Friday, March 25, 2011

Chapter eight, page three

Quinn steered his vehicle into a parking lot on his left and I realized I hadn’t been paying attention to where we were going anymore.

The parking lot was large and very few open stalls.  Across the street towered a large building with old style character.  The sign out front was carved out of stone and etched the hotel name in fancy script.  A long cobblestone driveway graced the front of the beautifully crafted building.

“Um, Quinn?  We left one hotel just to visit another?”

“Non, Cherie.  We are only using this parking lot.  We still need to walk a little ways to our destination.  Are you alright with that?”  He parked the car in an open space and turned to face me.  “The parking is poor in this part of town.  This is the best place to leave the car. Ready?”

“Sure.  Although I don’t know where we are going.”

“I know.  Isn’t this fun?”  Quinn whipped around and out his car door.  So I followed his example.

As we started to walk, he reached for my hand.  “D’accord?”

“Yes.”  Sensing the warmth and tenderness of his hand enveloping mine felt perfect.

“Tell me something, Cherie.”

I nodded.

“Why does God always tell you what you should do next?”

“He doesn’t normally do that.”

“But He did.”  Quinn said.

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Why did He do that then?”

I shrugged, offering my best guess.  “Because He can.”

“But He doesn’t usually?”


"So how do you usually know what you should do next?"

"Sometimes you have to just try several different options.  Most of the time you will feel peace about one way and not another."

"But you have to fumble about with it?"

I half laughed.  "It does feel like that sometimes."

“And you still call him a loving God?”

Suddenly I felt crowded.  Casually, I managed to talk myself into a corner.  The walls of my doctrine started closing in around me.  How do I begin to answer his doubts?  “Yes, He is loving.  He guides us through things in many different ways but usually He is not as obvious as He has been lately.”

“So let me see if I get this.  God has a plan for you but He wants you to grope around for it?  But every once in awhile he shakes things up by throwing in a few visions?”

“No.  Not exactly.  God can speak to our hearts and direct us through our conscience.  But mostly believers use the Bible to judge what step is next.”

Even saying that felt weak.  I know what I believe about God; He is always there and He will never leave me or forsake me.  Yet, there are so many times in my life when I feel like I do have to guess what God wants from me.  Many people I know say they wish God would just speak out loud to them or leave a big flashing sign for them.  Or even send a vision of which step is next.  Either way this is one of the mysteries of God.  Why doesn’t He do those things?

“The best answer I can come up with, Quinn is that He wants our devotion.  He wants us to want to follow Him.  So instead of leading us through direct methods, He prefers that we seek Him personally.  It is like a friendship.  You don't sit down with someone you want to befriend and write out all their likes and dislikes.  Instead you discover truths about each other by spending time together and talking from your hearts.”  I watched Quinn for a moment as we walked hand in hand down the sidewalk.  He seemed unmoved.

“It is the concept of free-will.”  I continued.  “If everything was laid out for us we would be like robots moving along a pre-determined plan.  God doesn’t love robots.  He loves people.  So He has given us all the chance to choose to follow Him.  Does that make sense?”

“As clear as muddy water."

"Well, I don't know.  Then what would make it clearer?"

"Could you explain it with an example?”

“Do you mean an example of how He directs me?”

“Yes.  Tell me of one of the hardest things you’ve had to sort out lately and tell me how He helped you.”

I am certain the sidewalk tilted and the buildings warped at that moment.  Everything shifted in my head giving the sensation I was falling.  All I could think of was the deep dark pit I had spent months and years in after Mitch’s death.

Surely that experience would qualify for an example of the hardest thing I've had to sort out lately.  Only, it wouldn't suffice in explaining feeling God's help and guidance.  After Mitch's death I felt lost.  I still do really.  Time often stood still while I tried to figure out which foot to move.  Then once I had the foot patterns worked out it seemed a mystery which direction to head.

Naturally, I am not a fighter, so I decided it was easier to just stay home.  I could usually manage to find my way around my own floor plan no matter what condition I was in.  Besides, if there were days when I couldn't  - nobody saw me.

I remember, long after Mitch's passing, kind-hearted people would tell me I should feel blessed that God has given me a trial that He can use.  ‘Just think of how you can help others now’, they’d say. They tried to help me see a way to use the pain.  Only I didn't really want to help others deal with their grief.  I had enough of my own to handle.

In fact, how can I be qualified to help Quinn see that God leads us through our trials and our pains when I have felt lost inside a torrent of sorrow for three years?  If God did lead me through it, I was blinded to His hand.

My silence after his question must have made Quinn feel uncomfortable.  “I am sorry Cathie, if I have upset you.  You do not need to tell me anything.”  He squeezed my hand.

“It’s okay.  I just wish I had a better answer for you.  All I know is what I believe to be true about God.  He loves me and He has a plan for my life.  It is not His plan to hurt me or cause me pain.  However life is painful.  Life is just naturally filled with yucky things.”  I stopped walking momentarily and turned Quinn to see his expression.  “I would have pain in my life even if I didn’t have God.”

Slowly his head nodded.  “I see what you mean.  It is always nicer to have someone to help you shoulder your burdens though, isn’t it?”

Then Quinn steered me off the sidewalk up a few steps to a building with endless windows.  We entered the front doors briskly and straight through the lobby.  When we reached the elevator, Quinn turned to me.

“I want you to meet Anna.”

I had an inkling that was where we were headed when we entered the building.  There were folks walking in every different direction.  Some dressed in scrubs and lab coats, while others looked like patients.

The elevator door opened before I could answer him.  Once inside I asked, “are you sure she won’t mind?”

“Anna?  Not a chance.  She loves people.”  He turned to select the third floor button.  “Besides I have a strange feeling that she is going to adore you.”  He squeezed my hand.  The sensation ran the length of my arm right into my heart.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dad Janz for pointing out the spelling error. Sorry to those of you who read this prior to Saturday at 10:30 because we found three errors!!