Kickin' It and Screaming with Mary
by Lawrence Christopher
"God knows how much you can bear, . . . so bend, donít break."
It was after 1:00 a.m. when the doorbell chimed. I wasnít expecting any company, other than Vanessa, the woman I was holding in my arms at the time. We had not long returned from a romantic Friday night out. We attended the "Rhythm of Love "concert tour, featuring Will Downing, Chanteí Moore, Gerald Allbright and Phil Perry. I paid $45 a ticket to get a table in the orchestra pit of the amphitheater. Because the event was being held at a park, we were allowed to pack a picnic basket. I bought a bottle of Merlot, to go with some capers, cream cheese spread over smoked salmon and crackers. The weather matched the hot and steamy performance on the stage. I took some ice from the cooler and placed in on Vanessaís neck, which brought a look of "oh yeah, you know what to do for me" from her. In my home, I was confirming that look by showing Vanessa I did indeed know what to do for her.
Yet, the sounding chimes werenít to be denied. Someone was beckoning entrance to my home. The illumination of the front porch cast light on three figures, one adult size and two smaller persons. Opening the door, I discovered Mary my former lover, Sapphire my little girlfriend and her brother Gerald my challenger. Maryís face was battered and bruised. My little girlfriend Sapphire had sleepy eyes. Gerald was dead eyed with an emotionless expression.
How ironic that I was beckoned from my couch and the comfort of the arms of a woman, when the last time I stood at Maryís door, she didnít bother to answer when I pounded. Parked outside of her apartment, was a black SUV belonging to a booty caller. Kickiní it music came from inside the apartment. That was the last time I darkened her doorway. I swore that I would never go back.
I had said that I would never go back once before, right after I gave Mary money to help pay for an abortion. The baby wasnít mine and neither was Mary. So, why did I do it? Itís complicated. In short, I thought it was best for the unborn baby. Well, I guess I stayed true to my word. I didnít go back, Mary had come to me.
"Do you have any money?" Mary asked
"What do you mean coming by here at this time of morning, bringing these kids with you to ask me for money?" I answered.
"Itís not for me, itís to pay for the cab. I need someplace to stay."
"Donít you have a mother?"
"She wouldnít answer the door. Her boyfriend is over." Answered Sapphire, before her mother smacked her in the mouth. Sapphireís eyes quickly welled, but she did not allow a tear to spill. She was a strong little girl. I thought that Mary would be the last to be smacking someone in the face given her present condition.
"You talk too much little girl." Mary said to the teary eyed child, then she turned to me and asked "Do we have to talk about this right here?"
I looked at the tired eyes of the children, thatís what drove my hands into my pocket to retrieve a twenty-dollar bill to hand to Mary. I ushered the kids in, showing them to my den. Vanessa met me in the hall. The look on her face was beyond bewildered. With her mouth agape and hands on her hips, I knew I had some explaining to do.
"Itís not what you think. These kids belong to a friend, a woman I know." I explained.
"And what, she dropped them off for you to baby-sit?" Vanessa wanted to know.
"No, sheís coming right back."
"I think they had a family emergency and need my help."
"Oh, I see."
Mary walked in. "Where are the kids?"
"In the den." I replied, which sent Mary on her way to join them.
"What she canít speak?" asked Vanessa.
"I suppose sheís has other things on her mind."
"Thatís no excuse to be rude. So just what kind of friend is she, are you two sleeping together?" The question caught me off guard. I didnít want to lie, but I took offense to the question.
"No." We had, and it was fantastic, but Vanessa didnít need to know that. Beside, my sleeping with Mary was in the past and irrelevant to my showing good will to her and her children.
"Yeah, I bet. I knew there was something about you that wasnít right. Weíve been working together for months and you never looked at me twice until now. Thatís because youíre rebounding from being with Miss Attitude in there. Those kids are probably yours. And just think, I was going to give you some tonight." Vanessa walked away and gathered her belongings and left.
I turned off the porch light when Vanessa reached her car. Joining my guess in the den, I found the kids falling asleep on my couch, while Mary watched music videos. She didnít bother looking at me. I decide to hold back on the barrage of questions that I had for her until after I put to kids to bed.
"I suppose we ought to get them into bed." I state.
