Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Hurt and The Healer Collide

I’m passing mile marker 106 on I-64, eastbound, when I start mulling over my to-do list.

Let’s see, I've got to pick Jon up from basketball camp at noon, take Nate to Subway as I promised him, get Jon changed and to rehearsals by 1:30 p.m. -- and somewhere in between all that I need to get supper figured out and when on earth is Colt going to squeeze in his nap? And, darnet, this Saturday is Travis’ birthday and I haven't finished his gift.

It’s only 11:23 in the morning but my mind is already somewhere around noon, 1:30 p.m., and this coming Saturday.

In the midst of my ruminating, I roll down the driver’s side window. The Holy Spirit comes blowing in, reminding me of a question I recently read, “Where do you think I intended for you to live: in the past, the present, or the future?”

I remember the book, I know the answer, so I reply quickly, “The present.”

“Correct, and where are you living now?”

“The future,” I say just above a whisper, as to not let my step-son, sitting passenger side, hear me.

 “Correct again,” the Holy Spirit nods, “and you know, I’ll be there too, in your future - but right now I am here, in the now. Experience me here. After all, you’re the big writer, eh? Don’t you know that “I AM’ is present tense?”   

I laugh aloud. Guess I see where I get my sarcastic sense of humor from. Ha.

“Ok, Lord, I got it. You’re here now. I’ll pay attention.”

I take a deep breathe. The air feels warmer than it did before. 

I roll down all four windows, letting the air violently whip in and out. Here I am, driving down the interstate, in a silver, 2001 Ford Windstar; an eleven-year-old beside me, fist pumping at every semi-truck that passes, hoping to get a honk; a two-year-old behind me, kicking my seat while steadily throwing french fries all over my already fast food covered floor boards; and I’m still twenty miles out from my nine-year-old son’s basketball camp. 

Everything, in the physical, screams boring, suburban, typical, mom.

As the wind whips blonde strands of hair across my shades, it sticks to my lip gloss. I use two fingers to gently pull the hair away and attempt to tuck it behind my ear. It flies right back. I run my hand up the side, then the back of my neck, and on up through my hair. I extend my hand out the window as far as I can. In this moment, I feel like no weary soccer mom. No, no, no. I feel free, adventurous...alive. Like I’ve been transformed into a young girl again, two-days shy of eighteen, running off with the "bad-boy" in his rag-top convertible, rocking out to Springsteen, not worried about what’s to come, and not caring, as long as he is with me.

 Bordering the highway is every shade of green imaginable, in every shape, and every size, and they all have a species name.  Dancing among the greens are yellows – no, more like golds – and lavenders and fiery oranges. They all point in one direction: higher. 

The sun must have heard me, because it rose up as if to say, “Ahem, I am the fieriest orange He made! look at me!” So, I look, but not for long. Even at ninety-three-million miles away, its brilliance is too much for my eyes to fixate on.

As it hangs there in the sky, awaiting dusk, I can hear the hosts of heaven applauding its act, and shouting, “Encore, encore, rise again another day.” I applaud with them.

It’s not just nature reflecting the divine. It’s also the road hard motorcycle gang closing in on my rear view mirror. As they zip past me I think, “How dangerous!”

I’m dangerous,” the Lord winks back.

Aha, no wonder I feel eighteen again. Why, I.... I bite my bottom lip, trying not to smile, a little embarrassed, and not sure if I’m ready to accept such an out-of-the-box view of God, but I finish my thought anyway....why, I am running off with the ultimate bad boy.
Photo by: Jason Lee Perry

Oh, how I wish I could’ve seen the look on those Pharisees’ faces. And with that image, my lower lip slides out from my top teeth’s pressure and my half smile turns full. 

The car behind me begins to tailgate, inching closer and closer. I get the impression this driver isn’t as interested in “experiencing God here and now” as I am. His mind is in the future, and I’m holding him back from getting there. I move over to the right lane and let him pass. I toss a smile his way as he drives past; he smiles back, except with his middle finger. I can’t help but giggle when I see the handicap parking permit hanging from his rear view mirror. “Yeah, handicapped, alright -- on several levels,” I think to myself. I send a quick prayer up for him, and shrug it off; just another one of God’s angry kids.

“Hey, Morgan, do you think I can make this one honk?” My step-son, Nate, interrupts, leaning his head towards the window in order to direct my attention to the approaching tractor-trailer.

“I know you can,” I answer with a smile awkwardly large for his simple question. You can do so much more than you even know, son. We all can – through Him.

The truck passes silently. Nate sinks into his seat, disappointed that the driver didn’t even look his way. I watch the semi-truck pass. It’s hauling giant equipment that I can’t identify, but whatever it is, I’m sure it’s headed somewhere, to become a part of something greater than itself – and I know the feeling. 

The wind and pollution spiraling around the car irritates my contacts, but I've never seen so clearly in all my life. 

This must be what Thomas Merton felt when he, too, wrote about experiencing God: “I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. 

I feel the fire, and the music, too. 

My knees have that weak feeling you get after barely dodging a wreck, my heart pounds in my stomach, and right there, at mile marker 111, I experience God here, and now.

I turn up the radio, and the Holy Spirit couldn’t have been singing any more clearly: 
"I’m alive, even though a part of me has died.You take my heart and bring it back to life, I’ve fallen into your arms open wide. The hurt and the Healer collide...."
Don't worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will care for itself.
Fall into His arms now. Lean into Him as much as you need to today. Draw near to Him in this moment, and He will draw near to you -- but buckle up, cause peace hits hard when the hurt and the Healer collide.

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