Friday, August 4, 2017

The Motive Was Love



The Motive Was Love

My first attempt.
A layer cake,
A Birthday cake
For you,
Stacked three high,
Chocolate with chocolate icing.
Perfect.
So very proud when I was done.
But when I came back to admire,
The layers had slithered off.
Simple physics when a cake is still warm.
So the layers hastily reset, 
Affixed by a fork in the middle,
Inelegant perhaps,
But it sure was good.
And you overlooked all
Because the motive was love.

You had doubts,
But I did not.
I encouraged,
Urged 
You to go back to school.
And when you did
You found your call
And did so well.
It made me happy
Since the motive was love.

I chose to help with the house,
I chose to help with the girls,
I chose to help with the cooking,
I chose to help with the chores,
And though you assumed it was your right,
Hardly anyone else enjoyed your same life.
I willingly took on these tasks
To give, to serve,
Because I wanted to.
Because the motive was love.

Your mother died.
And then your father.
And your brother.
It was terrible.
I became the pastor, 
Took upon myself the burden 
Of talking to everybody,
Of walking family and friends through their farewells.
I did it willingly,
Because I cared for you, and for them.
The motive was love.

You wanted to work less,
I made it so.
You wanted to upgrade your degree,
I made the sacrifices to make it happen.
You wanted to work on staff with me,
I negotiated it.
You wanted to pursue a PhD,
I made it possible.
You wanted to be ordained,
I cheered you on.
None of this a matter of boasting,
It’s just what someone committed to the other’s best does.
And the motive was always love.

Even when the sun was hidden at midday,
When your rages and contempt made me weep,
I still tried to make it right.
And when I finally saw the pattern
That stamped our marriage from its beginning,
And resisted those pressure points that had always worked for you before,
When you became angry
And stopped listening
To anything that came from me.
I still held out my hand to you,
Again and again.
Risking the uncomfortable truth about us
Trying to help you to see,
Wanting you to come back
From that far country to which you wandered.
And the motive still was love.

I wish not a famine,
or supping with swine,
If a few lines of honesty
Could do the same work
And bring you to your senses.
How many of your father’s slaves have plenty and more?
Surely he would hire you back
or even kill the fatted calf.
For the small price of a return,
just to see you home.
Costly I know, a journey I’ve made before.
So easy.
So hard.
I gaze down the road,
Looking for the familiar gait
Rounding the bend.
I wait and wait.
You may never come home again.

But the motive remains love.