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

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“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.

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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.