"Can you turn up the air conditioning?"
The quiet request startles me to action.
Immediately, I spin the dial, blasting cool air to the back portion of the van.
We are driving north. A day worth of travel, and it is only midday. Our oldest daughter is already dealing with nausea. She's had motion sickness since her toddler years. Everything has been tried, but the wrist bands with pressure points and cool air on her face are the most successful.
Another child begins to holler, "I'm cold!"
Deal with it, I think, because I don't want to be on the side of the Garden State Parkway where it narrows with no shoulder cleaning up vomit again.
The venom lies ready on my lips.
Poised and waiting for me to spit it out, on them.
When on cue, the gospel choir of Todd Agnew's song plays loud, over the speakers, cutting through me.
Piercing past the poised venom to my heart.
I pause, listening,
allowing the words to permeate.
"If I lay it down, set me free.
If I lay it down, set me free..."
My clenched jaw relaxes.
"If I lay it down..."
Lay down the venom, the toxic selfishness, deadly sarcasm.
Lay down those cutting words.
Lay it all down.
I breathe out.
The words evaporate, unused, unsaid.
"...set me free..."
Free to chose better, soothing words of encouragement.
Turning slightly, I address the shivering child, "Just turn off your vent, Honey. It will only be for a little while, until your sister feels better."
Thank you, Lord.