The Afternoon Knows.

The afternoon knows what the morning never thought of” (Robert Frost).


“Janell, it is so good to see you,” smiled Erin. “How on earth are you? Tell me what’s going on.”

There in the middle of the women’s bathroom of the YMCA, I smiled.

“I don’t even know where to start.”

“Well, tell me about your mom,” she said. “Then, tell me about your family and the wedding.”

The next ten minutes or so, Erin listened to my heart. We only touched the surface, but it’s amazing how profoundly special ten minutes can be.

Erin touched a very tired last little nerve in my writer’s heart. I want to write. I want to process. I want to get back to some sense of a normal routine. But the past year hasn’t allowed that to happen. Remember that blind corner I mentioned way back when? That sudden, drastic alteration of one’s plans? The unwelcome life lessons that transform us into who God truly wants us to be?

I’m sitting here in my local library desperately trying to find my writer’s voice again. The operative word here is again. Because, it seems, every time I sit down to try and put words on paper, or should I say characters on computer screen, yet another “seeming” interruption happens.

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Yes, last week held yet one more trip to the ER and then another hospital stay for my dear Momma. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning (3 am to be exact), I found my way to her brand new AL (Assisted Living) home, meandered through the hollow halls, to find her in desperate pain. Anxious and frustrated, all I could was drive as fast as I could. The ensuing hours brought test upon test. All I could do was hold her hand. Help her take her shoes off. Fluff hospital pillows until they settled into a spot that brought her comfort.

“I know you’re mad at me,” she said.

“Mom, I’m not even awake enough to be mad,” I replied.

Hours unfolded into more hours, one test led to another and then finally, a decision to admit her was made.


I’m always amazed at the human body. How can two little kidneys cause such a fuss, but they do, especially in those “who have been on the earth a very long time.”

So off we went. By 1:30 or so in the afternoon, she was settled in.

“Go home, Janell,” she said. “For goodness sake, you need some rest. I’ll be fine. AND, don’t you dare come back tonight. Get some rest.”

Torn in two, I left.

In the crowded elevator, I couldn’t help but notice the strained faces of those around me.

“You just never know what the day will unfold, do you?” I sighed. A woman sighed. A man winced.

It seems poet Robert Frost understood.

“The afternoon knows,” he writes, “What the morning never thought of.”

When I found this incredibly poignant sentence, I cried.

“Yes, Mr. Frost,” I whispered. “Yes it does. That is precisely what I have been feeling. I just didn’t know it.”

Today, I begin to process “months of afternoons,” in hopes of hearing what Afternoon has to say to me.

To you.

To us.

16 Comments on “The Afternoon Knows.”

    1. janellrardon

      Oh how I receive those blessings of healing and comfort. There are times when I wish I wasn’t so “sensitive,” and then I remember that God made me that way for a reason. As a writer, I do feel compelled to find truths in every aspect of my life’s journey, in hopes that my journey helps someone else’s journey. Many blessings right back at you!

  1. maryalice dorschel

    my parents died this past winter, and my last 2 years were spent thinking about and taking care of them, my mom not being able to walk after a surgery..treasure these minutes, they are a magic gift to you- we get a glimpse of our mortality if we live long and well, and we get a tiny chance to say and do all those things we should. thinking of you and your mom.

    1. janellrardon

      Mary Alice,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your “AFTERNOON LESSONS.” I treasure them. As I will be writing, this time with my mom has most definitely given me “a glimpse into my own mortality” in ways I didn’t want
      to think about, right now. I don’t want to consider being 85. I want to be 53. Yet, God has seen fit to place me in this situation. As a daughter, it has been hard. As a writer, it has been even harder. I do believe God “assigns” messages to me and this one has been quite difficult to swallow. I appreciate your thoughts and covet your prayers, as it is indeed a difficult passage. I will treasure each moment, though, as I know they are just that, “moments.” Blessings!

  2. karenpower

    The dear sweet 90-year lady, that I helped half-days in Dallas for my last six months there last year, spent her first night at 91-years old in AL last night. My heart hurts for her family whom I love dearly and for her as well. I got to know this dear Christian lady well and I can only imagine all the emotions and fears she’s facing. Thank you for writing on this topic, Janell. The greater percentage of Americans are dealing with aging parents and caregiving. Praying for you and your Momma as you walk this part of the journey together.

