It will all work out in the kitchen. The processes of gathering the odds and ends and putting the ingredients together to create something are soothing. Fortunately, there is almost always an activity waiting to busy the hands while the mind chases down rabbit trails and wrestles with the often not-so-fuzzy bunnies to be found along the way. The process of food preparation is soothing, the art of combining ingredients and arranging plates resonates with the need to create, and hunger is cyclic guaranteeing endless opportunity.
The large trays are slapped out onto the counter followed by the packages of meat, cheese, and the bakery boxes. Glaring at the knife, the croissants fall victim to the thoughts rattling about in my head. The thoughts heave and roil, but I am going forward making dozens and dozens of sandwiches for the hundreds who will gather today. The process allows for taking out my unnamed emotions on the hapless meat, cheese, and bread combinations until the trays are piled too high for a lid to fit over them and Little Bit is begging for a ride to school before the tardy bell catches her out.
Sliding the trays into the fridge until this afternoon's memorial service, I reach for the keys the fourth grader has helpfully found. In yesterday's shirt, fuzzy socks with a pair of flats that were located in the kitchen, and a pair of sweats (from the furthest possible color family from the shirt) we stand by the car where my mismatched attire only registers as a neighbor drives by staring. We drive to the school where Erin confirms that she will be picked up early today and that her fractions homework is on her iPod ready to work on while the adults congregate at the church. She specifies which clothes she wants brought for skating (since there may not be time to come home and change before practice and her lesson tonight), and then she's off.
On the drive home, I pray. Turning into our neighborhood the stray thought invades that there was a time when the idea of praying for an hour was a serious discipline that I questioned--- wondering if it would be likely to become repetitive to pray for so long. Today that errant thought brings a sharp, barking cough of ironic laughter. Stuffing down the direction of the thoughts that threaten escape along those lines, I am back to the list of Prayer Requests. Running through them with hope, amusement, sadness, and the various emotions that embellish such prayers, until I reach the house where it's time to turn around again to take Middle Child and her science fair project to school.
Eventually, the activity of the morning slows temporarily. The kids off to school, the mister at work, and the food for this afternoon ready to go means there's no huge rush this morning despite a list of errands to run. Moving a load of laundry into the dryer, I head upstairs to knock out a few miles on the elliptical. After a few minutes and a single mile, I give up and head for the shower. There is no peace in this activity, and the to-do list of minor tasks to be ready for the memorial beckons relentlessly despite plenty of time.
Once in the shower, it all comes undone. The desire to celebrate a life well lived gives way in that private moment to the overwhelming loss of that rare breed: a truly great man. The normalcy of the morning is offensive in light of this loss. We were not created for this, and today I feel it keenly. The tears are not cathartic. This is no more than the tip of the iceberg, and I sense that there's far more grief waiting jagged and irregular below the otherwise calm surface; however, I step out of the shower to dry myself and the tears simultaneously in order to get on with all that needs doing today.