Dinner guests gone, my out-of-town relatives tucked in for the night, I went outside last night to blow out the candles on the patio. I sat. The weather has been blessedly mild in St. Louis the past few days. Unheard of for it not to be hotter than a fire cracker on the 4th of July. The evening air was lovely, scent of gun powder notwithstanding.
We’d had a good night. People I love, dotted my well worn deck, with the warped plank that’s curled up on one end. I cover it with the dogs’ water bowl, lest somebody land face first in the flower bed. We’re vertically challenged as it is. My friend Mark showed up with a guitar, must have known we’d love some Neil Young to end the night.
That’s what this is about then, right? Love? Oversimplification, I understand, but sometimes it bears repeating. That’s what we’re put here for, you know, love.
Fireworks subsiding, evening summer soundtrack gaining, melancholy ebbing, my thoughts turned to Sean. Seannie, my youngest child, who’d called me from Minnesota earlier in the day, alone for the first time on a holiday. He’s up in Rochester for a summer journalism gig. He was hanging in , had gone to a bar to get a beer and a burger and said he was doing okay, but for the first time ever, on a holiday, a holiday for which our little burb of Webster Groves is known far and wide, Seannie was all by his lonesome.
There’s a truth just under the surface of that phrase, “all by his lonesome,” even, “all by myself.” Because when we are present to the gift of our own heart beating and the comfort of our own company, how can we be alone? I am by myself. I am with me. As I sat there alone last night, I was gratefully reminded of many a solitary summer night on the road, two years ago when I came to fully appreciate the peace which comes from solitude. It reminds me of the song we used to sing in Sunday school:
I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding, down in my heart, down in my heart, down in my heart.
I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding, down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.
Two years ago today, Libby and I backed out the driveway and waved goodbye to Sean and Lou. I didn’t let Sean see me cry. I was scared. I didn’t know what I was doing. Hells bells, I wasn’t even sure of where I was going. Honestly, I felt a little bit like an imposter. In my heart of hearts, I didn’t know until I drove away if I’d really go through with leaving my life behind for a couple of months to chase down something I thought it was missing.
Turned out to be me.
Now, two years down the road, my bird has flown. Peace and love to you, Sean. I know you’ll find it.