Mary yells at them to get up. The children jump to. I ask them to follow me; Mary doesnít bother to help. After seeing to it that they used the bathroom, I tucked them into the same bed in my guess room. I gave them each a T-shirt to sleep in. Gerald is fast asleep once his little head hits the pillow. As I tuck Sapphire in, she reaches up, squeezes me about the neck, and tells me she loves me. We kiss on the lips and I say goodnight to her. It was close to three in the morning. I was tired and now frust rated that my night had been interrupted.
"You can sleep in my bed."
"Where are you going to sleep?"
"On the couch."
"Because I want to."
Yes, I a man, but even I knew that sleeping with Mary that night would only complicate matters. If sex between us would occur, it would be for me to relieve the frustration of missing out on the opportunity to sleep with Vanessa. As for Mary, she probably thought she owed it to me for allowing her to spend the night. She didnít owe me and didnít have to pay me with her body.
Saturday morning, my eyes opened to Gerald standing over me.
"Whatísup little man?"
"I want to watch cartoons."
I escorted him to the den, turned on the television and handed Gerald the remote. He selected the channel of his choice and became content. I offered breakfast but he declined. I remembered later that it was Sapphire who ate breakfast and not Gerald. So I went in the kitchen and began cooking some bacon and an omelet. It was soon after that Sapphire walked in the kitchen rubbing her eyes.
Sapphire is a mini version of her mother, with her almond shaped eyes and full pouting lips. What is now a beautiful and innocent smile, may one day be beguiling and entrancing, just like that of her motherís. I prepared Sapphireís plate, kissed her on the forehead and left to take her mother breakfast in bed.
Mary slept in her bra and panties. The sight of her partially covered, full-figured body sprawled across my bed excited my libido. I stood for a minute remembering the pleasures that body brought me. Earlier that morning, I was strong enough to resist the temptation. The sight of those big, soft, luscious thighs and 38 double D breast barely being contained momentarily weakened me.
I placed the plate on the nightstand and sat on the bed. Maryís back was to me. Placing my hand on the all too familiar fleshy hip of hers, instead of shaking her awake, I squeezed and kneaded the softness. From her hip I massaged to her thigh, then back to her plentiful butt. The skin was butter smooth and cotton candy soft. I felt myself becoming aroused. My mind was shut down and my body was on autopilot. Mary began responding to my actions with low moans and slight motions of her body. We began a rhy thm to a dance weíve both performed before. All was going well until Mary turned to look at me with soft, sultry eyes. Those same eyes were bruised and swollen.
Seeing that reminded me why she was there in my bed in the first place. My genital autopilot was shut down and a manual override turned on. My hand immediately stopped its progression.
"Hey, I brought you breakfast. Eggs and bacon."
"Is that all." Mary was looking at the prominent sausage in my pants.
"Yeah, Iím afraid so." I lied.
"If you say so." She knew that I did.
"Do you want to tell me how that happened?" Mary sat up and began working on the plate of food.
"I didnít want to do something, so the guy decided to hit me."
"What is it with you and guys beating on you? I mean if they arenít raping you, theyíre hitting you. I donít mean to sound like Iím defending them or nothing like that, but could you be doing something to bring this upon yourself?"
"LIKE WHAT?" she snapped at me. "JUST BECAUSE I DONíT WANT TO SUCK HIS THANG, I DESERVE TO GET HIT? I donít know what you think of me, but I donít just suck on every guy who wants it. Iím not no hoe."
Iím not saying you are a hoe. Itís just that you must do something to get yourself in the situation where these guys are expecting something."
"I canít help what they expect. It donít mean I have to give it to them."
"Iím just saying that you need to stop messing with guys who are only interested in you for your . . . body." I sounded every bit the hypocrite with that statement, though I enjoyed the sex, I was interested in Mary for more than sex with her. I knew this, which is why I went on. "They need to get to know you and your kids before they get to know you in bed."
"Oh, like you?"
"Yeah, like me. I have accepted you and your children. True, we started out kickiní it, but I stuck around afterwards and tried to be there for you and your kids. If you recall, it was you who wasnít satisfied."
I felt the return of the anger I had the night Mary wouldnít answer the door and I recognized the black SUV of a guy who Mary had a prior relationship with. This was after she and I began what I considered a relationship, but Mary considered it kickiní it, which is non-committal and non-monogamous. I began feeling contemptuous toward Mary, thinking she brought the wrath on herself from whoever the guy was. Immediately following the formation of the thought, I felt ashamed. There was no excuse for a man to hit a woman.
