de(tales): green sweatshirt
Khristi is a fellow contributor over at The Junia Project, and a supportive and encouraging friend over the internet. I love stories which throw something or someone into sharp relief, and this de(tale) does just that. Enjoy, friends.
The first thing I noticed when the elevator doors opened was just how gray and bland everything looked. Walking over to the waiting room, where everyone was sitting, all I saw were sad and somber faces.
Their clothes? Perhaps they had color. My memory, however, says they were gray. When I walked into the hospital room, I saw my god-brother lying there underneath white sheets with a pale face. It was so hard for my mind process exactly what was happening. I wanted to have more faith.
“More Faith,” that idea which suggests that if you are somehow able to obtain it, the situation would change.
But I just couldn't seem to tap into it. I couldn’t seem to get “more faith.” What I could tap into however was my connection and friendship with my god-brother’s wife who was also one of my best friends. If nothing else, I could be there for her. I shadowed her, sat with her, cried with her, and watched as people surround her with the love that they knew would fall short of exactly what it was that she needed: her husband. There was a moment where she could barely breathe without him. She literally hyperventilated. We were all merely fillers to stand in those gaps, helping her to breathe while we waited for something to happen, for what we knew was going to happen.
A pastor gathered us all around to take communion. If I can recall, there were about 50 of us all in one tiny space. A sea of gray faces and bland clothing to match the white walls that were around us. It was at that moment that a tall man walked in wearing a bright green sweatshirt with yellow writing, and a matching baseball cap.
“Who's that?” I asked my god-brother's wife.
She was able to respond, even in her grief. “That's Alex Pineda, Carolyn's husband,” she said, looking up.
Carolyn had passed away six months prior, after a long illness. Alex was doing more than coming to pay his respects, he was coming to do something that a good majority of the people in that room would be unable to achieve for my friend. He was coming to be a true source understanding because he had gone through something similar.
Alex and his green sweatshirt did not stay long. I didn't expect him to. But the time he was there was very important. He was calm for all of us. I watched him interact very minimally with my friend, I watched him walk into the hospital room and share a quiet moment with my god-brother, and then I watched him and his green sweatshirt leave. When my god-brother finally passed away that evening, it was quiet and it was dark. There were no colors. For his funeral we all wore white. Alex was there in the back, no green sweater this time, but I remembered him very vividly.
Fast forward seven years.
My god-brother’s wife is now re-married to the man in the green sweatshirt. Whenever I'm over at their house visiting, every now and then he wears that green sweatshirt and I smile. It brings back all of those bittersweet memories: bitter ones because I miss my god-brother, and sweet ones because that bitter moment brought this wonderful man into our lives. I wish that I had time to share their new journey with you, but instead I wanted to give you an idea of where it all began. Death looming, a hospital, white walls, broken hearts, and a man in a green sweatshirt walking into the midst of a colorless situation. Little did we know would soon bring color to us all.
Khristi Adams is an Author, Pastor, Youth Advocate & Filmmaker currently residing in Washington, DC.. She is the author of the book The Misinterpreted Gospel of Singleness: a cultural critique of myths surrounding singleness in the Christian community. Connect with her on Twitter, here.
You can check out the other de(tales) (so far) here.
There's still time to order my Easter art and meditation calendar. It's a 50 print set of cards with words by me, and art by Alicia Heater of Slightly Stationary. It's beautiful, and meant to draw you into a meaningful Easter season. I'd be honored to have you purchase it, for yourself or for a gift.