We wake up just as the sun is rising blinding my eyes with beauty as we drive
there are hardly any other cars on these back roads
I am sitting beside my Beloved
We have loaded the car up with books and we are heading out to deliver them, one by one, to each of the families he has served this summer
I reach over and squeeze his hand
He looks over at me and smiles
We are doing this together, this morning
For months this summer, he has been waking up at the crack of dawn and I have seen him off and prayed for him as he drives away to do this work, knocking on doors, making a connection, facing rejection, and moving along to the next opportunity, hour after hour after hour
I won’t see him again till late
This has been our summer
This first summer of our marriage
He drives off and I stay behind, with child, our first babe being formed in me
I look for work, I try to get to know the people in our neighbourhood, the city we are living in for the summer. I start a Bible study for girls at the little church down the street and meet regularly with these teens and we talk about boys and school and parents and curfews and Father-God and Grace and we pray
I get to know our landlady’s grand daughter, being raised by a single dad, and spend time with her and we talk and talk and we pray
Amy Carmichael becomes my dearest friend as I read about her life
And I battle with loneliness and morning sickness as I wait for my Beloved to come home, living in this unfamiliar southern town, far from home.
And the next morning he gets up and does it all over again,
And so do I
Day after day after day
And people back home, I see their eyes looking at us in that way. They call us crazy.
What is this work you are doing and where are you going to live…?
I feel the hesitation from some and the disapproval from others, and I know this is what we have been called to do this summer
And now, months later it is time to deliver the books to those customers…I get to meet those families he has been telling me about all summer long…all the names, putting a face to the stories my Beloved has told me. He has connected with so many people, and I am meeting each one as we park the car, grab their books, knock on their doors and make the delivery. They are so excited to see him — it is a genuine welcome. They invite us in…
this is my wife— he introduces me…and they know about me,
oh, we are so excited that you are going to have a baby…they know.
He has told them…as he has travelled up and down these back roads, going from door to door to door, meeting people, sitting on the front porch, sharing stories and laughter and life…
I timidly ask to use the bathroom, home after home, as the wee babe growing inside me reminds me of her presence
Sure honey, go on in!
This Canadian girl who has rarely used a public restroom in her polite country of birth now feeling right at home in these unfamiliar homes…
They offer me tomato sandwiches – I have never had this southern delicacy before
They offer me ripple chips and white bread and squash from the garden…
how about a Coke, honey?
These strangers have become like old friends
They are wishing us well and sending us home with blessings
You have a safe drive home, you hear?
Hour after hour, delivery after delivery
connection after connection
on these long, winding country roads in the South…
We have made our last delivery and I have tears in my eyes
We are driving on a long stretch of road, going home to pack up
This is what you have been doing all summer long
These people…Your heart…this work.
He holds me close.
I’ve been knocking on doors all summer long, he tells me, all summer long…