Friday, November 18, 2011

On Dragging Myself to Him

My boy and I drove in the dark, in the rain, to church. My eyes were red-rimmed from crying: at one point so hard I'd thrown up in the kitchen sink. I gripped the steering wheel and said to him: "I want you to pay attention to what's happening right now."

He looked up from the passenger seat. Even in the dark, I could see the depth and width of his gray-green eyes.

"I know I'm not perfect," I told him. "I know I mess up all the time, that I'm not always nice. But I believe in the power of prayer. I want you to see and hear me praying. I want you to know: this is what I do. And--just in case I step off a sidewalk, tomorrow, and get hit by a Mack Truck--I want you to remember: prayer is a good thing to do when you're in trouble, or scared, or upset.

"And it's a good thing to do first. That's the part that takes practice. We want to try to fix it on our own first. But I'm learning," I told him. "I'm learning! to pray first.

"Even though Mrs. Darlene's coming to our house tomorrow, and it's a wreck...even though I have to get up at 4:30 in the morning...I choose prayer meeting."

We walked, together, into our church with its warm light and faces. I was a wounded animal; I felt it. I dragged my heart like a dog drags broken hind legs, but I'd needed to make the trip in the dark, in the rain, because where better to go when I'm broken? I needed to go home where my trusted Master waited, and I write not of a physical place, but of a spiritual one.

I'm tired--do you hear me?--of cowering in a heap when darkness falls, when rain falls. I'll not sit in the pit anymore, licking my wounds. If I have to crawl on my belly, fingers in the dirt, I'll make my way to the foot of the cross. It's everywhere; He's everywhere; I'll never have far to go.

I'm more than a conqueror, and I can't be separated from His love (Romans 8:37-39), and I felt it, today, even though I'd knelt by Clementine's bed and prayed for the pink flower to drop out of her ear, and it hadn't. I could almost see the prayers of our people in the waiting room; they felt thick and shoulder-to-shoulder in the air around us.

A woman in a scrub cap approached us. We'd spoken with several kind people, already, and Clementine had eyed them, mostly, with indifference. But she held out her arms and lunged from Jim to this woman before she had a chance to introduce herself as someone from anesthesia come to take our girl away. The woman laughed and said: "That was easy." She talked with us for several minutes, holding Clementine all the while. Then she carried out our happily-chattering, tearless girl.

And that's how Jesus shows up for heartsick parents, also in the just-released girl's bounding from her wheelchair, curbside, to splash in puddles with her floral rain boots.

Sometimes the pink flower doesn't drop out; sometimes it has to be drawn out.

Sometimes our hearts don't fall gently into the lap of the Savior. Sometimes they have to be snapped, hard, in His direction. The importance lies in their blooming, one way or another.

On the left, the pink flower from Clementine's left ear.

Cade and Clementine, dancing tonight.

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