Well, we had our “nice” dinner on Friday. I lit the candle. I said something about how sad it was, what happened at that school in Connecticut, and how good it is to be here together around the table. But meanwhile Peter was tearing little pieces of his napkin off and roasting them over the candle flame, saying “Mm . . . fire!”
“Peter, show some maturity,” I said, “people died today.”
No luck. More bits of napkin. Joseph preparing to go whack some maturity into Peter. Things falling apart. It didn’t help that we had also learned on Friday that we can’t get a home loan when we move, because I’m going to be self-employed. Hadn’t thought of that. We’ll have to rent.
I looked over at Silas, the humorous side of it all hitting me, as it sometimes does, when things are falling apart. “I have some new lyrics for the ‘Hope is a Candle’ song,” I told him. (If you don’t know that song, it’s a very serious church song about waiting for Jesus to come and bring light to the darkness of the world). “How about ‘Hope is a candle that-your-children-throw-bits-of-napkin-into-instead-of-pondering-the-sanctity-of-life-and-having-a-nice-dinner-with-their-family.”
“I’m not burning napkins!” Joseph objected.
“Right, you’re not, Joseph,” I said. “Thank you for not burning napkins. Peter, stop!”
He didn’t stop. I blew out the candle.
One is occasionally tempted to wonder why it is that we are thankful to be alive. Only occasionally.
I’m actually in a rather good mood. Despite all that. I’m looking forward to our drive to California on Friday. Looking forward to the great expanses of beauty along the way, the quiet moments with our families, the feeling of suspendedness– all things on hold as we simply be for awhile.