I came to mend broken boards on a porch–just being neighborly–
and found my own clay restored
within your arthritic hands. “Lemonade, dear.”
Your voice, a windchime in the quiet
breeze, drew me away from
the incessant ding of my fast-paced phone. So
much unfinished work, on top of Jessica nagging
John Jr. needed new shoes and my layoff pressed into my soul like a branding iron. I never planned on being the neighborhood
handyman, I thought bitterly. “Sure.”
But even as I sipped your cool offering, the tension eased from my shoulders. “What did you put in this?” I asked warily.
“Nothing the Good Lord didn’t make.
Sugar and lemons,” you respond,
slowly working your bones into
rocking chair shape with your own glass
on the wrought iron table beside.
Silence spoke between us.
The rocking creak of your chair on the boards
was hypnotic. I snapped out of my trance and
realized I had long since placed the new boards and
my glass drained.
“That looks so nice dear, my sweet Paul
couldn’t have done it better. Refill dear? Come
sit in his chair and rest a while.”
“Can I tell you about Paul?” You poured.
He called me his ‘Rambling Rose’, you
pointed at the sweet fragrant
roses climbing the trellis in your garden.
“Planted those on our wedding day…”
The crickets resumed
their chorus as she rocked somewhere else.
“I miss him.”
Your voice was heavy with remembering.
Would I miss Jessica with the same weight in my voice?
I couldn’t remember the last thing I planted in my wife’s life.
“Got to tend to them daily.” You said as if listening to my thoughts.
With that, you got up, went to the basket at the end of the porch, put on gloves, and tended your roses.
I slowly packed my tools and returned them to my truck. Reluctant to leave.
But, my job was complete.
“Goodby MS Daphnie,” I said, tipping my hat in farewell.
You held up a crooked finger. “Wait, son,
I have something for you.” You handed
me a small pot with a freshly planted cutting from your rose. Your cray paper hand squeezed mine with surprising strength.
“It’s never too late dear.”
With that, you turned
and returned to your chair
rocking rhythm, sipping
lemonade, and gazing at Paul’s empty chair.
I climbed into the truck and cradled the
plant between my lunch pail and toolbox. And as your
frame shrunk behind me, my
heart suddenly longed for home.
John Jr. would be getting off the bus soon,
it would be nice to greet him for once.
He was getting so big. Jessica’s lopsided grin,
came to mind. She playfully splashed dishwater
as I read the Sunday paper this morning.
“I was irritated she got the sports section wet.” I cried out. I
shook my head, shocked at the bitter root I tended. I looked down at the cutting again. Never too late.
The dust trail kicked up behind me as I took the dirt road to our home. I watched Jessica come onto the porch as she usually did to greet me. She held two glasses of lemonade in her hand. Her auburn hair catching fire
in the evening sun. So beautiful.
I came to mend your porch Ms. Daphnie
but walked away with you mending me.
As I swept my surprised wife into my arms.
My heart filled with joy.
“Can we save up for rocking chairs?”
Turning Your Page: Become a Healer
For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises every son He receives.Hebrews 12:6 BSB
We need rocking chair healers in our lives. Those men and women who see our brokenness and do not turn away. They are the Ms. Daphnie’s of the world, who in slow and steady quiet, speak truth, and challenge our bitterness. Who do you have in your life that is a rocking chair healer? Write them a note of how their faithfulness has encouraged you. Take the opportunity to cultivate awareness of your neighbors so that you too can speak love, healing hope, and peace into their lives.
- Describe a person who has encouraged you in simple or big ways. What gifts and talents did they use?
- What areas in your life need encouragement? Seek out a friendship with a person who is strong in those areas. Ask them to mentor you.
- Find a person to speak life into. Write a note of encouragement. Take opportunities to sit with, listen to, and be available when they are down.
Jesus you are my rocking chair healer. You sit with me, listen, encourage, and challenge me. Thank you. Teach me to slow down and be present in the lives of other hurting souls. Amen
Here are a few of the Rocking Chair Healers in My Life:
Beth Moore– Breaking Free