I've been wanting to write this blog for several weeks now, but I keep putting it off. It seems that I keep getting these little nudges from God. I actually had a little nudge just this morning so no more putting it off.
It was a couple of weeks ago; actually a few days before my birthday. As my birthday approaches I do tend to get melancholy and reflective. I know this isn't a good thing but it happens nonetheless. I often find myself thinking at times about the "whys" in my life. Please, don't misunderstand, I wonder and ponder but I've learned not to dwell there.
This particular Monday I was wondering about why it is that Bruce and I will never be "empty-nesters". Everybody we know, or so it seems, is experiencing this chapter in their lives. The kids are going to college, their kids are getting married or starting new jobs and moving away. In my own mind I am fantasizing how these couples will be able to do all the things that empty-nesters do; travel, have great adventures, walks after dinner, retire, downsize,spend time together. But not us.
This is so hard to articulate because I don't want anyone to misunderstand. We love Ben and we are so grateful for the life that he has and the lives that he's touched. But, to be very honest, I do have days when I do wonder.....what if.....
I know and believe that this is God's sovereign plan and even though I don't understand His purposes, I do trust them completely.
I share those feelings so that you can appreciate what God did for me that Monday a couple of weeks ago. Even in my weakness and self-pity God reached down and touched my soul to the core. And although I didn't actually hear him audibly, He spoke loud and clear to me.
That morning I was feeling a little sorry for myself. Mondays are actually not my best days anyway. I reserve those days for trying to recuperate from the weekend. I got dressed, yeah!, and then got Ben up and dressed and we head out to lunch. Unfortunately, a mood like that doesn't help your attitude or disposition. So, Ben and I head off to Zaxby's. I turn in the parking lot and someone actually had the audacity to park in "my" space. Sometimes a sense of "entitlement" accompanies self-pity. I parked in the "other" handicap parking space. We get out and go in and low and behold someone is at "our" table. Well, not actually at ours but right next to it. This is our table because it's just so easy for Ben to pull right up and we don't have to navigate through all the other tables. So, the man wasn't exactly at our table but in "my" space.
I get Ben settled at the table and wait to see what he wants to eat and this man says something to us, probably "Roll Tide" since that's what most people say when they see Ben who is usually decked out head to toe in Alabama paraphernalia. But, I'm in no mood and just smile and hope he'll go away.
I order, get our drinks, napkins, ketcup, etc. and finally sit down. This man is obviously finished and in no hurry at all to leave. And he begins to talk. I don't remember exactly everything he said but we did talk about Ben finishing at Jeff State and hoping to get a job at a local university in the athletic department. We talked about Alabama football and Coach Bryant. We talked about his son who is a Catholic priest in some county in North Alabama. We talked about his brother who is a baptist and told him that the water Jesus turned into wine was a different water back then. We talked about the disciples and how God chose men that were so very different but such regular joes. He was very easy to talk to and by this time I had definitely warmed up to him. Maybe I was praying he had connections somewhere and could get Ben a job!
So by this time Ben has finished up and me and the old man are winding up our conversation. So I get up to go refill our drinks and this man walks by me on his way out and stops and says, "I really admire you and I want you to know you're doing a great job." With a huge lump in my throat I try to get out the words thank you.
At that very moment in my heart, in the deepest part of my soul, I felt the overwhelming presence of God speaking to me. That man said his name was Hartsfield. To me, that day, he was an angel sent from God. Wow, God showed His love to ME. To me, as I was loathing in my own self-pity. God in all His grace and mercy said, I love you, I know what you're going through and I'm right here beside you.