My sister is a woman of order and planning. A devoted follower of the Marie Kondo method, her house is always neat and tidy. All her things live happily in their designated space. No extra stuff stacked on a side table. No little sentimental reminders on bookshelves. No pieces of paper littering the counter in the mudroom.
Her kitchen is a miracle to behold. All her Gladware bottoms have their tops. Her cups and teaspoons stack neatly into their next largest accompanying partner and fit in the drawer the way they should. Her pantry is small, but perfect because she doesn’t buy more than what she is planning to use for the week. All labels point to the outside.
I’m particularly awe-struck by her calendar. It’s color-coded for personal appointments, business appointments, birthdays, and anniversaries. Everything is neatly printed. It’s always full of purple ink; the color she uses for her event planning business. Built from the ground up, over ten years ago, her business is a particular point of pride in our family because she did it all on her own.
As different as we are, my sister and I are super close. So, when I heard her voice on the phone, I knew something wasn’t right.
“Sissy, what am I going to do?” I could hear her voice crack. She only calls me Sissy, our childhood name for each other, when she is tired or sick or scared.
“How bad is it?” I asked, afraid of her answer. “I had five weddings on the books for April. They’ve all canceled. I had two 40th birthday parties scheduled for this summer, that were going to be really big because the guest lists included lots of doctors from the hospital. Both of them canceled today. I don’t know what I’m going to do,” her voice cracked as she started to sob.
Suddenly, in the middle of her busy life and busy schedule and calendar full of appointments, there was nothing. Abruptly and without warning, she was staring at a calendar with no purple.
My heartbeat was fast. I didn’t really know what to say. How do you console someone when their heart is breaking? I didn’t say anything for a minute. I let her cry for a little bit, and busied my mind in prayer. Lord, help me say the right thing. Help me console her. Help her, Lord.
“Where are you?” I whispered. “At home,” she sniffled. “Ok. Take a deep breath. I’m on my way,” I already had my car keys in my hand.
I was at a complete loss, I drove through our little neighborhood, my mind pinging like a pinball machine. What would I say? What could I do? To be honest, I wasn’t sure.
At the corner downtown, I spotted the bookstore. Tea! That’s what I needed. I pulled the car into a parking spot that had just opened right in front of the store. Convinced that was a sign I was doing the right thing, I pulled my mask up over my mouth and nose and walked in.
“Do you have tea?” I asked the girl behind the counter. “Sure, what kind?” she bubbled with smiling eyes. ”Something comforting,” I thought out loud. She handed me a box of lavender tea…purple. Perfect.
I scanned the counter to see if there might be something else I could use. I picked up a couple of chocolate bars, a small to-go package of Kleenex that had “Use in Any Kind of Crises” written in pink across the top. I noticed some t-shirts in the corner.
There were the typical bookstore t-shirts, but one stood out. A soft coral color, it had the words printed on the front: Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my God, that is who you are.
“What can you tell me about this?” I asked holding the t-shirt in my hand. The salesgirl grinned, “Oh! That’s a bestseller. It’s a Way Maker t-shirt, those are lyrics from a popular Christian praise song, Waymaker.” I wasn’t familiar with the song, but the words were so compelling, I put the shirt in my pile, paid for what I was worried was a pitiful attempt at comfort, and headed out the door.
When I got in the car, I found Way Maker on Spotify and played it on repeat all the way to my sister’s driveway. The words I was looking for, and the words she needed to hear resonated loud and clear.
As I sang along, I was stronger than before and becoming more and more confident in His promise: You are here, moving in our midst…You are here, working in this place…Way maker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, My God, that is who you are.