Thursday, January 13, 2011

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.” ~John Bunyan

I woke up a half dozen times last night, thoughts conceived, ideas forming, plans about to be delivered. Lying in bed, covers pulled up to my cold nose, I regurgitated data I’d subconsciously taken in back in our early days on Ebay, running mental calculations, forming a selling model, and weighing risks. I think I might know a small online business venture that will pay its own way. But it could have waited for its hatching until daylight and left me to slumber in peace.

My father has certainly raised an odd crop of children. Sometimes I look back on the day’s happenings and simply chuckle. Now devoid of sons, he packed his girls up in their coveralls and trekked out in the woods to cut wood. Not so surprising or odd. But when the lawn-tractor, to which we’d attached a trailer to haul logs, showed a tire puddled up into a flat mess, the really interesting began to happen. Lydia and I made a super team, as I jacked up the tractor and she retrieved the green slime and began to take careful measurements. Actually, the jack was too tall for the lawn tractor, and I had to pick up the rear end while she shoved it under. After chocking the wheels, of course. She showed me how to take out the valve needle and pump in the slime, then I hauled out our bubble of compressed air and pumped it back into a healthy donut shape. Viola. Back to business. After we finished, Lydia was dispatched to disconnect the battery cables, to save the battery over the winter months.

I’ve gotten used to doing odd kinds of jobs myself, but the humor is hitting home to me now that my thirteen-year-old sister is out-manning most of the men coming out of Americana college life. And teaching me a few techniques in the process.

"Where’s the salad spinner?” I asked aloud, a floury tortilla-to-be in hand, as I opened cabinet doors and peered into shelves. On the other side of the blanket that partitions the living room from the kitchen, I heard Lydia pause in her piano practicing. But that was the extent of an answer. A salad spinner doesn’t just disappear. Especially not our watermelon-sized contraption. Baffled, I went in search of Mom, the forever reorganizer, to discover if my missing tool had been relegated to the back shelves of some distant cabinet. No such luck. Returning to the kitchen, I opened the door to the cabinet where it should have been, just on a whim. And there it sat, calm and contented, and very obtrusive. Exactly where it had not been five minutes before. “Lydia!” I hollered, and the piano stopped again. “What?” came her innocent response, followed by a giggle. She’d misplaced it while stowing away clean dishes and decided it would be funnier to replace it than to ‘fess up.

I sat before the Lord today feeling entirely empty. Empty, but at rest. I read nothing. I prayed nothing. I thought nothing. But I knew again that I was before the Lord. That there is not a hiding place on earth I could be that He is not, not a word I could whisper that He would not hear, not a tear I could cry or a smile cross my face that He would not see. And I walked away, silent, but calm.

Why do I strain and weep and plead

When Thou art all I want and need?

And Thou art He who hast pursued

Me with Thy mercy, rich and good.

I cannot be more close to Thee

Than Thou hast worked through Calvary

And resting in Thy risen Son

Has made my soul, in Thine, as one.

I wrestle with Thee for Thy grace

And plead to see Thy precious face

When Thou hast lavished grace on me

And promised for eternity

To be my sun, my shield, my light.

‘Tis Thou hast vict’ry in this fight!

Thou won the battle before time.

Why should I need a surer sign?

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