I listened to my running mix, I think Bailaindo was on, Enrique’s beat so entrancing it had me swaying gently despite my body’s desire to give up and melt like molasses slowly down the cement stairs.
He was outside. His denim shorts, that of an older American man who was old enough to know the pride of a country and it’s denim. His white shirt was stained and sun-dried to the point of looking off white, beige even. His hair was gray and white, someone who could probably look slightly distinguished if he was wearing a suit and undoubtedly the type of beer-gut toting next door neighbor who was a man’s man. I know this from experience as I have been invited on more than one occasion to his “Big Game Dinner,” but his look also demonstrated this. He wore white socks with old black Nikes and had a cigar hanging from his mouth, probably a cheap cigar, but I’m sure he had a humidor with a collection of some of the finest a middle class American man could buy. He was expertly wrapping up a hose, a task he had done a million times before, and moving lawn accessories from one side of the yard to another.
She pulled in and waved as she always does since I see them every morning when I leave for work. Her newer Chevy SUV carefully entering the newly done driveway. Shortly thereafter she emerged from the side of the house. Her white capris with her casual sneakers, her dark blue top with her black jacket. Her red and black handbag pulling it all together and giving it personality. She approached the mailbox like a woman who has a task today. She didn’t approach sexy, not trying to show herself off to the rest of the world, she didn’t need to strut, or show her body, or entice anyone around. She was just getting the mail. That was what she did when she got home. She thumbed through things, a moment of solace before she had to start doing chores, even though she was undoubtedly ready to tell him everything that happened that day.
It was their routine… She checked the mail, he did the yard work, sometimes they’d work together. They lived lives. They lived them together. And as she walked back from the mailbox, I saw her in those capris and I thought of my former life. I thought of a wife who greeted me everyday in a pair of khakis or white capris. I saw a beautiful woman who bought a pair of salmon colored pants from Victoria’s secret and was so proud of her purchase it made me smile like nothing else. I saw Kohl’s trips and fashion shows. I saw smiles and kisses. I heard compliments and feedback about how things looked on one another. Darn those white capris. Darn those neighbors.
And as I watched them I considered the lilies… No, I considered all the trips I’ve taken over the recent years. I considered the hot and weathered stone beaches of Greece, the crystal clear waters of the Aegean, the mountain ranges that claimed position on the wonders lists, the dark blue foreboding oceans with the lonely cargo ships traveling their courses. I saw men and women dancing sensually on crowded dance floors, kissing and feeling the chemistry, as if dancing had just become a science…
And as I watched these two living life none of those trips, none of those pictures, none of those views even mattered a little. And as I watched these two normal Americans I considered the last meal we had together. Red Robin, and the burgers. When I told her I wouldn’t travel long distances anymore without her. When she told me she wanted to share those experiences with me. And as I watched them I thought about how I used to sometimes complain about her door greetings and how they weren’t excited enough after a long day of work.
What I wouldn’t give for a half hearted greeting now… What I wouldn’t give for even a slap in the face… What I wouldn’t give to open a door and see her angry face, having stewed and brewed over all the sin that I threw at her over the last couple years. I’d open the door and smile. She’d slap me hard and leave a mark and I’d say “I deserved that, how was your day honey?”
What I wouldn’t give to see what outfit she decided to wear. Or even commute together again. What I wouldn’t give to condo or house shop. Or walk through the streets of the town we chose to love together and comment on all the things that made us love or hate the houses we saw.
“But God remembered Noah and the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.” Genesis 8:1.
I see the life I caused. I see that sin doesn’t lead simply to death. The death of sin is a final death, but the life of sin is one of torment until that final act. The penalty of sin is far worse than death. The penalty of sin is torment unto death.
But God is greater than all of it. God is greater than sin, He is greater than death, and He conquered both in a single act of all-loving redemption. He sends His winds when he will. He sends His winds when He wills. I see them living, I see them loving, I see them walking and doing chores that I sometimes complained so much about. And I pray for a wind to bring me back to that. I pray for a wind powerful enough to end the flood of my life and cause all the waters to recede. My sin, like the sin of the people of Noah’s day caused a great flood in my life. I pray for a great wind to allow for life to grow, to allow for chores to occur again.
“Many are saying of me, ‘God will not deliver him.’ But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:2-5
And I know these floodwaters won’t last because I have a redeemer and sustainer. One who looks out from His mountaintop and sees His child. Who hears that cry and answers. He didn’t answer in the way I wanted, but He needed both hearts in order to do so. Two hearts that follow Him can still choose different paths unfortunately. But He remains a shield. He remains My Glory. He remains the one who lifts my head when I am downcast.
“Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant me what I hope for.” Job 6:8
I have prayed for hope recently. But sometimes I think my God… the God I serve… The God I love… is not a God who gives hope. He doesn’t need to give hope. Why do I need to be given hope when my God IS hope. I’ve already received hope when I received Jesus. I’ve already received all the hope that I need. I just have to pray that God allows me to see the hope that is already there. If I have the fullness of Christ in me through the Spirit of the Everlasting God, I don’t need an ounce more of hope, I just need to get out of the way so I can see all the hope that is already in me through Him.
Now obviously that Philosophy holds no true foundation because God wants us to draw closer to Him and in turn He will draw closer to us. He wants you to pray and He wants you to seek scriptures for His truths… But sometimes I think He would love to give us so much more but we let ourselves get in the way. We stand there trying to do it ourselves instead of kneeling before the only One who needs to stand. Jesus.
I wish I had seen it sooner. I wish I had the foresight to see that junk mail and yard work are glorious tasks when they are done within His will and the lives He brought together. What I wouldn’t give to whistle while I work, or adoringly look across a yard to see her just walking, comfortable in who she is in herself, in her God, and in her man.
God. Please give me sight to see what you already see. Please allow me to see the hope I already have in You.