And when her heart is overwhelmed…

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And when her heart is overwhelmed, juwonodutayo.com

‘Let’s go people!’

Those three words usually made my daughter run to me beaming with smile regardless of what she was doing.

But not today.

She was not feeling a hundred percent. And she had been like that for three days, unable to hold any food down, unable to sleep well at night. I went to where she sat on the couch and held her. I played with her a little hoping to get just a tiny trace of a smile. She nipped her lips as if she knew I needed some encouragement.

‘Are you sure you want to go today?’

‘Today is Sunday, daddy. We have to go to church.’

‘I know today is Sunday, Princess. But you are not feeling well.’

She got up and walked to the door. ‘See…daddy…Let’s go.’

‘Okay,’ I walked to her and crouched in front of her, ‘wait for me, let me check your mum inside.’ I cleaned her running nose and helped her with the sweater.

‘Thank you, daddy.’

‘You’re welcome. Wait here for me, okay?’ I kissed her and went to the room.

‘Baby, are you okay?’ My wife was sitting on the bed backing the door.

She coughed a couple of times before she answered. ‘I’m fine. Just a bit tired.’ She raised her head. ‘Is she still adamant?’

‘Yes. She is actually waiting for us by the door.’

‘Are you serious?’ She giggled and sounded surprised.

‘What do you say?’

‘If it’s going to make her feel better, let’s go.’

‘But you know we can pass if you are not strong enough, right?’

‘I know, but she really wants to go.’

‘I know. But are you strong enough?

‘I will be fine.’ She got up from the bed, turned and I zipped up her gown.

‘Have you taken your medication yet?’

‘Yes I have.’ She sneezed. ‘Is Josephine ready?’

‘She is still in her room.’ I looked at her again questioning her resolve to go.

She smiled. ‘I’m fine. Don’t worry.’

I didn’t believe that. We practically couldn’t get more than two hours of sleep through the night. She coughed for most part. And in between the little girl had to be tended. The weekend was spent in the hospital, with the two of them needing to see the doctor. Of course, the doctor simply advised she took some rest but I wished that was as simple as it was said.

I would have allowed this Sunday pass if our little one hadn’t insisted she wanted to go to church. And my wife pulled her full weight behind the request with scant regard for her own health.

‘What if you stay back and sleep while we go?’

‘She is, honestly, not totally my excuse, I actually want to go too.’ She wore her shoes.

‘If you insist.’ Like mother, like daughter. I have to be the only unbeliever in this house.

‘Let’s go.’ She took a final look at herself in the mirror.

I switched off all the lights and locked the room.

Church was seven minutes’ drive. We would normally arrive thirty minutes before worship service started. It wasn’t one of those normal days, we barely made it on time. I parked the car. Josephine walked our daughter while I waited for my wife to step out.

She did but when she turned I noticed the gown she wore was a little awkward at the back, something about the threading a bit loose at the bum. I called her attention to it. I felt it could be managed. But she didn’t.

‘That means you have to go back home. Better!’ I sounded a bit overjoyed she would finally get some deserved rest. ‘I think you should just stay back when you get home, we will be fine.’

She collected the car keys, drove off and ignored my counsel. I would be right to assume that fell on deaf ears. I settled our daughter in class. Immediately she saw her friends and Sunday School teacher, her face lit up and she suddenly seemed full of health and spirit. Our coming made sense, after all.

Praise was already in session when I found a seat. One of our seatmates noticed the seat beside me was empty and asked where my wife was. I wanted to tell her she couldn’t make it but I was too sure she would come. If you were raised by two staunch SU-faithfuls, it would be unheard of that you missed Sunday worship service. Wasn’t it obvious our daughter was already towing that line?

She returned just a few minutes before the sermon. As she settled down to sit by my left, I put my arm around her, pulled her close and hugged her real tight, ‘Sorry, baby.’ She leaned over and I saw a tear drop. I held her tighter and it felt like I only squeezed out more tears. Slowly the tears just flowed without inhibitions.

Just for a moment. The hall seemed empty.
And for that one moment. Two hearts beat as one.

I was vaguely aware the pastor was starting the message, but it didn’t look like it mattered.
We remained locked in that hug for a long while.
I cared less who watched or was distracted.
I couldn’t be bothered who sneered or was puzzled.
I held her there and allowed all the piled up pressure release themselves through those tears.
And when she rested her head on my shoulder and sighed, I knew within myself we’d had church.

I would never be able to remember what the topic of the pastor’s message that Sunday was.
I would never be able to remember what the announcements or the notices were.
I would never be able to remember what the choir’s special song even was.
But I would remember that hug. And I would always remember those tears.

I would remember that there would be days when words would be needless.
I would remember there would be days sermons would be useless.
I would remember if we could only be in each other’s embrace
And stay locked in the warmth we provide each other
Healing would come. And strength would be restored.

I would remember when her heart is overwhelmed
Holding her could bring calm to the rumblings within her.
I would remember when her heart is overwhelmed
A passionate embrace would soothe her soul.
I would remember when her heart is overwhelmed
To lead her to the Rock that is higher than her.

I would remember.

Written by juwonodutayo

Writer. Tutor. Speaker. Blogger. Roger Federer Fan.

6 Comments

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  1. This write up almost had me in tears (truth be told, it actually had me in tears). There are days I feel like that and truly all I tell myself is “Babe, go to church, God is waiting for you there to lift your burdens”. This blessed me a lot Uncle Juwon.

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