Editor’s Note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

As is my summer habit while in the North, I visit my sons in Michigan one week during each month. Commonly, we are strapped for time since my boys and grandsons have various schedules.

I order “to-go” from Burger King, Pizza Hut or Wild Wings and carry lunch to son Brian and his two sons.

In earlier years, the little boys and I put together easy puzzles and played Crazy 8 and Fish. When they tired of cards, we switched to dominoes and pick-up sticks. As teens they graduated to an “adult” card game: euchre.

This year there’ll be no card games. Two weeks before my visit, Brian had hip replacement surgery. Short periods of sitting were all he could manage.

When I knocked on the glass storm door, a cock-a-poo greeted me. From inside I heard, “Come in! It’s not locked!”

Holding up the bag of hot food, I stepped in and pushed the puppy aside with my foot. Entering the living room, I moved slowly, careful not to step on the wiggling pup.

I stopped in front of the couch. At my left, 15-year -old Sammy sprawled in the big easy chair. His dad sat stiffly on the end of the couch.

Ten years ago, Wally points, “It’s his turn!” Brian looks on.

Ten years ago, Wally points, “It’s his turn!” Brian looks on.

My eyebrows arched with a question for my son. “You ordered food for you and Sammy, but I see Wally’s car in the driveway….”

A silence followed, It held something I could not identify. I looked from Sammy to his father. Brian drew a breath. “Wally’s not here. He’s left home.”

Stunned, I said nothing. Left home? Why? How? Where did he go? I didn’t ask any of that. Instead I said, “How sad.” Brian also left home as a teen. The family pattern has repeated.

Not knowing what else to say or do, I set the large white and yellow Wild Wings bag on the coffee table at my son’s feet.

The puppy stood on his hind legs his nose pointed at the bag, but unable to reach it.

Brian said, “Down Rusty!”

Sammy stood, stepped over and picked up his new pup. He stroked the little animal that licked his chin in return.

Not knowing what to say about Wally’s absence, I opened the food bag,

I looked at Sammy, “Are we going to eat here or…” I turned to Brian. “Can you make it to the table?”

Brian leaned forward and grasped the pair of crutches resting beside him. “I’ll go to the table.”

I extended my hand to help him up but he shook his head. “I need to do this myself.”

We three walked to the country kitchen’s table. My son moved with slow steps to the nearby cupboard and carried over plates.

“Wha’d’ ya’ want to drink, Ma?”

“Ma?” I sign my letters and texts “Mom” but he calls me “Ma” –like his dad did his mother.

Aloud I said, “Water, please.”

Sammy set the pup on the floor and slid into the chair across from me where his brother usually sat.

Even though Brain is able to sit, with only three of us, there will be no euchre today.

The puppy’s antics, spicy wings and fries took over our conversation until the food cartons were mostly empty.

Standing, Brian picked up his crutches. Smiling, he made his way to put his little wing box in the refrigerator. “Thanks for the wings, Ma. I love the tasty leftovers. “

After we cleared the table and before he returned to the front room I asked, “Have you walked yet today?”

I knew he was assigned walking as part of his daily post- surgical rehab.

He shook his head.

I suggested, “I haven’t walked either. How about we go to the corner?”

As Sammy picked up the pup again and returned to the big chair, I added, “After two hours of driving to get here, I really need exercise!”

Sammy nodded and turned up the sound on the TV as Brian and I left the house.

Half way down the drive, I asked my son, “What happened with Wally?”

Brian shook his head. “I don’t know. He never got a job this summer, slept most of the day then went out with his friends.” He sighed and went on. “Suddenly Wally was yelling at me, saying he wouldn’t take any more of my emotional abuse.”

Emotional abuse? I didn’t understand, but again I didn’t ask questions. Brian went on. “I know. I left home, too. I didn’t talk to my dad for twelve years … twelve years!” He sighed. “ I told Sammy and Wally what had happened to me. I said, ‘If you ever have a problem with me, tell me! We will work it out!”

We reached the corner. Leaning on his crutches, Brian turned to me, his eyes dark. “Wally hurt me in the deepest way.”

As we headed slowly back toward the house I said,

“Try to keep your heart open”

After a few more steps I added, “I’ll pray for you all.”

In a small voice he said, “Thanks, Ma.”

Just as dawn comes after a dark night, good will come from the worst situations. God always has a plan for goodness.

As I advised my son, my job is to keep my heart open, wait and trust.

Frances Fritzie

Frances Fritzie

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