|If you know this book, serious points to you. Also, Ferdinand.|
A few minutes ago, I went back and read yesterday's heartfelt post crying out about restlessness, dissatisfaction, doubt and guilt. It makes me glad I started this blog, as now I can look at where my mind was yesterday afternoon and begin to work through the things that happened in the aftermath with a solid starting point.
Shortly after the little story was posted, I received a message from an old friend, simply reaching out to see how I was doing. It was a few steps further from the usual response, which is the liking of a status on Facebook, or adding a sad face in the comments to somehow convey sympathy in a shallow, non-time consuming way.
Instead of exchanging a few words back and fourth, he invited me to call him, and I did. We spoke for the better part of a quarter hour, discussing work, music, people, etc., and it was healing. I went home a little while later feeling refreshed and appreciated, with the thought 'my, how God works in mysterious ways,' passing through my head before leaving the office.
This evening, as I went through the usual lonely routine of Netflix and trying not to head down the street for nasty-for-my-body fast food, the episode of the TV show fell upon the topic of Valentines day. There I went, rabbiting away to some deep, dark and dreary place, thinking over all of my choices — good ones and bad ones alike — and wondering which of them were mistakes.
That's just when I received a message from my mother, as messages containing her wisdom often do when I'm wrestling with something.
A few days ago, she told me about staying close to the shepherd, as wolves find it easier to pick off isolated lambs. It dawned on me that, regardless of my isolation from friends and family, I'm never isolated from God's presence — more on that later.
Tonight's message brought me back to my days in grade school, where I had a few brief brushes with theater as a youngster. If my memory serves me correctly (this was something like 13 years ago), our class was split into groups, with each group set to create a skit about safety of some kind. I was paired with two friends, one of my few consistent companions, and a young boy with Down's Syndrome.
Stevie, as he was affectionately known by the class, probably wasn't the top pick for a theatrical performance. I'll skip over the specifics, but my friend and I ended up giving Stevie a simple speaking part that made him the star of our little drama, and my mom recalls Stevie's mother "bursting with joy over hearing him talk." It was a mark of my personality, she said, that I took the time to make him a part of it all, simply because people matter to me.
"My opinion is that God is into people too," she said. "Talk to Him all the time — I have been having coffee with Him often, and when I get up to do some thing else it seems He doesn't want me to go. Let Him talk too by reading his Words."
Wait, physically spend time with God? Should I pull up an extra chair in my little kitchen and make an extra cup of tea? Maybe God doesn't like tea... then the hammer, and the thing that tied it all together:
I remember my mom taking out the trash when I was young. The sound of the wheels dragging along the driveway still sticks with me as a piece of home, but it turns out that there was more to the routine than I had known about. It was a chance, a five-minutes' peace, to be alone with God.
"He would tell me He had been waiting for me to come out so we could be alone," she remembered.
"You are probably thinking I'm crazy, go ahead. God really does follow us around wanting to be with us especially when we are lonely."
So, all those times where I wallow in my sorrows, God's been simply waiting for me to realize that he's there? Following me with the hope that I'll turn around and jump into his arms and leave my foolish ignorance behind?
The last few months, in which I've allowed myself to spiral at times, are beginning to come together.
Maybe, I was brought out to Scappoose so I could learn and grow in the Lord without any distractions. It's something my mom — surprise, surprise — hit home in the latest message. Right now, I have the luxury of time without immediate responsibilities. No significant other, no wife, no kids — just a cat.
"Your relationship with Him is the foundation for the rest of your life, in which you may not be alone and you will need to work at being alone with God," she told me.
And right now, the only person I need to fight for alone time is myself.