Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Bossing God Around
Sorry I'm a little late today. My schedule is all out of kilter and I forgot it is Wednesday. I got home from New Orleans on Thursday by driving straight through and arrived so tired that my body still vibrated from the road for another couple of hours after I got out of the car. Saturday I went into Garland to see my old friends from Guatemala.
I can't remember how long it's been since Linda Terpstra and I came up with the idea of having them come visit us for World Communion Sunday but I vividly remember thinking, "Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen." There were too many barriers of funds, visas, and time from their work. The visas alone are almost impossible to come by for the average Guatemalan, not to mention the money for airfare. My government wants them to prove they will go back home once they get here so there are strict requirements. They have to prove they have family and money back home. The only ones I knew who were able to come in the past did it with the backing of our national church who did the paperwork for them. Coming to the US just so Linda and Jane could share communion with them was just about the feeblest reason I could imagine. I still don't know how they pulled it off but they did it.
Seven men and women from Presbiterio del Norte came. All but two were old friends to the extent that I've had a cup of coffee in Sonia's living room and met her kids and grandson. I've met Ludin's mother and Candido's wife. I was part of a group who gave Guilder a guitar for graduation from college. I've even borrowed money from Carlos. Except now I call him Tio Carlos, Uncle Carlos.
We are far more than friends. We are what they call in Guatemala "Hermana y Hermano",--sister and brother in Christ. I have prayed for Rumaldo's daughter who has Lupus and Candido's wife who has gone blind in one eye. I mourned Sonia's husband, Hector's death but wasn't surprised because I knew being diabetic in Guatemala makes it hard to manage the disease. And the first time we returned to Guatemala after his death we went to visit Sonia to do exactly what we do here when someone dies, we visited her at her house and shared stories of him.
And that's the remarkable thing about our friendship with the Norte Presbytery. From just one week's visit a year we have carved out deep friendships. We are welded together by the iron of Christ. When the language barrier tries to separate us we turn to scripture. I can point to a verse in my English bible and they can read it in Spanish in their bible. The one occasion we don't even try to translate is when we pray aloud. We understand that for once we aren't trying to talk to each other but our common Creator who understands both languages. God doesn't need a translator.
I made the mistake of giving God an assignment and a deadline this week. Silly me. I should have known God is much like a husband who rebels when I decide it's time for a haircut. Beaven once did this until his boss finally told him to get a haircut. Except God doesn't have a boss and can wait forever.
That's a little problem I have with God. God has eternity. I don't. I'm an old lady, I don't have that much time left. I'm on a schedule here and can't sit around and wait forever.
I want to get this book out and I had decided just how the book would end. The last chapter would be the Communion service last Sunday. It would wrap everything up with a tidy bow. The book starts with Guatemala, then goes to Hurricane Recovery. I thought how cool it would be to end it with Guatemala and some profound theological insight.
I tried to boss God around and as you might expect, God balked at the idea. I sat there in church Sunday madly taking notes, waiting for inspiration. Nothing. No great insights. God was uncharacteristically silent.
The only trick I have left to try is to mow. Mowing is a good mindless activity for me. It's good for me to have the time to just listen. We've got 23 acres out here, folks. I might be all day at it. But the weather is perfect today. I can take all day if I want.
And I just did it again, didn't I? I gave God another time limit. Never mind. Maybe if it comes to me on my deathbed my daughters can tell you. Or maybe the end of the book won't come until after my time has expired and it can be published post-humously and incomplete. I give up. Do what you want, God.
But I do humbly and sincerely Thank You for this moment.