Mary asked to borrow my car to retrieve some clothes for her and the kids. The guy in the SUV took Maryís keys to let himself in her apartment whenever he liked. Mary was going to have the locks changed by the landlord. In the meantime, they would let her in to get some clothes. Mary also got another twenty dollars out of me, so she could get a touch up on her fake nails. I didnít mind giving her the money so she could have a little time to herself for some pampering. Some special attention could be the best thing for her.
While Mary was gone, the kids and I became reacquainted. There was little effort needed to make Sapphire, my little girlfriend to become comfortable around me again. Gerald on the other hand was a different story. As I mentioned, he was my challenger, along with every other male vying for Maryís attention. After a few piggyback rides and a round of hide-and-go-seek with Sapphire, Gerald decided he wanted to join in. It wasnít long before we were all wrestling on the floor laughing. Children have a lot of energy at the ages of six and seven. Everything with them is "do me" or "do me again." Playing with them allowed the time to slip by unnoticeably. It was mid afternoon by the time I got them to a point of taking a second breath.
Gerald returned to his favorite pass time of watching television. My little girlfriend Sapphire was a little more difficult to shake. I was tired from the short nightís sleep and early morning rise. I got Sapphire to allow me to shower and take a short nap, while she watched television with her brother. It wasnít long after my head laid on the pillow that I found the comfort of a restful sleep.
Just before falling asleep, I allowed my thoughts to drift to the possibility of my weekends being fulfilled with a family atmosphere. It would be just like when I was growing up. Family; with mom and dad and the kids. I would show Maryís kids the magic that my father showed me, by making my thumb disappear. Scrapes and bruises would be such, that they could be kissed away by her and made all better. No shopping trip would be complete, unless a new toy was brought home. For Sapphire and Gerald, I would w ant their childhood to be filled with spinning around and falling down as their cause for giggles. For them, that would be the childhood what I would want.
For me, I would like for Mary to be a stay-at-home mom to raise the children like my mother was. She was at home for me. When the school nurse wanted to reach someone, my mom didnít have to be paged, or she didnít have to beg her boss for some personal time to come see about me.
As my mate, I want a Mary to be able to talk sports and know whatís going on in the news world. Not just whatís happening on Jerry Springer and Jenny Jones. I want to be able to come home from a hard dayís work to a clean house with a hot dinner on the table. When dinner is eaten, I want her to be able to serve up dessert in the bedroom. Yes, dessert in the bedroom. Maryís Krispy Kreme donut thighs, soft and warm, melting at the touch. Her thighs, which are delicately, sweetly glazed, butter soft and mou th watering. If thatís too much to ask, then call me greedy. If there was one thing I was sure of about Mary, it was she could satisfy me in bedroom.
At that moment of my dream state, it was like we were actually engaged in intimate relations. My carnal slumber caused a stir in my groin. The vividness of my thoughts were so intense that I could sense the warmth and sensation of actually having Mary perform oral stimulation on me. There is nothing shy about Mary and I was one of the fortunate that she didnít mind engaging in oral sex. The erotic thoughts moved me to such an arousal that I forced my eyes open from my sleep to make sure that it was just a fantasy.
Once awake, to my surprise the warmth and sensation continued. Slowly I opened my eyes, to capture a glimpse of my on-again-off-again girlfriend Mary busy at work or rather at play. Surprise transformed to shock when I saw not Mary giving me the sensual pleasure but that of my little girlfriend Sapphire. I sprang to an upright position in the bed, while pushing Sapphire away from between my legs. The momentum pushed her off the bed onto the floor. I wasnít concerned if she were hurt or not. At the top of my lungs I shouted.
"What in the hell do you think you are doing?" My voice boomed. Sapphireís eyes were wide and brimming with tears. Fear reflected over her entire face.
"I was just sniff being nice to you like sniff my mama, becuz Iím your sniff girlfriend like her." She said through her crying.
"You canít do everything your mother does and you are not my girlfriend. That was just for play. Good girls donít go around doing that."
"But you let my mama do it."
"When did you see your mother . . . never mind. You donít do it. Do you hear me?" There were times when Mary and I may have been careless and began kickiní it in the living room while we thought the children were asleep.
"Go to your room and donít come out except to use the bathroom."
The little girl who was still wearing my T-shirt got off the floor and ran out of the bedroom. I sat on the bed for what seemed to be an eternity. Actually, it was for an hour or so. Guilt paralyzed me. I didnít know what to do or who to turn to for help. I couldnít go to my boys for advice. I couldnít call my mom and tell her. My shame prevented me from even turning to God in prayer for console. Instead, I remained mentally and physically numb, while my mind imprisoned me with my conscious. "You call ed her your little girlfriend." My accusing conscious reminded me. You tucked her in bed and kissed her on the lips at night." My mind was relentless.
