Historical setting: 590 C.E. Cottage between Annegray and Luxeuil
Colleen is just coming in from evening chores as I am returning. I hope Ana has a warmer greeting for me. Colleen is clearly annoyed. She said they were going to send a bird with a message to send the monks to look for me. I apologize to Colleen.
“You’ll have to explain yourself to Ana.” She says that as a threat.
“Of course I will. Is Ana alright?”
“You gave her extra worry. She already has to concern herself with keeping her family safe and can do nothing else all alone to make everything fine.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t apologize to me! Tell it to your wife!”
And so I go immediately to Ana’s bedside. In her face I see the whole of the sky, clouds clearing from rain, and now the sun is beaming brighter than ever. I wipe her tear and take her close to me. She is a full bundle of softness and I realize she has released her strong iron rod of personal fortitude in order to share our tender marriage. I shouldn’t have taken all day for such a brief morning errand. I can tell her I’m sorry to be so late as I am sorry. I know “sorry” with God and with a wife is nothing when it’s only a word. So I make the sorry as a promise.
“I won’t ever linger away from home when you can’t come along too.”
“Don’t say ever,” she answers. “You can’t promise me an ever, just promise to think of your family first.”
Dear God, You and I both know I can defend myself here, and say that my first commitment is to you, and I was off at a church. She’ll understand. But you are the very nature of love and every little earthly, tangible display of love on earth, in all the chants and icons of religions and in all the obligations of marriage. All loves share in your love so wide and all-covering that everything of earth fits safely under the your vast wing. Forgive my thoughtlessness. Guide my obligation for belonging. Let my promise of ever be honest even in my own heart. Amen.
“Ana, I do promise you the whole of ever.”
Colleen prepared cheese and biscuit but no one seems hungry. “I’ll tell her to bring it in here and we can all eat together.”
I suppose Colleen shouldn’t have to eat alone either.