Playing with words, snapping them together like lego bricks with idle attention,
like walking where everyone else runs,
or driving twenty-five in a fifty-five while staring at the clouds.
It feels like there are hundreds of thousands of people sprinting past me with a goal for their words,
a construct in mind,
and here I ramble,
not even sure what I’m writing until I’m most of the way through.
Does this have a purpose?
Does it have to?
Is there a purpose to purposelessness?
A blessing in the verbal equivalent of wandering through a city with five hours to kill and no type A’s to set the schedule?
Maybe I find something, maybe I don’t.
Who knew there’s a nice szechuan shop tucked away on 5th?
There isn’t. I made that up. Don’t go there.
It’s an example.
Uncertainty is part of the equation.
Or maybe the recipe. Recipes can be fudged. Equations are pretty solid.
The recipe is a dietary regimen for faith.
Sorry that I’m stuck on that. I don’t seem to have much choice. I could try exercising Sartre’s radical freedom, but there are choices that definitely shouldn’t be taken.
And anyway, I’ve tried self-destructive behavior. It got old long before I realized it had.
So I’m stuck waiting, feeding my faith on a five part mixture.
Prayer, promises, pain, uncertainty and patience,
trusting that the plant growing up in front of me is going to bear some serious fruit eventually.
The leaves do match the description, and I’ve gotten a few lemons off it,
hey, lemonade is SERIOUSLY refreshing in dry weather,
but do you have any idea how long it takes trees to grow?
My twenty-first century existence has not prepared me for waiting on the growth habits of something that measures lifespan in centuries.
No, God does not grow,
though Jesus did for a span, so I suppose in a way He did once.
It’s encouraging that He knows what it’s like to be thirty-three and wifeless,
but what he chose to do with Himself at that age tells me what He thinks of my complaints.
“Take up your cross and keep walking.”
Yes big brother. I’ll follow you.
Right after I’m done whining about how hard it is.
I’m getting better. Really. Sometimes I actually remember that other people have problems and I whine on THEIR behalf.
When He reminds me to.
And leads me in the words.
Yeah, I’m getting better because He made me get better. He’s THAT kind of big brother.
The kind you complain about because he makes you do what Dad told you to, but never actually insult because you know He’d beat the pants off anyone who might actually harm you.
The kind who picks you up and pays your bail when you screw up in ways you didn’t even know you were capable of.
Or comes and finds you after your whole misspent youth is done burning to the ground and asks,
“Are you ready to do it Dad’s way now? C’mon, get in the car and we’ll go home.”
I’ve got nothing left, Big Bro. I wasted everything Dad gave me.
“You’ve got me confused with that other older brother. Come on. Someone else can feed the pigs.”
That’s my Jesus.
That’s how I know him.
Most people don’t seem to.
Yet I wander aimlessly and find him everywhere.
Finding Him everywhere is a funny concept.
If I read a novel shouldn’t I find the author everywhere in it?
Yes and no.
Even though every sentence is obviously his handiwork, a good author knows how to get out of the way of the story so that it can point to something bigger than himself.
In God’s case, when He authors something, something being everything, it points to Himself.
There IS nothing bigger.
Yet somehow He also gets out of the way of the story.
Yes He’s telling it, and yes it’s about Him, but just try and spot Him doing it.
His technique is masterful.
That’s an understatement, actually.
Every technique that human authors have ever devised is a fumbling attempt to stuff a tiny fraction of the story into a whole book that He can put into one flower without seeming to try.
And one flower and a bee…
That’s a thing of wonder.
Sit still some time and just watch a bee visiting flowers, fumbling around gathering nectar and pollen.
Look through a camera with a zoom lens if it helps you focus.
Or if you don’t like being close to bees.
I did it for a full minute once.
Or maybe two or five. I wasn’t keeping track.
At some point I started crying.
Maybe I’m the only man who’s ever been brought to tears by watching a bumble bee bumbling through a garden.
But I doubt it. It was glorious.
Glorious, and gentle, and simple, and beautiful, and good.
Like walking through a city for five hours with nothing to do,
exploring aimlessly and watching for one of those moments when God checks to see if anyone is paying attention.
That’s every moment of every day, mind you.
He’s always checking, always preparing a glimpse of Home,
“Get in the car with your brother, I’ve got such wonderful things prepared for you in what’s to come.”
The message is there for the ramblers,
for the people who’ve lost the certainty that the plans of this world are where it’s at and are willing to try that uncertain route called “faith”.
Uncertain because someone else is driving.
And He has unusual ideas about the best life choices for a man who is thirty-three and wifeless.
No, he’s definitely not safe.
But He is good.
And He also tells a great story.