I stay with Mom and Dad

for a week

before his surgery.

We cry a little,

talk a lot,

pray all the time:

the three of us together,

with everyone who stops by,

or calls on the phone.

Packing up

two distraught people

to go to San Francisco

for surgery

is only accomplished in spurts

between

answering the doorbell

and the telephone

which rings again.

“This is the last time I’ll answer it,”

Dad talks to a colleague.

I load the trunk,

check off items on the list with Mom,

walk through the house—

closing latches, locks, windows—

then rearrange the trunk.

I stand in front of Dad,

Point to my watch.

I pace.

Mom gets on the other line,

and calls to me,

“Get on the phone.

We’ll pray for a safe trip.”

I kick the sofa,

grind my teeth,

take a deep breath,

pick up the phone

to listen

while others pray

for the rain to ease,

for energy,

for safe travel

while I watch the minute hand on my watch.

I grip the steering wheel as we set out

to traverse unfamiliar territory

masked by fog and rain

and find a tunnel of sunshine

on clearly marked roads

that lead strait to our destination.

Thank you, God,

for answering a prayer grudgingly offered.

~ Kathie Evenhouse, 1992

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