I drove “home” tonight to the basement apartment that holds the bulk of my earthly posessions but which I am not yet accustomed to considering as anything more than a location of residence. It is the place where I usually sleep and sometimes eat. It is the place where I most often shower and dress, though truth be known I almost always have a spare set of clothes in my car. It is the place to which I oft times return at night from wandering the world amidst work, play and worship. But it is little more to me than that. Right now, it is simply the room I rent where I recently had daisies that now languish in the trashcan that is not mine, while I am sitting on the bed that does not belong to me, writing–putting to “paper” the one thing that is truly mine, as it were.
Tonight I drove “home” from my parents’ house after a long evening of conversations and job hunting. I talked with David about ethics and legislating morality which carried into dinner and evolved to a discussion with my father regarding limited government, my right to life and property, and the need for academia–or was it philosophy?–and a night that ended in both tears of frustration and eyes rubbed red for sorrow. And as I drove on the lonely highway at a breakneck speed I dreamt of days long past and thought I should write this note to you. Perhaps it was the shooting star that I wished upon that brought such things to light: the warbled memories that run like old films with browned edges and stuttered movements. But no matter the cause, while I nervously considered Israel and sang while shouting alongside Bebo I thought of you, and you, and you and then I thought perhaps my silence would not do.
I thought of you and the look on your face when I stepped off the plane and came in the gate to baggage claim. Your hair was getting long and kinky then, darkened by the winter grey and falling in your eyes. You looked delighted to see me, and I remember the sort of vague sense of relief in spotting you across the tiny crowd that milled through the open space of that tiny airport. You wrapped your arms around me and I remember feeling safe; but I think that even then, somewhere inside of me I knew that this feeling might not last. I pushed the thought away, I needed you then, desperately. And through those long nights of grey winter when my life had gone dark and hopeless, I would need you all the more: to point me back to Jesus, to remind me of my brokenness, to tell me a’hava, and to kiss away my fears. I am thankful for you, I know that, and I am thankful for the blessing of God that you were: keeping me in the church, keeping me on the path, keeping me in the fold despite all stubborn attempts to jump the fence and race for the wide open spaces to which I have yet wandered.
And I thought of you, in the parking lot at Village Inn, staring at the stars as though unsure how to acknowledge my presence or the apology. Your hands were in your pockets, and you looked so uncomfortable while I tried to ask forgiveness and longed for so much more. The stars were poking out, it was warm and almost humid. I thought of sitting in your truck, after shivering in the parking lot, talking until after 1am just months before that moment of torrid confession and petty forgiveness. I remember the way you looked at me, with care and concern in your eyes, your ridiculous green hat sliding down and blocking the light of hte parking lot lamps. You prayed for us that night, or you prayed for me at least. I wanted you to hold my hand, but in some kind of distant respect, you wrung your fingers together and held them in your lap and spoke those words to Jesus that both awed and encouraged me. I swore that night to know Him as you do, and for that I must say thank you.
But most of all, I thought you. I worried about the past month, the things I’ve said, the words I’ve written and spoken, and all the feelings I’ve never had the heart to share. I was frightened, shy and hurt by others before. I didn’t know how to answer the things that you said, and so I either remained foolishly silent or went ahead and said the things I didn’t mean. I thought of that night at the park, watching fireworks through the rain. I thought of you with your arms wrapped around me, reassuring me while I cried about the sins of my past and the ways that I’ve hurt others. I thought of the night in the kitchen, running my fingers over your battered knuckles and praying that God would heal your heart and restore you to the good. I thought of our walk when my knee ached so badly and you wanted to go home to protect my body but I wanted to hear you talk, more and more and more! and so I stubbornly shut my mouth to complaints and we wandered for hours more. I prayed to God that I haven’t ruined you for Him. I prayed against the things that hold you back, the chains that you (as I) so desperately cling to. I cried with my father tonight for your sake. How can you look Him in the face, yet turn and walk back to the life even you admit has done so little for you! I begged God for your soul tonight, not for my sake (though you’ll never see that), but for yours. I am culpable in your salvation, or so it seems to a somewhat arrogant heart. I am culpable in that I am terrified to be the only one who ever speaks and perhaps you did not hear, or perhaps I spoke too softly, to gently or to harshly. My sin, my pride, my insecurity, my foolish girlish ways, they are often a distraction, or more likely, they can be destructive. I’m not perfect, and my fear is that perhaps I’ll have spoken well but acted poorly and thus have pushed you away. But you must see! You must come! He can heal your heart, like I told you on the highway, passing under the exit sign for Belleview, after selling the bike, while holding your hand and saying someday you’d by another. I am not so good, I insisted, but for the grace of God. And you brushed it aside like it was nothing, a ridiculous excuse, something that made no sense. But someday, you’ll see. I have this shaky confidence that someday, Abba will bring you home to rest and peace and you will know Him. I only wish it would come sooner than I think He deems it necessary. But better later than never, and so I’m praying for your soul and your heart and your being. I wished on that star for you tonight, that Jesus would bring you to Him. I wished for you, and a little bit for me.*
It was only a twenty minute drive home, lengthened perhaps a minute or two by the cop who wove through lanes to follow me before finally exiting just one before my own. But it felt like hours, to run over the memories, to pray, to hope. And for a little while, my mind slowed down and I was able to sing; “I am everyone who’s ever lost hope,” but Bebo reassures me, Jesus always brings hope back around.
“Come ye weary, heavy laden
Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry, till you’re better
You will never, come at all”
* a little bit for me, because, though I am greiving the sad month I’ve endured and the loss of both our relationship and friendship I am perfectly willing to admit: I’m still a bit hung up on you. [well shoot son, ain’t that just the kicker]