave the words about un unlived life? That it's possible? That it's a choice? I need to investigate this more. What would that even look like for me without damage?

I have McDonald's coffee in front of me now, and I'm a bit blue. Thankfully, there are no ministry obligations this week. I'm grateful to be thinking, though, grateful for the call again.

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