What had I done? Was it my fault? Was I the cause of what Sapphire was becoming or had become or was it more the case of "like mother, like daughter?" That thought turned my attention to Mary. Where was she? It was now late in the afternoon. She should have been back from the nail salon and her apartment. Should I tell her what had happened? Could I tell her? Would she believe me or suspect me of sexually abusing her child like she had been? What had I done?
Later on that warm Saturday afternoon, the children were in the backyard playing. Sapphire had bounced back from our earlier encounter. She was once again, a child. When Mary finally returned at about five oíclock it was apparent that she was high or had been drinking. Her demeanor was jovial and sexy. Just the way I didnít want her to be. So now it was her turn.
"Where in the hell have you been?" I screamed.
"Whatís yoí problem? Where did I tell you I was going?" She did have bags of clothes but her nails werenít done.
"You left early this morning and your nails look the same."
"The shop was too crowded and I ran into a friend of mine."
"Male or female?"
"Because I asked, thatís why."
"I donít think itís none of yoí business. Like you somebody daddy up in hearah."
"You know, no Iím not your daddy or your man. But you are not going to come in my house, leaving your kids and go out acting like some tramp. You have two kids to be thinking about."
"They was here with you werenít they?" The question brought up a half dozen more with it.
"That is not the point. I am not their father. But you are their mother and you need to be more responsible."
"You men always tryiní to own somebody and control them."
"Iím not trying to control you. Iím trying to tell you what is right."
"I donít appreciate you jumpiní in my face like you goiní to kick my ass or somethiní."
"What are you talking about? Iím not thinking about kicking your ass, though youíve given me plenty reasons why I should."
"Mary, you are headed down a destructive path. If you donít change your life for you, do it for your kids."
"Why you keep bringiní up my kids? Like you said, you ainít their father."
"Thatís right, Iím not. How do you think it looks to them, with you having a different man going in and out of your bedroom every other week or night?"
"Iím gettingí tired of you tryiní to call me a hoe. You didnít have a problem cominí and goiní in my bedroom did you?"
"No I didnít and that is not the point. You are now in my house and sleeping in my bedroom. And Iím trying to tell you that there is a better life for you and the kids, in my house. But you need to respect me. Before you respect me, you need to find some respect for yourself."
"I do respect myself. I am a single mother struggling. I do what I have to do for me and my kids."
"No Mary, you do what you want to do for you."
"How are you goiní to tell me what Iím doiní? You liviní phat and shit in your big house and nice job, while Iím tryiní to work and raise two kids, alone."
"And thatís precisely what Iím trying to tell you, you donít have to be alone. You are alone because you choose to mess around with men who may not be there when you wake up the morning after. You are alone because your men only come and go in the wee hours of the night or morning. You are alone because you allow these men to do as they please when they please, and what do you get in return?"
I let the question hang in the air until I saw that its sting caused tears to form in Maryís eyes. Every word I meant so I didnít bother to apologize. Mary pushed passed me and went upstairs. I expected her to gather her kids and things and walk out the door. She didnít. Instead, she stayed in my room the rest of the night.
I fed the kids pizza and had Sapphire take a plate up to her mother. The kids and I watched scary movie videos. When it came to bedtime, I sent them both off. I peeked in on Mary who was watching some movie on cable. I sat on the bed to announce my presence. Mary didnít acknowledge. I didnít feel the need to accentuate my earlier rant by alienating her. I showered and returned to bed as usual; still no acknowledgement.
It wasnít until early morning did I feel Mary cuddle next to me. She pulled my arm around her and placed my hand on a mound of naked flesh. It was pleasing to touch, but that was as much enjoyment I allowed myself. It was difficult fighting the urge to do what would come natural when holding a soft tender voluptuous breast. But I did. Then Mary asked; "what do you want me to do?" Before answering, I laid there for a while caressing and kneading.
"I donít want you to do anything." We lay quietly and spooned together. Mary pushed back into me, nuzzling her ample behind in my crouch. The flesh is weak where the mind is strong. "Iíve changed my mind, I do want you to do something, letís just talk, Mary."
"What about me?"
"Whatever you want to share."
