Thursday, January 17, 2008

Discussion around the supper table turned to matters of behavior. “You can dress a chimpanzee in a three piece suit,” Papa adamantly insisted, “But it won’t make a gentleman out of him.” I held my face straight for as long as possible—approximately two minutes before my breath wheezed out in a sort of giggle snort. Thankfully, Mom and Josiah had done the same. Mastering our giggles, we continued listening intently for another couple of minutes before the humorous mental images overtook us a second time, resulting in a second round of laughter. “Are you getting a picture of that?” Papa asked, a distant twinkle in his eye. “The worst part is,” I said, “That it keeps popping up—in different ways!” We all melted into laughter, each of us imagining a hairy chimp sporting a three piece suit and waltzing about pretending to be a gentleman. Perhaps it was one of those things you had to be their to appreciate.

I rode into RussVegas with Papa today for a very important occasion. The poor, beat-up Tempo is finally being replaced with a suave ’98 Toyota Camry. To copy the words of the oh-so-important voicemail I left Lauryn: It drives beautifully, but it sure stinks. Probably the previous owner was a smoker and somehow we managed to forget the smell-tests while test driving it.

Several interesting “nevers” to note: First, I’ve never been on campus a single day that I didn’t see Zach. This morning, walking from the parking lot behind the library to Summit and back again I managed to run into him. Second, I’ve never gone into the library without passing Taylor on his way out. He must spend his days going in an out of Ross Pendergraft’s special building. Third, I’ve never received a parking ticket, although I’ve never successfully located any visitor parking and simply park in one of the large parking lots regardless. Fourth, I’ve never called for an escort in Summit, always managing to tag a resident in and ride the elevator up to the fifth floor where I waltz into the Sweetest Suite. This morning I arrived early enough to catch the girls in their PJs and took a mental walk down memory lane, chatting with them as they got dressed and each headed out to class.

Amber begged to take me to lunch at Whattaburger. Just hearing that name sends my mind scurrying through an interesting host of memories. Amber’s not been very faithful to finish the Bible study notes I gave her, and I’ve not been very faithful to check up on her. She asked if we not continue them now that school’s started, “so that I won’t feel pressured to do it.” I’m really struggling. I know I really need to lay it out straight for her and talk to her about how vital it is that she be in the word daily. We’ve talked about it, and she knows it. I’m just so tired. So worn-out. So faithless when it comes to keeping her accountable. But I love her and I want to see her walking with the Lord. She’s just got so far to go—even the basics seem to elude her—and I simply don’t know how to get her from point A to point B. How do I make someone read God’s word? After lunch I took her to class and when I came back out of the library to leave campus several hours later I found a sweet note from her. I decided to drop by to see Dr. Roberts, the history professor whose class I so cheerfully disrupted a year ago with Lauren. He was gone to lunch, but I left a sticky note, signed “Girl”. “Do you think he’ll remember you?” Amber demanded. “By name?” I just grinned. “He’ll know.” She read my note over my shoulder. “Girl?! How in the world is he supposed to know who that is?” “He’ll know,” I said again.

Moving on to things of more eternal benefit. Along with behavior, we were discussing “a gentle and quiet spirit” and all the ins and outs of being gentle and quiet—whether it means lowering the decibals, making a habit of mumbling or simply rolling over and playing dead. What adorns a godly woman? Perhaps the secret is in the Holy Spirit and His fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. It is the characteristics that will make me beautiful before men and God long after my youth and health have faded. When I am old and weathered, the lines creasing my forehead, crinkling me eyes and hugging my mouth should not be lines of worry, wastefulness, anger or despondency.

Lord, teach me to be beautiful
In Thy Spirit, heart and soul
For Thou can set the plainest face
Aglow with Thy own saving grace.

May my face a mirror be
Of Thou, my glorious deity
That Thou might look on me, perfected
Because Thou sees Thyself reflected.

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