He pulls me onto his lap in the chair he always sits in to type out the emails, the tasks, the daily-to-do’s that pile high in the cramped spaces of our lives.
It was a series of comments about this or that thing not fitting well anymore, this or that salad I should have could have eaten, this or that friend I probably should have texted again but didn’t…
He held me there when I started to pull away, back into the familiar chaos of the busy, making the customary excuses to avoid the quiet place – you’re busy, I’m busy, no one has enough time, this will be too unwieldy, this mess of my heart and don’t you want me to just buckle down and get myself under control? We only have this many days until everything changes.
“What would Jesus say about that?” He repeats the question twice before I make eye contact, and again once I do, holding my waist still.
I gulp, oxygen suddenly a precious gift, because it’s the Name, Jesus, that still undoes my heart at its sounding. I am not sure how to breathe anymore because my husband to be asks me what Jesus would say to me. He doesn’t try to fix it with his words, just keeps his hands fixed, because I am going to run away from Jesus if he doesn’t help me anchor myself there. Because he knows, and I know, that Jesus has something to say to me.
“I don’t know!”
I get angry, the second kind of reaction. If not flight, then fight, and it comes out biting and cold and full of frustration. I don’t know, which means why are you asking, which means can we please not do this and can we please not encounter this.
But this life does not obey our fighting or our flights, and encounter is gifted to us in the worst times because the worst times are the needed times.
I don’t want to answer this question, because the answer is this: Jesus would say, Come here. I have time for you.
I have time for your mistake
I have time to talk about all this chaos, this wedding, this waiting, the days when it feels impossible to do the work I give you
I have time to breathe next to you
I have time to hear you
I have time to remind you that not everything you have ever done is wrong
Jesus is Lord of time. Who am I to tell him he doesn’t have enough of it? Jesus is the Word made Flesh dwelling in the midst of us. Who am I to tell him he doesn’t want to spend time with a sinner-trying-to-be-saint like me? Jesus is the tabernacling, ever-drawing-us-nearer Physician of the soul and body. Who am I to tell him that he shouldn’t be interested in healing me?
My husband to be keeps his hands on my waist while we sit in that all-too-familiar chair, and keeps me there, so that I can answer this question. What would Jesus say to that?
And fellow wanderers, worshippers, lovers of leaving, caravaners on the road and you who are lost in the jungle and you who are scorched by the sand in the desert at noonday and you who walk so calmly and you who ask the fourth question of God when we all stop at three and you who doesn’t know how to believe God has time for the sinners, for the people who should know better and still break -
Come to me.