In a few minutes, I am going to change my Facebook picture to this old picture of the girl and me. For the last couple of days, I’d had a picture of me in an Alabama cap in honor of the Alabama-Tennessee game. Today has been a weighty football day for fans in the state of Alabama. I have been fighting a bad cold and ear infection so, lacking energy, I have dipped into the playfulness (that’s sometimes dead serious) related to the business of being an Auburn or Alabama fan. For those who have known me for any length of time, this is outside the norm. Many years ago, when Alabama played Nebraska, I believe, at the Orange Bowl, we went with our friends, Cosby and Marsha, and I read through most of the game. I still neither understand the game very well, nor find myself “grasped” by the passion I see in others when it comes to football. But it is fun to inhabit spaces where I stand in the margins, understanding enough to be a part of it all, though I can’t in all honesty say I really fit in that well. Yesterday someone indicated I might be able to serve as chaplain to the guys who make up the BBQ brigade at Ascension because my FB profile picture included that Bama cap. I love the absurdity of all that, and even if from the edges, I cherish the sense of being a part of the community of Ascension.
But tonight my thoughts are elsewhere. Sherod heads down to Fort Lauderdale day after tomorrow to spend four days with our girl. I will stay to work, to mind the creatures and our garden, parts of my life that have a claim on me because my life must be filled with more than the absences and empty spots of life with my girl so far away. We are struggling to discern if she is in a place where we can all be safe if she joins us for either of the major holidays coming up. The answers are far from clear. I miss Maria. It helps to remember the love and the joy are still every bit as real as this picture, and that soon enough, I will get to see her wonderful self again.