I'm downstairs by the wood stove, my boys beside me, and Legos and toy cars strewn across the floor. It's minus 25 degrees outside. "You better put some more wood on the fire," Aiden says, pointing at the coals.
I nod to my son and say, "Yes, we better keep Daddy's fire going."
"You see that?" Aiden says to his brother Kasher, while they've got their legs tucked, sitting on the rug—a dance of flames on a cold winter's day. "It keeps us nice and warm."
He doesn't just mean the fire. He means the way his dad chops wood every day after school, fills up the old cracking blue tubs and hauls them in, me sweeping up the wood chips behind him, how I stoke it hour after hour while Trent's at school, how we keep the cast iron pot full of water on top so the air doesn't get too dry.
And I'm giving to the coals begging them to spark—sometimes I add some newspaper or cardboard, because every marriage needs this. Every marriage needs some romance, to keep the love breathing, pulsing, to keep the house warm.
Divorce is a cold draft through the cracks of every home's front door and we're not just stoking a fire. We're creating a safe place for the family, a place to hold them.
But it's war, friends.
And the shells, they're scattered on the ground around our bed, and we're wounded, but we rise because the one shield that protects us all . . . is grace.