Journal entry 112411: Long time together

Thursday morning, fellow Midlander Kelly Cooke saw Cyndi in the finish area of the Ft. Worth Turkey Trot, mingling with 10,000-or-so other runners, and asked, “Where’s Berry.” He knew we had both run the race.

“He’s over there in front of the band. He loves it when old guys can still play.”

She was correct. I love it when the old guys still play, and I there I was standing about twenty feet in front of the speakers listening to three old guys, over-sixty-years-old (maybe younger - hard to take into account the effect  of a rock-and-roll life), playing Voodoo Baby. I wish I had caught the name of the band, but it usually takes my brain a bit to start remembering new data after running a race. Even if only a 5K.

But it wasn’t just the fact that they were older than me and could still play that got me excited. It was watching how seamlessly they did it. It was pure economy of movement; no wasted motions. As I stood and listened to them play a long blues break I noticed the guitar player dash his eyes toward the bass player, then the bass player nodded ever-so-slightly - just tipping the brim of his hat toward the drummer. The drummer smiled and they all changed tempo, just like that. It was phenomenal to see how much they communicated even while barely communicating.

So Cyndi and walked over to the side of the parking lot to eat our complimentary post-race yogurt, and I heard them start up Stevie Ray Vaughn’s Pride & Joy. Again, amazing. I would have camped out in front of them even longer if we didn’t have a full day ahead of us.

Cyndi and I stood talking a bit until she went back to bag another yogurt. When she came back she said, “I knew you’d be standing over here smiling.”

“Why did you know that?”

“Because the band is playing Bo Diddley. I knew it would make you happy.” Again, what a woman. She knows me very well.

She even listened patiently while I ran through all my observations about economy of motion and subtle communication.

Then I said, “You know, some long-term marriages are just the same way. A nod of the head here, and casual smile there, and volumes of data are communicated.”

I added, “Of course, not all marriages end up like that; just the ones where they spend years leaning in toward one another. The kind of marriage I want to have with you.”

So we got in our car and drove back to Katie & Drew’s house in Mansfield where we would clean up and then tackle the Thanksgiving Day events.

Later, when I was in the shower, I realized the way the band communicated is also how I want my relationship with God to be. When He just tips his head, I want to know what to do and spring into action. When he whispers in my ear, I was to be ready to change tempo.

Well, the reason the band was so good at communicating wasn’t because they were old, but because they had grown old together playing together. It takes more than years, it takes shared mileage on the trial … whether the trail of rock-and-roll, or the trail of marriage, or the trail following God. That close relationship is the reward for a long time together of leaning in.


“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

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