Updated 3/6/20: My son left for the Bering Sea one day after the Scandies Rose sank last New Year’s Eve. I begged him not to go, knowing full well he would go anyway. I’m praying hard that God holds Zac in His hand, and that I get a repeat of this experience again soon.
In the past, I’ve made a great big deal about the carpet, and what I permit to step upon it. But hear me out. Shoes bring germs. Am I right? If those shoes have walked the concrete of a city — and I’m thinking New York City here — they’ve stepped over spilled mustard, discarded gum, spit, bird droppings, sloshed cappuccino, the fallout from acid rain … do I have to continue? If they’ve walked a small, 12.5 acre corner of Marysville, Washington, they’ve stepped on all of that (minus the mustard), plus the residue of two big dogs, two cats, and a couple of chickens who don’t bother staying in their fenced-in spot.
Think about all those micro-germs. Now think about all of those micro-germs happily taking up residence in the fibers of your living room carpet, where you walk, and where you plop yourself down for halfhearted push-ups and crunches and planks (yes, I’m confessing), and where you wrestle with your grandson until you both collapse from laughter. So, for the most part, I’ve been all, “Shoes! You’ve got your shoes on!” to my family.
And then, tonight, a pair of high, black, yellow-tipped boots brought my oldest child home from the Bering Sea. And I never saw them. Not for a second. They walked him through the front door, where he paused to give me a “Hi, Mom,” hug that I’ve been longing for these past two months and two+ weeks. They walked him to the center of the living room, where he gave an expected glance at his reflection in the gigantic mirror above the couch, and then walked him to the cedar hope chest my Uncle Doug made for my mother in high school wood shop. My son sat there, and told us stories of the waves the swept over the deck he stood upon, and the snow that whipped his face, and a heart-stopping moment when he tried to jump from his ship to another, and slipped off the icy edge, only to be stopped by the girth of his broad shoulders. I gasped at that, and silently thanked Jesus for wedging Zac between two ships, and saving him for me.
I never saw those germy, fishy boots. Not once. It wasn’t until Dave got me alone in our bedroom later and said, “I have to give it to you. You never mentioned Zac’s boots” that I even realized he’d worn them.
Love, it seems, is much bigger than fear … bigger even than revulsion.
Welcome home, my sailor. Step wherever you like.