I'm glad my veteran is home with me this morning, researching ways to improve our computer and scribbling unintelligible things down on a note pad while listening to helpful instructional videos.
He's wearing a brand new, bright red tee shirt that reads "Callahan's Auto Parts." That shirt is one of ten that he ordered last week and had been waiting eagerly for all day yesterday. He has a Cool Aid smile tee shirt, the "Not Made in China" shirt and many, many others.
The clutch went out in his work truck, Max. Today we must pick up the new part and go grocery shopping together. This means that when it comes to checking out, I'll find a few unexpected items in the cart. Keith will be just as amazed as I.
"Where did this come from?" he will wonder, shaking his head. "Who would have put this in here?"
We'll purchase it anyway, of course, despite the mystery.
It dropped thirty degrees last night and when we woke up, the lawn was smothered in silver frost. It was cool enough in the house that I put my house robe on over my PJs. As I did, I noticed the dogs getting all excited and underfoot, with much tail wagging and eager expressions.
"Crazy little dogs!" I muttered. "What on earth do you think is going to happen?"
Then I remembered that in Kentucky, where we did not have a fenced in back yard, I had been forced to get up and walk them at all hours of the day and night. Very frequently, I was wearing my robe.
This experience must have taught them that the house robe equals going outside, smelling things, barking and remarking their territory, all very exciting and worthy activities.
In the interests of research, I spent all yesterday afternoon reading through a lot of my very, very old diaries. In particular, I read the one that spanned my graduation trip to England, when I was eighteen, all the way to my divorce from Bill. My last entry is dated October 1998, so that was... thirteen years ago?
All those thirteen years and I never once reread that thing. I couldn't, because the diary describes some of the worst years of my life. That diary was like a little time bomb, just quietly ticking away in my plastic storage bin.
But I guess by rereading it at last, I defused it. I'm still processing everything that came up for me as I read it. The thing that stood out to me the most were the entries I wrote about Jesus. In fact, my jaw dropped on more than one occasion as I read through the diary.
I had no idea. I had forgotten it all- I blacked it right out. I made myself forget, because the transition from who I had been to who I was when I married my ex husband was so steep and so horrific. I couldn't explain it. It took me years to heal from it.
I was eighteen years old when I wrote this:
"Dear Jesus," I wrote, back in mid September of 1996, "I read about You today and how the people followed You only because You gave them free meals. At least the crowd that followed You after You fed the 5,000. Then when You spoke of the important stuff- You being the Bread of Heaven, they grumbled and left You..."
Oh, that just makes me laugh out loud. Oh my goodness. What's hilarious is that, a month ago, when I was rereading the Gospels for the first time in a long time, I had the exact same reaction to that scene.
Here's another one:
I love You. You are close to me- You will never leave me. You will see to all my needs. You guide me along paths of righteousness for Your name's sake. You are faithful to keep me bound close to You. You have placed me like a seal over your heart, like a seal over Your arm. You are the author and finisher of my faith."
Whoa Nellie. That explains a lot, don't you think? That beautifully illuminates everything I've been experiencing lately.
When I finished that diary, I read a much older one. By the time I was sixteen, I was starting to develop an actual relationship with God.
How I did this is a complete mystery to me. Parts of the diary just show up, alive and beautiful, in the tangle of religious thought and self condemnation. Where on earth did they come from? How did I know that?
In April of 1994, when I was sixteen, I wrote this:
"So, at the same time as I discover this, I'm rejoicing in another kind of newness. It adds up to create a sense of wonder or a feeling like I'm a baby, just learning to walk, or like the disciple who walked on water. If he looked away from Jesus, he sank. I sink, but I look to Jesus every time the water reaches my ankles. Then I come to my senses and and I'm borne back up, forgiven, loved and helped to keep going. All I have to do is look to Jesus and He takes care of it.
"I am created just to please God. In one way it's humbling, in another it's more exciting than I have yet imagined.
"Well, this spiritual high will go, but God will still love and care for me as He does right now, and my roots in Christ will be deeper."
Reading this stuff just fills me with awe. Isn't life mysterious? Isn't it beautiful? Our entire life, He is drawing us to Him with cords of love, cords that can never be broken.