by Karen Martin Kepner
God, you saw me.
I got out of the car and put on my mask. I opened the back gate of the car to lift out the transport chair. I got my husband, E.,situated in the seat, a herculean task on some days. You see E’s Parkinson’s, and you see the unpredictable tide of my anxiety for all the very vulnerable around me. The early February air was crisp. I thought it felt wonderful, thanks to my “maturity hormones,” but E. was cold and shivered in his winter coat, hat, and gloves.
You saw me as I pushed the chair toward the canopy and the doors. You saw me when I suddenly could not see. It wasn’t the fog that always clouds my glasses when wearing a mask. It wasn’t the bright sun in the cloudless sky. It was tears welling up and a feeling of embarrassment. Good grief. Nobody else was sniffling. I’ve always been easily moved to tears. The tears are still there as you see me write this prayer.
You saw me trying to hold it together while I got E into the queue, presenting his ID and insurance info as we registered. You saw me grope for the tissues in my pocket, blow my nose,and wipe my eyes as I sheepishly apologized to the woman checking us in. You saw me struggle for composure and rise above the tide of my emotions.
You saw me push E further into the facility. One of those blessed spots at one of those eight-foot tables was waiting for him. You saw the tears that wouldn’t stop. At last the nurse came. His arm was out, his sleeve rolled up, the alcohol swipe, and then the stick. You gave witness to his first dose of vaccine. You saw all this, but you saw me too. You saw me awash with relief and gratitude that help is now so very near to this one I love.
For all these months, you saw me try mightily to shield him from risk. Would I bring something home? Would I let someone else bring something in? You saw the unwelcome guest of all that tension compounding inside me. You saw my tears and on that day you blessed them by showing that tension the exit. You saw my tears and turned them into postcards of gratitude.
Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe. Even if I sing your praises silently to myself, I sing them. I sing the wonder of how the vaccines came to be and the gift they are to all of us in our turn. I praise you for what you have seen in our ocean of tears. Deep gratitude is humbly mine. Amen.