OK, so a little lighter fare tonight. Just because...well, just because Beve said I absolutely had to tell this story and I've been somewhat preoccupied with heavy-duty things like sick and dying parents, parents who need constant care, and so many plate spinning in the air Beve and I collapse into bed at night only to discover sleep isn't happening. I can't fall asleep and he can't stay asleep and our hyper-crazy Springer, Jamaica, bays in the middle of our insomnia for no particular reason that we can discern. All this to say what I've said over and over, that it's a bit of a hard season for us.
So a little vignette from our life:
A few days ago, while E was off sunning herself at her BFF's lake place in Idaho, we went out for half-price appetizers after Beve finished mowing. Beve parked the car and we walked around the building toward the front of the restaurant, where, sitting on a bench right outside the front door, was a very large woman, holding a metal dog dish, making a kind of gurgling sound. On the sidewalk was a HUGE, spreading flood of vomit, and let me tell you, that extra-large dog dish was insufficient for the task at hand, or at mouth in her case. Another woman stood beside her, kind of wringing her hands and rocking on her heels.
Now I should tell you one thing I inherited from my mother was a very quick gag reflex. I'm not kidding, back in the days of small children, Beve knew he had to be on deck when vomiting was involved or he'd be taking care of me as well. Just the thought can turn my stomach slightly, so the sight of such, shall we say robust, purging was chilling. And it was truly Olympic vomiting. Beve kept saying, "She wasn't even taking breathes, it was just gurgling up like a fountain." Now that's a picture, huh?
We thought it our civic duty, when the hostess asked how we were doing, to tell her about what was going on right outside the front door to their business--in full view of patrons through the windows, even! She was quite appalled, seated us and went running for some water. Our waitress (though my appetite was compromised, Beve's never is!) was a former student of Beve's so she plopped down and we told her the whole story. Before too long, we were watching the hostess, our waitress, the manager carrying increasingly larger vessels of water out the front door. They must have carted ten or more gallons of water past our table, in pitchers, clear square tubs, buckets, etc. The manager diplomatically moved the women, but what was left was much, much harder to remove. Stubbornly hard.
And that's probably always the truth, isn't it? There's actually even a Biblical truth here. Jesus said, "Listen and understand. What doesn't into your mouth does not defile you, but what comes out of your mouth, that is what defiles you." (Matthew 15:11) Of course He is speaking the words we speak as what actually defiles us, but the picture of this stubborn bile on that sidewalk and the many people and work it took to clean it way is a great metaphor for what happens when we vomit cruelty, insensitivity, intolerance toward others. I think of things people say that they couch as 'jokes'--really, really hurtful words that are not jokes at all. How long does it take for that vomit to be cleaned out of someone's life? It is what comes out of your mouth that defiles you. No wonder I'm feeling a little nauseated.