But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

I wake with no commitments. No emergencies. Our rather new furnace holds up in the midst of another cold snap. I hope the homeless have found refuge—a habit from years of our firstborn’s disappearances.

For a long while now, the voices inside this house call me by name. Except the kittens. I’m “Meow.” Everything is.

I’ve not stepped a toe outside the door in two days, other than to plug in and out the Christmas lights on the redbud tree. They’ll come down after my birthday this month. Need some bling for the Big One, you know.

Downstairs by 6:30 to brew his coffee, I hear the kittens scamper up the basement stairs when Mel opens the door. They whine until they’re fed or commence another game of hide-and-seek under the throw rugs. Never do they say, “Mom, we’re bored!”

Last night after pot roast, carrots, and potatoes, Mel and I confessed we couldn’t imagine our home without the Rascals. I promised him French toast for breakfast—his reward for fetching frozen eggs from the henhouse and plowing snow all day long while I scribbled inside.

With joy I submit to winter’s exile. For thirty years a blizzard has never foiled my morning walks on our country roads, no matter how deep the drifts.

Until this winter.

Upstairs in soft lamplight, I listen to the wind and read the book of Isaiah. Since Christmas, his words in Handel’s Messiah sing in my head as I progress through the chapters.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.

After our greatest loss, I couldn’t find comfort, no matter where I ran and walked. My Bible gathered dust. Yes, God’s grace carried moments of peace and purpose in blessed relief; yet, there is no shortcut through the merciless valley of the shadow of death.

Now on the other side, I’m learning to rest and renew my strength. I’ll never mount up on eagle’s wings as I did as a youth, and I hope to never run a mile again in my life.

Yet, after a set of stretches to rid myself of sciatica pain, I walk downstairs into the kitchen. I ask Mel, “Are you hungry for French toast?”

He’s incredulous.

“You thought I forgot, didn’t you?”

“I’d better not say.”

While he watched, I cracked several eggs into a shallow baking pan and stirred in buttermilk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and a double portion of vanilla. The stovetop’s buttered griddle browned eight slices of sourdough bread sopped with batter to perfection.

We finished it all off with warm maple syrup and wiped off the counter by 10 a.m.

“Nothing like comfort food for breakfast, is there?” I asked.

“Sure isn’t.”

He went his way. I went mine.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, Isaiah says.

Email Iris at irisleeu@sbcglobal.net.