“I’ve got you,” I heard him say behind me as I hurried from the dining hall. He was close on my heels, but I didn’t look back. I was hot with anger and humiliation, and my mind and feet were trying to outrun each other.
When our eyes met in the stairwell he said, “I’ll meet you at the van.”
“You don’t have to go with me,” I said, desperately hoping he would insist on it.
“I don’t want you to be alone.”
He cleaned my chair while I cried in the bathroom, feeling the loss of the next hour’s goodness. It was the talk I had so wanted to hear — the one about liturgy, about the rhythms of life and how they form a framework for daily communion with Christ.
At least I think that’s what it was about. I spent that hour doing laundry, so I never found out.
My husband drove me across town and back, trying to cheer me by saying that we were going on an adventure together. I silently hoped we would make it back before the session was over.
He insisted on stopping to get me a drink. Something vitaminy was sure to help. Green Goodness: two for $4 at Walgreens. We bought two (of course). It wasn’t the goodness I had planned for that morning. But he was right — it did help.
We arrived back at the church just as the session was ending. Our friends filed out of the meeting rooms, smiling at the savory truths they had just tasted.
By then it only stung a little. Somewhere in that lost hour I had realized what he had done for me.
He had walked away from a room brimming with dear friends sharing the day’s first meal, glowing with the anticipation of the day’s good gifts. Some of those gifts could have been his. I never even asked him which session he planned to attend.
But it wouldn’t have mattered, because the moment he understood my loss, he chose to share in it. Knowing me like he does, he saw that walking away from all the goodness in that place — and doing it alone — would bring crushing loneliness. So he walked away with me.
His presence was a comfort, yes. But by the time we got back to the church, I realized something deeper had happened during that drive across Nashville.
My husband knew it before I did. He called it “going on an adventure together.” I’ll call it the Communion of Missing Out Together.
No one else knew we had left. Our community carried on its good business without us — not uncaring, just unknowing. For an hour, we were each other’s community, the only person who knew what the other had forfeited. The only person who shared the unexpected sweetness of time lost and redeemed together.
For me it was a laundry run made lovely by the knowledge that my husband had chosen to enter my loss rather than enjoy his own gain. And yet he would tell you that time spent with me was gain. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
I don’t know exactly what was said in the liturgy session, but I suspect that in that hour I saw something like it lived out by the man in the driver’s seat, choosing the liturgy of laundry — choosing me — and drinking great gulps from the communion cup of Green Goodness.