Friday, January 11, 2008

Not only should you not judge a book by its cover, but you should also beware judging by its language. Josiah and I ventured out to buy wood from yet another source and found our seller chewing tobacco, destroying the English language, cordial, kind, with amazing customer service and one of the most naturally born gentlemen I’ve met. “Aroun’ here,” he mumbled, sending out a stream of tobacco juice onto the ground, “we don’t let ower leddies work. We’ll handle it, ma’am. Won’t take us long.” I protested that standing by while he and Josiah loaded the pick-up made me feel useless. “Not useless,” he chided. “Yer doin’ the drivin’.” Whatever qualms I might pick with the South, the folks down here treat each other with respect, and chivalry turns up in even the least promising places.

As we passed the High School on the way home, we noticed Zach’s pick-up parked near the road and remembered he’d be speaking to the Christian Student Union. We said a quick prayer, pulled in, left a note under the wiper and continued on our way. Some people are simply predictable. “It will mean a lot to him,” Josiah and I told each other. “He’ll call us when he finds it.” Should we have been surprised when the phone rang mid-afternoon and Zach’s voice came over the line? “Thanks for the note,” he said, “it meant a lot to me.”

I suffer from a severe guilt complex. Please say you didn’t notice. I’m forever finding fault with myself and hearing my name fills me with dread that I will be rebuked. As if I were rebuked often. When Papa asked me for his SLR camera, which I have used for several years now and was packed with my things during the move, I felt a funny little knot of fear work itself into my vocal chord. As it vanished behind his bedroom door, I worked my nimble thoughts, trying to untie the straining throat, until he came out and asked to see me in his room. “What did I do wrong?” I wondered. “How was I not taking good enough care of it?” Backpack, lenses, filters, camera and cleaning supplies lay scattered across the bed. “See this?” he asked, waving his hand over the extend of my photography experience. I took a breath, waiting for the punch line. “It’s all yours.” Some moments hang on the edge of eternity before finally dripping through the chasm of time. If time hadn’t caught it’s breath along with me, I’m sure I’d have suffocated and this journal entry would have never existed. Instead I gathered the precious pieces into my arms, carried them into my room and deposited them on my own bed to be cleaned and put away after supper.

I launched out on a journey through the entire Bible today. In the past—the far, far past—I used to attempt the straight through read, only to find myself bogged down in Leviticus and Numbers. If by some miracle I reached solid ground back in Dueteronomy, I was sure to skip Song of Solomon (it wierded me out) and usually wind up on repeat mode in Psalms and Proverbs. Hopefully I shall reach my destination in Revelation this time. So far the simple truth of the gospel has stood out in perfect relief: fallen man, saved through believing God as evidenced by obedience. Tragedy to triumph—in order to bring God glory. And blessings—He blesses those who obey Him.

Lord, may I ever, eager be
To magnify Thy will in me,
That all who chance to read my story
Pause and give Thee all the glory.

May I prove that I am Thine
By making known Thy greatest sign:
Changing water into wine
By changing worthless lives like mine.

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