It resonated so deeply within me that time stood still and I was shocked that six simple words could mean so much to me after all these years. Have you ever had a moment in your life when someone utters a phrase and suddenly the tentacles of time and space are thrown together and perfectly aligned in the here and now?
One of the clearest and most poignant memories I have of my dad is one of him standing in my front door around 9:00 at night when he popped in for an unexpected visit. I was newly divorced and alone, trying to navigate a difficult recovery from a ruptured appendix. Stitches. Pain. Worries. Lost work. I couldn't believe it when I saw his big clunky car meandering up the long driveway to Bloggingham's backdoor. He was all hunched over the steering wheel and moving slowly out of the car. This was no time for him to be out in the shape he was in let me tell ya. I opened the door and there he stood with a look of determination, tired eyes, and a bag full of apples. In his arsenal of healing tricks he always had a supply on hand. He believed in their restorative powers. And he was clearly on a mission to deliver said remedy to his eldest ailing daughter. I thanked him but gently scolded with something like this: "Daddy! You need to be home in bed. You don't look well enough to be out. Are you OK?"
Without missing a beat he quietly replied, "I'm OK if you're OK."
Nothing more. Nothing less. I kissed him on the cheek and he carefully made his way back to the car. Mission accomplished. When he died a few years later, that night and that conversation soothed my grief and reminded me of his many simple unspoken acts of love.
My dad's been gone for nearly eight years now.
Today my now very grown son came over to help me with a few things at the house. He hooked up a digital antennae and tinkered with a Roku device I'd been struggling with for awhile so that his mom could enjoy the last few weeks of summer without being frustrated. Now that isn't a life or death dilemma. That isn't even a basic needs issue. It was a simple pleasure.
I knew he didn't have time for this today. I knew he had to make time in his schedule for me. But when it was done he smiled proudly and I had a beautiful new picture on the screen in high definition with no more technical issues. And I sorely needed to relax, unwind, and heal from a summer full of caretaking and stress.
After he left, I texted him a picture of me in my fuzzy socks watching my favorite show.
His response was "I'm happy UR happy love u"
And suddenly I saw my dad standing in the door with the apples
and my eyes filled with tears
From his grandfather to me he'd unknowingly tethered a remedy from the ever-present storehouse of apples in Heaven's orchard and I felt the healing of time in the span of six words.
Sometimes I wonder about that boy and the words he chooses. They're always just enough.
No more. No less.
It's not the fancy gifts, the money spent, or even the whole of one's lifetime support or handed down treasures that matter in the end.
It's time spent, gifts undeserved