On Easter morning, I got up to make pancakes, bacon and eggs for my husband and a friend of his who had stayed the night.
The irony of it struck me, as I quickly got dressed- just a week ago, I'd been day dreaming making breakfast for my own children, and here I was, about to prepare it instead for a forty-some year old man, thin and wiry from hard living in the Army, and hung over.
But in that moment, I heard a certain loving and familiar voice.
He's My child, Jesus reminded me.
It makes me want to cry each time I remember it, but at the time it filled me with wonder and recognition: of course. Of course he is.
I saw it so clearly when the fellow came out of the spare room and stood for a moment by the fireplace, too shy even to get his breakfast. All the bravado and loudness of the night before was gone.
The hard years that had been etched into his face fell away, and I could see him as a young boy, not sure of his welcome and pushed off to the side.
My years of being a big sister to three brothers immediately came to the fore. I called him by his name and led him into the kitchen, where I piled the food onto his plate and showed him the coffee.
I picked up Keith from the airport on Friday afternoon. The anxiety of it pressed down on me the entire day. Anxiety is just such a grinding thing to experience. It's not logical- logic can't touch it.
I kept reaching out for Jesus and finding Him there, but still the anxiety remained. I remembered that when we see hard things ahead, our Shepherd does not take us on a nice little scenic detour around it.
We go through it, and we fear no evil simply because He's with us. He has the tools to deal with the challenges that come up.
And the heart of my particular dread that Friday was this one place where the interstate highway ramp merges with another ramp, and the ramp to the airport exit comes right up after the merge.
I hate that sort of thing- all that coming and going and lane-changing. And it would be nearly five o'clock on a Friday! And I would be heading nearly into Atlanta!
And in my quest for a map, I had come across a bit of very unhelpful trivia that informed me of Atlanta being the busiest airport in the country.
Could it get any worse? I thought not.
The entire drive, I dreaded that particular bit of highway. As the interstate got more and more clogged with Friday afternoon traffic, my anxiety rose and tightened around my neck and shoulders. I kept flexing my hands on the steering wheel and rolling my shoulders, to ease the tension.
Then, just as the airport signs began popping up along the highway, out of the blue, a bit of jazz came on the radio- lovely moody jazz guitar trills and feathery back beats.
All my tension lifted, and as I took the ramp and rounded the corner, I saw that entire stretch of highway- that very stretch that I had so dreaded- and there were on it a total of two cars, far ahead of me, and taking another route.
No one else was coming. No one else was going. I had the entire expanse of pavement to myself, with lovely jazz to set the mood.
High on worship and adoration, I cruised right into the airport, located the cell phone parking lot and sat there, limp with wonder.
When I got the call from Keith, even the incredibly clogged pick up curb could not touch my peace. Even when airport security and police cars cruised by, lights flashing, loud speakers blaring, because of cars parked right in the middle of the road, my peace was not disturbed.
I just inched slowly along, caught up in the massive traffic jam, looking for my passenger, and staying as far to the right as I could.
When I saw this tall, big chested soldier standing with one booted foot crossed casually over the other and leaning against his suitcase, I almost didn't recognize him, except he was grinning at me. He walked right to the curb, where there was -miraculously again- an empty space, and pointed commandingly to the spot.
Now he is back at work and life is back to normal, and I love this life that I've been given.