Thursday, July 18, 2013

He's There if You Look for Him

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. Psalm 89:15

Monday morning I decided to really look for God everywhere during my day. God is omnipresent, but sometimes we are not present to Him, meaning we don’t consciously seek Him. Takes practice and a simple choice to focus.

So I did. During the morning it was easy. I saw God in the tree outside a window, its green leaves shaking in the joy of a cool breeze. I saw Him in Noah’s silliness, the dog’s unconditional love and in a friend’s heart. I felt Him in the courage of trying something new.

But after lunch, the easiness ended.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to see a counselor who specializes in food issues. On the phone this lovely lady gave me directions to her office and told me that parking in the back of her building was free.

As I neared the area of the office, I discovered I’d forgotten my google directions. I called my counselor and she gave me to them again, once again pointing out that I could park in the back.

I met my counselor and it turns out she is 13 years old. At first I thought, “Great. The Doogie Howser of mental health will be trying to help my 50 year old brain?” But then I remembered that my medical doctor, Kelsey, is 12 and she pointed me to food allergy tests that stopped years of stomach pains. Youth can be a great thing. So I opened my heart.

We had a good session and I left, not wanting a cupcake to ease the discomfort of seeing a professional. This was a good sign to me.  I walked to the parking lot in back to find my car was not in its parking space.

Thoughts of God were nowhere. I went back in and told my counselor that my car might have been stolen. She began to freak out. We went back to the parking lot so I could show her where my car was not and on the way, a man who ran a business in the same building walked by. When told of my situation, he said, “I’m sure you were towed. That’s permit-only parking back there.”

Sweet young counselor almost had a heart attack and went into guilt mode and apologized over and over. I felt bad for her and began to comfort her. “It’s not a person, it’s just a car,” I said. “And if it was towed, well that’s much better than stolen.” She calmed down and told me she would reimburse me for the towing.

I phoned the towing company and they told me they couldn’t tell me if my car was towed. I had to call the Denver police first. I called the Denver police and they said yes, it was towed by that company so call them back. O-kay. A cupcake started to look pretty good.

I called them back. “Oh sure, we towed it. But you’ll have to wait before we can locate it.”

??  O-kay.

I waited the prescribed 30 minutes and called them again. “The driver hasn’t called you yet? Here’s his number.”

The driver, in an extremely rude tone, told me he’d be at a certain address in exactly one hour. I was to come with (get this) $209.56 in cash only with exact change. I wanted to ask him if I would get my car and cocaine, too. I didn’t. I just started to wonder about what kind of icing would be on that cupcake.

Enter my husband John. He picked me up delighted to help. Well, he wasn’t delighted, but he wasn’t angry. Just one of those things that happen, right?

I told him the story.

“So you’re not going to go back to this counselor, are you?”

“Actually I will. She may not be good with parking lot rules or a client’s possible stolen car, but I have a feeling she’s good with food issues.”

John’s turn to look at me and say, “0-kay.”

We arrived in the tow driver’s neighborhood and found we’d entered a part of Denver where they manufacture shivs. Okay, maybe not, but it felt that way. After asking a couple of people, we found the address. We sat in an alley outside his business. Yes, an honest to goodness alley.

I called Mr. Charming and told him we were there at the exact time he wanted.

“I’m held up in traffic. I’ll be there in just a minute.”

“How long is a minute?” I asked.

He knew exactly what I meant and answered, “Half an hour.”

I got angry and hung up. How dare he? Why are people rude? I ranted and my husband listened in silence.

After a bit, the Spirit tickled my heart, “Remember what we talked about this morning?”

I let out a humph and turned to John, “So let me ask you, where is God in this situation?”

John answered quickly and sincerely, “Maybe He’s answering the tow guy’s prayers for money for food for his family.”

It was not a moment of appreciating my husband’s Godly perspective.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked. “This guy is a jerk! What woman would marry him? I should buy her a cupcake! She probably needs it more than me!”

When the guy showed up, (it was longer than half an hour) I did not show him the love of Jesus. He did not apologize for being so late so I used my brusque voice and took my time inspecting my car for any tow damage. I gave him the exact amount of extortion money he asked for and he gave me a receipt. We parted.

After, in my car alone, my emotions got out of my way and I processed what had happened.

I’d run into a jerk. There are plenty of them in the world. And I have to confess that there are many times I am one of them. And even though I’d begun the day seeking God in everything, when discomfort entered my world I sought comfort or at times, revenge.

So where was God?

He was always there. He was in my counselor’s office, sitting with me and holding my heart that so wants to get better. He was in the parking lot, giving me perspective that a car is not people. He was in those moments of frustration offering humor and wisdom and peace, even when I didn’t accept them. He was in John, trying to give me balance as always. And He was in me, giving me the courage to not have a cupcake, because it wouldn’t have offered what I needed. Only His presence could offer that.

I didn’t seek Him in everything on Monday. No need to beat myself up. Each day is new.

1 comment:

Helen said...

I have to admit, your story got me a little angry at the tow truck company/guy for you, too. It's probably going to be a lot easier for me to let it go than you, since I wasn't there. If I was your counselor, I'd be calling the towing company to see if that was a legit amount, since the guy wanted cash only. Glad you got a receipt. Now...pondering.... yes, God was there, perhaps more with you than with the tow truck guy. Yes, this was better than your car being stolen, and yes, thank God your counselor is reimbursing you, so yes, that's all good. You got to practice patience, (no, it's not practice if it isn't hard). Yes, you have a VERY supportive husband who's always on your side. Yes, grace is still in tact and your anger didn't cause your salvation to fall away like unwanted wrapping paper. Yes, you're smiling and writing today. And YAY, you've got a counselor you trust! If we get together with Stacy Voss, I'm sure we can find all sorts of gratimoments in your Monday afternoon. I love you!