    1. janellrardon

      Oh, Karen, the thought of her first night just brings an ache to my heart. I honestly don’t know who this transition has been harder for…me or my mom! I’ve learned there is an actual psychological state called, “Transfer Trauma.” Boy, it is real, for sure. I read a great deal about it and it helped. I would recommend a quick look at the information. It helped relieve the angst a wee bit!

      1. Bren

        Bless our Father for equipping you with such awareness. Such a time as this is never easy, but having such an awareness, helps. You and yours are being bathed in prayers… I am sure, for that is HIS will for us…

  3. Bren

    Yes, I have learned many lessons over the years and share of them at my blog as well as my website, (linked to the blog) and on FB, sometimes. The ‘Miracle of the Ring’ is an example of how you and I write similar … so when you speak of ‘finding your voice’, I can relate somewhat.

    Over the years I have had what I call ‘Suddenlies” in my life, a few came to mind as soon as I read, “The afternoon knows what the morning never thought of” … a turn of events which were expected, (in that I sensed them coming in my spirit), but had no idea what they would bring. They are always an answer to a prayer or guidance, or as you say, ” I do believe God “assigns” messages to me”, for other reasons. I am grateful I have a close enough walk with our Father that they don’t take me completely by surprise. Some have been difficult to swallow, some have brought much joy and inner transformation, others have………… Thanks kindly for asking…

    1. janellrardon

      Oh, Bren, the “suddenlies.” I love your comment, “I am grateful I have a close enough walk with our Father that they don’t take me completely by surprise…” I’m writing on that today. Thank you for affirming the truth that we need a close walk with our heavenly Father…what helps you keep in close communion with God? Would you share your spiritual practices. They may help us, too!

      1. Bren

        Where to begin … where to end… hummmm, I have to think about that.

        To be honest, I have chosen to rest in the knowing Jesus is the Author and perfecter of our Faith with His understanding, all is proving to be according to HIS unfolding plan, (established before the foundations of the world).

        Having come to recognize I (we) have been gifted with a spiritual gift to keep our heart open to HIM, I find I have received a passion to keep myself close to our Father by talking with Him like I would if HE were right there beside me … which I know He is, even if I don’t ‘feel like He is’. I believe this gift is available for everyone and received upon asking with a repentant and sincere heart. His Holy Spirit within has urged me to not allow negative feelings to rule me; especially feelings of condemnation and projected fears. I am moved to release them and ask for His peace in their stead as I think upon that which He gives me to think about (Philippians 4:18 comes to mind as an example) … I have learned to ‘Trust’ Him… even when I don’t understand, because He has revealed His love and in the doing proved to me He is faithfully working all out for the good. He has given me the power to see through HIS eyes of eternity; again, I believe this is offered to all who chose to partake. Indeed He is directing our paths for a eternal purpose, not just a temporal one and desires for us to draw upon HIS gifts, not for our sake but for the sake of all this is and is yet to be. Recognizing these spiritual gifts abide deep within empowers us to do so. Drawing close to HIM energies (activates and strengthens) them.

        I listen for His reply and equipping with expectancy, having come to believe He hears and is keeping me in HIS love/plan. After so many years of receiving such insights, I rest in the knowing He has never left and is responding, even when I am only being empowered to only see what it was HE was saying or doing in hindsight.

        As I have grown, (am grown according to HIS unfolding plan) I have come to learn He indeed speaks to us through all of life. I use to think Father only talked to us through Scripture, or during times of prayer or worship, through an anointed speaker or book. That was a part of my thinking as a new born. Releasing and leaving behind childish and fearful thinking has been part of my spiritual training, since I was born again of the Holy Spirit, to become a new Creation in and Of Christ in 1978.

        Being open… receiving a Listening Heart, is among the first gifts He gives us through the anointing of Christ within. Each relationship is unique, discovering what works for us as an individual is what He desires to show us. Even though we are similar and can relate, in the relating we quickly discover He deals with each of us uniquely, each of us are to be an unique aspect of who HE is, (as His inheritance). Jesus never healed the exact way twice, nor does the Spirit of God relate to us exactly the same. He knows what each needs for the benefit of the ‘whole’ … and works our will whatsoever way He wills it to bring about HIS best for everyone … according to an eternal purpose our finite mind can only taste of until our will and His become as one (Jesus’ prayer of John 17 comes to mind).

        Our walk together (in spirit and truth) has taught me OF His Omni power … these days I know there is far more available that I as yet cannot walk in. I am trusting Him to make it so at His appointed time.

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