I shift my bulging tummy and try to settle it against a pillow. It kicks back at me. The clock stands sentinel. A few minutes after 5. It's Saturday. Homeschool is over for the year (as much as homeschool can ever be, at least.) No one need rush this morning. White sheets are so soft. They fit around my lumpy edges. I am warm. Breathing slowly. Languid.
But why am I awake? Had there been a noise that brought me back to consciousness? I hear only pattering rain and a faint tick from the downstairs clock. I heave my body over awkwardly. The boys' room door is still. Did someone call me? Long minutes pass. My eyes close as I wait. No voice. Nothing audible. But there is a sense. I am being called.
Maybe it's just the coffee pot. I stir and sigh. Maybe. But it's more than that. Nothing tangible. Nothing loud enough for my ears to detect. But deeper than I can hear. I am being called.
A line from an old Nora Jones song echoes in my brain. It seems to come from far off. "Come away with me..." I heave me legs over the bedside. The floor is cold. "Come away with me... I'll never stop... loving you." The stair sighs under my weight. I hold my breath so I'll be lighter. Hope the children don't hear my heartbeat quicken. But nothing stirs.
Downstairs. The clock ticks loudly now. The refrigerator hums faithfully as I cross the kitchen threshold. I click on the coffee pot. The spicy warm smell of brown liquid quickens my mind, anticipating the caffeine. Both hands clutch the familiar mug as I pad on bare feet to the sofa by the window. Pink azaleas outside it have mostly passed. Rain has made everything so green. I lumber onto the cushions and settle with my Bible. I am awake now. Still I can almost but not quite hear. I am being called.
"Daughter. Child." It's not the voice of children. It's older; more familiar even than my own offspring's tremulous calls. "You have come." I pull a small blanket over my feet. Warmth spreads through me in welcome. Is it from the coffee?
The pages of the big Book swish lightly. I'm heading to Samuel. To the book written by a prophet of God. So long ago. He was called. He thought it was Eli, the aging man in the next room. His mentor. Samuel was young. His ears were sharp, his body quick to react. He jumped up from his bed and responded. But it wasn't Eli calling him.
It was God.
I scan the page to find where I left off yesterday. The chapter I recognize; probably one of the first Bible stories I ever heard. One of the first I told to my children. One of the favorites. Good guy verses bad guy. Classic. I'm tempted to gloss over to avoid repetition. But no. Soon I'm immersed again in the drama. David. Young, sunburned, indomitable, vivacious David. Goliath. Brazen, defiant, bullish, impatient Goliath. Humble and untested stared up at contemptuous and seasoned. They had no comic books to base their hopes on. I try not to make a movie of it in my head. This was real. Everyone expected David to die.
His big brothers groaned. If they lived till tomorrow, how would they ever tell their father they had allowed his youngest to battle that foul-mouthed behemoth? His blood would be on their hands. Where was God to save them from this reckless, impetuous, poor little brat?
His king sulked. Tall and muscular, leader, accomplished warrior, he knew he should have accepted the Philistine challenge himself. But shadows made him jump these days. The men whispered together when he forbid his own brave son to battle the giant. There must be some large but foolish brute within his army who could at least put out a decent fight before they met their doom, and he himself could flee to some cave before they were all made slaves or roadkill. This musician boy was not what he had in mind. How embarrassing. Where was God to reject him and allow his kingship to be represented by a measly shepherd kid?
His countrymen trembled. As if they hadn't been on edge for a month, hearing the taunts and jeers from the giant echoed across the valley from the entire enemy army. Men had been deserting daily, slipping away in the night when they could bear no more. Endless waiting under the scorching sun as the sordid enemy beat down their morale. This day, they hardly made pretense of secrecy or shame. Increasing numbers of shadows darted over the hills behind the encampment. This boy represented their proud military?!? He had neither armor nor sword. Where was God to stand by and let this injustice continue?
God was waiting. Waiting for someone to answer His call.
"Son," David heard in the recesses of his mind as he stooped to grab a handful of stones. "You have come."
I didn't plan to fight giants today.
I changed diapers, and scrambled eggs, and wiped questionable-smelling mud off of boots.
I read library books, dashed through puddles with a two year old balanced on my 6-month-pregnant belly, ate leftover peanut butter bread.
I sopped up spilled milk, wiped tears, searched for marbles lost.
I chased three week old chickens so my disabled son could hold them.
I ate a nasty cheeseburger.
I went to the grocery store on a rainy Memorial Day weekend with four hungry kids right before supper.
I consoled a child who tried to clobber the friendly groundhog with a plastic hockey stick and couldn't decide if he was more upset that he didn't kill him for supper or might have hurt him and left him to suffer.
I told another child he couldn't wear all five of his favorite pairs of underwear to bed.
I made another child eat his broccoli even after he spit the first chewed bite out.
I made another child cry when I removed the bowl of rice he was deliberately spooning into the recesses behind his booster chair.
I killed a spider.
I brought my husband a surprise coffee at work (and a lot of kids who wanted him to buy them stuff.)
I protected children from the scary automatic flush toilets in a public restroom.
I chased a train in the rain (in the van) just to watch it go over the bridge.
I said yes.
I said no.
I said just be quiet I can't hear myself think.
I said I love you.
I kissed a hurt toe.
I kissed a hurt forehead.
I removed scotch tape from a stuffed animal.
I did dishes.
I tucked and re-tucked in.
And, somehow, though I didn't expect it, the giants are dead.
He called. I answered. I'm so glad I did.