For the next two hours Mary revealed more of her life story. She explained that at an early age (like that of her daughter Sapphire), all men and boys wanted from her was her body. Short of calling herself a hoe, Mary admitted to giving men what they wanted in order to get what she wanted. This included Maryís boss, who gave her a twenty-five cent pay raise for each time he could go to bed with her. The more Mary shared of her life adversities and challenges, the tighter I held her close to me. The thing s she revealed caused me pain and shame of being a man. The pain eased and the shame subsided with the self-disclosure that I wasnít the kind of man that Mary was used to dealing with. I was not above making mistakes and being a sinner, but I was/am above causing deliberate pain and hurt to someone else for my own selfish needs. My parents and their spiritual guidance taught being that kind of man to me. Realizing that, I knew what I had to do.
Sunday morning light came shortly after Mary and I closed our eyes for a few hours sleep. My morning routine was to go out early, buy a Sunday newspaper, stop, and get a cup of coffee at McDonalds. That morning, I bought breakfast for my houseguests and me. I wanted to give them and energetic start to a brand new day. The children were up and eating in the kitchen, including Gerald. I bought him pancakes. When I brought breakfast in bed to Mary, I asked her to eat quickly because I wanted her and the chi ldren to go somewhere with me. I wouldnít answer her numerous questions as to where. I ironed all their clothes, while Mary showered the kids and herself.
It was when we became close to our destination did Sapphire announce, "I know where we going. We been here before." Yes, she and Gerald had attended church with me one Sunday before. Mary made objections to going. As it so happened, it was fifth Sunday, which was "come as you are and bring a friend" service. When Mary saw the casual dress of the others, she felt more at eased.
The service order was a call to worship, devotion, invocation and musical interlude. The more than one hundred member strong choir raised their voices in songs of praise. The first song being, "God Knows How Much You Can Bear." We had the spiritual reading, church announcements, then came the recognition of visitors. Mary looked upon me with a deathly fear, as if Peter himself was calling her to stand before him at the gates of heaven. With the large number of visitors attending church that day, M ary was lost among the hoard of others on this special Sunday. She smiled with a sigh of relief when she sat back down. Offering was taken, while the choir sung "Bend, Donít Break."
The Reverend Isaac M. Lowdown took his place in the pulpit. The church applauded his presence, as he began to offer the word.
"Good morning church." He greeted. Before he actually began the sermon he asked of the congregation: "hug a hundred of your neighbors." The congregation chuckled at the jest, but proceeded to hug as many as they could. I turned to Mary and said, "one."
"We have to hug one hundred people?" She asked sincerely.
"No, just fifty." I answered with a smirk. Gerald and Sapphire were well on achieving their goal of hugs. Mary didnít stray far from our pew, but the open arms of our church members came to her. That is when Mother Johnny Mae came upon us. The church members say that Mother Johnny Mae is gifted with the sight of prophecy.
Mother Johnny Mae came to me first and embraced me. She began jerking and shaking while she held me. When she stepped back, she looked me straight away, saying; "Itís a beautiful thing you are doing. God is blessing you as you are blessing others." I smiled and thanked her, not fully grasping her words. The Mother looked passed me to Mary. She took hold of Mary and squeezed her in a bear hug. The jerking and shaking commenced, then Mother began speaking in tongue. Looks of fear once again shown on Maryís face.
Mother stopped speaking and began crying and rocking Mary as if she were her child. Her crying was heavy, but she held on to Mary and Mary too did not let go. I didnít know what to do. Sapphire and Gerald put their arms around their mother as best as they could. That is when Mary broke down to tears and a lump formed in my throat. Ushers came to attend to Mother, helping her to her seat. She never looked upon Maryís face as she walked away yelling over and over "hallelujah." Sitting next to Mary, I offer ed her my handkerchief, which she gladly accepted.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
"I guess. What did she do to me?"
"What do you mean?"
"All of the sudden I started feeling warm inside and I just started crying."
"I donít know."
"She didnít put no spell on me did she?"
I laughed. "You are funny."
"Why? Iíve heard about people in them cults and stuff."
"This is not a cult. This is a church."
Reverend I. M. Lowdown returned to the pulpit with an "amen." The congregation responded, "Amen."
"Todayís sermon is about making it through the storm. Can I get an amen? When the Doppler radar tells the weatherman that a storm is coming, he interrupts your regularly scheduled program to tell you the news so you can seek shelter. Instead of taking heed of the warning, many of you will become upset at the interruption, depending on the program you were watching. That is how many churchgoers feel about hearing the word of God. You donít want to hear what God has been telling you about the storm that is coming.
