Great Is Thy Faithfulness

I woke up with yesterday’s frustrations heavy on my chest and lodged in my gut, a physical ache I’d like to attribute only to a glass of wine before bed and not enough water.  I padded down the hall and wondered whether I could convince Henry to go back to sleep after he ate so I could sneak back into bed too, but quarter til six is pushing it.  Daylight crept through the blinds and spread itself indiscriminately on the rocking chair, crib, and dresser.  Henry flailed around like a turtle while I changed him, my brain flailing about as well, grasping at bullet points on my list of things to do.

There are a lot of days left in this week.  It’s only Monday. 

Lodged in my head was a little verse repeating – they are new every morning, new every morning, great is thy faithfulness, O Lord, great is thy faithfulness.  It’s hard to believe those words after a long stretch of nothing-going-right, but the song kept looping.  I preferred a new song, maybe something about going home and loading my shot gun and lighting a cigarette, something raw and country and kind of angry-like.  While feeding Henry, I read some verses for the day, a few psalms, a little of David’s story, a little anger at Galatians and a little of Jesus’s story.  Henry seemed satisfied, and I tried to get him to go back to sleep, but it didn’t look like it was going to happen.  The sun was up, after all, and that must mean it’s time to be awake. 

After a few minutes he slipped back to sleep but by that time, going back to bed seemed silly.  Instead, I went for a jog around the block, the humidity heavy but at least cooler than the last few days.  I felt the tightening of my leg muscles, exhaled and inhaled to the rhythm of my run, the swish of my ponytail, arms pumping, all in time to a mental metronome. Except for the pad and thump of my tennis shoes, the occasional twitter of birds, and the hum of an early commuter’s car, it was quiet.  Sweat trickled down my back and chest and nose.  I encouraged my legs to make it to the next stop sign, and with each puff of air, I felt some of the world right itself.

Afterward, I listened to some musicians sing praise to God while I showered, and I joined in, eventually.  I turned on the iron, checked the label of my skirt, and adjusted the temperature to high.  It was going to take a lot of hot air and steam to iron out the wrinkles.  I put on makeup and dried my hair.  While my tea pot heated up I went out to survey the garden, lifting the damp and prickly leaves of the zucchini plant to see whether any new veggies sprouted overnight, but the only thing that had grown was some crabgrass.  I pulled a few weeds.  The tea pot whistled. 

The morning burned away the dew.  My skirt is wrinkle-free.  The garden is weeded.  The water is hot and ready to steep the tea leaves.  I am breathing, and smiling, and sipping my tea.

Morning by morning new mercies I see…

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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