the ebb and flow has
meanwhile I stand
on the shoreline
wearing dry sand
like a hairshirt.
but waters flow,
and there should be
on the shore
The people at the table near me were an odd couple - he a young, lean white guy and she a heavier set African American woman who seemed not quite with it mentally. I wondered if he was a caseworker of some sort. I wondered off and on while I read my book and ate lunch at the Antique Kitchen.
They talked about money a lot, though, in the context of, "How much is the cheeseburger special?" and "Look, it's only $4.50 for chicken strips". He encouraged her to spend some money on lunch, but she only wanted the cinnamon roll. Then she said she'd buy his meal but he said she didn't have to, and that he just didn't want to break his twenty. She said no, really, I just got a check and I'll get another check in a month. I didn't really know what the deal was. God seemed to nudge me to buy their meal, but then I thought maybe they really had plenty of money and this was just some kind of learning experience. But then I didn't think that was God's point. God was just giving me a chance to give, and to experience his love through serving someone.
When I was at the cash register and told Rhonda the waitress very quietly that I wanted to pay the other table's bill, she said, "I'm sorry that I couldn't come to the Family Film night at your church. My daughter got sick." I told her that was fine, I understood, and we'd have another one she could come to. And then I realized - Rhonda thought of Threads because she saw Christ flowing through me. Who knows - maybe God just wanted Rhonda to see a glimpse of him. Actually all I really know is that I drove away feeling filled with his Love, and knowing what a gift God had given me in such a simple thing like buying pancakes.
Just let me have some more of that moolah,
let me dogpaddle through the cash.
Bury me deep in hills of dough,
while heavenly coinage rains down.
I’ll frolic in the greenbacks,
gleeful, joyful, tossing high the dinero.
Oh yes, the lovely loot,
thrown pedestal high,
how fine the long green looks.
So fine with the Lamborghini and Jaguar,
So fine with the six-foot widescreen plasma TV,
So fine with the platinum and diamond right-hand ring.
Oh yes, the lovely loot, sitting on the sparkling
altar, on draped 800 thread-count sheets.
I want it, I deserve it, I should gift myself.
I need to spoil myself a little. Okay, a lot.
I’m supposed to prosper,
and so God will bless me
with lots of dough, and lots of Pretty Things.
Riches matter, this I know, because
The Media tells me so.
God says just ask and you’ll receive.
I need only to believe.
Luxury beckons, golden calves shine brightly.
And nowadays everyone is treating themselves.
Holy god of believe and receive,
Bless me, bless me, with the Almighty Dollar.
My old hometown is still a one stoplight town, even though the stores change facades. Someone had the excellent idea of adding old-fashioned lampposts along the sidewalks, and each one held an American flag - the town is ready ahead of time for its Memorial Day parade and celebration. I saw that Nelson Music is still open. I went to high school with Curt Nelson, who became a local musician and roofer/construction work/adult foster care provider. Well into his 4th decade of life Curt finally realized his dream and opened up a music store with a partner. He supplements his small town sales with guitar lessons during the week.
I thought about Tom and Sharon, who live in a modest house right in town, behind our old football coach's house, where everyone has a front porch with a swing, and sidewalks made for strollers and roller skates. Tom and Sharon really got to know each other the night of our high school graduation, married 10 months later and had their first child about nine months after that. Their two girls live close by and bring the grandchildren over often. Tom will probably retire soon after being a custodian at our old high school for the last 30 years or so. I must say, if I was to trade lives with anyone, I think I'd ask for one like they've had. A solid but modest home, a front porch swing, family and friends in walking distance, waving to everyone you see because you know everyone. I just don't think life gets any better than that.
It was a contemplative drive. One full of nostalgia, joy, love, contentment and was achingly beautiful. I saw God in the leaves, heard him in the lawnmowers, felt him in the coolness of a perfect spring day's breeze.