"God is the ultimate forecaster, weatherman, and meteorologist. He doesnít need a radar screen. He doesnít lick his finger and stick it in the air to find out which way the storm is coming. God can see the storm past the horizon, past the Doppler radar. When God told Noah to build the ark, there wasnít a cloud in the sky, but God KNEW, a storm was coming. God knows of the storm in your lives." Spoke the reverend.
"Some of you are in the midst of a storm right now. Some of you are doing fine, but a storm may be forming on the horizon for you. You need to know how to make it through the storm. Turn to your neighbor and say, Ďmaking it through the storm.í God sometimes brings a storm into your life. Oh, you done got quiet on me. I said God sometimes brings a storm into your life.
"Weíve been having a little bit of stormy weather here in our city, amen. The other day I was sitting in my office when I heard the weatherman say that a storm was headed our way. I didnít pay him no mind, because the weatherman can be wrong, amen. When they say a storm is coming and then it blows over top of us, they want to laugh about it the next day. I paid the weatherman no mind. I looked out my office window at a large tree out back. I was looking for Godís signs that a storm was coming.
"God uses the same signs when Heís telling you, that a storm is about to come in your life. Suddenly, a strong breeze came and began rustling the leaves on the tree. Thatís God sign to the tree that a storm is coming. To you, a strong breeze can be a friend, a loved one, or your pastor. Hello, is anybody listening! Now, you quiet on me.
"When a young girlís mother tells her to leave that boy alone, because he ainít no good, thatís God blowing a strong breeze before a storm hits. When parents tell kids donít mess with drugs and alcohol, thatís God blowing a strong breeze before a storm hits. When a friend tells you that you donít have to give yourself to that man in order to receive love in return, thatís God blowing a strong breeze before a storm hits. God loves you unconditionally. Man loves you for what you can do for him, but not God . Am I right about it? When a married man comes home after running around with other women and has a burning and a tingling in his pants, thatís . . . Sometimes God has to rustle of few leaves on your tree to get us to listen.
"Itís a shame that nobody is out there. Like we donít heed the weathermanís warning, we donít listen to Godís breezes either. Then itís too late and the storm is upon us. As I watched that tree outside my window as the storm came through, I saw the leaves fly off and dead, weak limbs break loose. That was the power of God getting rid of the dead from the tree. It was His hand that pruned the dead limbs.
"There are people and things in our lives that need to be pruned, broken off and cast aside. Bad habits, bad relationships, a grudge against someone in your life, these are things that we as children of God need to be pruned of. Broke off. By not doing so, we find ourselves in the midst of a storm. God will allow you to weather the storm to rid you of these dead waited limbs that keep you from growing closer to him. A dead limb canít grow. Turn to your neighbor and say, Ďdead limbs canít grow.í Can I get an amen?
"That old tree outside my window weathered the storm. The winds blew it from side to side, backwards and forward. At one point it seemed to bend to the ground, but it CAME BACK STRAIGHT. It didnít fall over it had strong roots. Godís children, brought up in the church also have strong roots in Godís word and His love. If you rely on Godís love through the storm, you too will bend but you will not fall over.
"Like the choir sung in their selection this morning, Ďno matter what it takes, bend, donít break.í You may be in the midst of a storm but donít worry about . . . bend, donít break. With Godís love you can weather the storm. Turn to todayís scripture, it says ""Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto unto his stature.í In other words, 'who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?í Matthew, six, twenty-seven.
"While in the midst of the storm, we often let ourselves get preoccupied with worrisome things. What does this get us? Nothing. It hastens our dying. Let us pray.
"Father, thank you. Thank you for making the earth hold its orbit and my heart have its beat. Thank you for giving me the root of your love and grace to weather the storms in my life. Forgive me when I donít heed your breezes and count these blessings in my life. In Jesusí name I pray. Amen." The reverend concluded.
On the way home from church that day, Mary was full of questions about the pastorís sermon. She was like a brand new person, a child reborn. She wanted to know what I thought the message meant. I knew exactly what it meant to me. I needed to let loose some dead limbs that werenít allowing me to grow. I looked at Mary, then to Sapphire and Gerald in the backseat. I took a deep sigh.
By the time night fell that fateful Sunday, Mary and were in bed, in one anotherís arms. We talked. We laughed. We loved. We kicked it for another month or so after that day, before I proposed to Mary and she accepted. Iím glad we were able to make it through the storm.