Thursday, August 7, 2008

A phone call kafuffle

Here's a moment for you:
Yesterday I needed to call an old friend.  I don't talk to her more than once a year, but we're friends of the sort that time doesn't matter.  Beve and I are hoping to crash at their house a weekend in September because my nephew is getting married near where they live. If they're home that weekend, our staying there won't be a problem.  We've done this back and forth with them whenever the need arises for the last twenty years (oh my gosh, has it really been that long?). Mandy and the Beve were both hall directors at PLU in the mid-eighties.  Mandy's daughter was three months old, and E was three weeks old when we moved there, so we had an instant connection. Those babies lived their first two years in the dorms, eating at the university cafeterias, being friends not only with each other, but with half the students on upper campus.  So I picked up the phone, dialed what I had listed as her cell and---the voice on voice mail identified himself as a completely different old friend.  I hung up.    The truly odd thing is that these two people actually know each other-- Cam was a student in our wing of the dorm. He loved E, gave her some really great gifts, even as a college student--books and a wonderful stuffed bear to match the one she carried every moment of every day.

But I didn't know I had Cam's cell-phone, and certainly don't know how I managed to store it in my cell as Mandy's. Just talented, I guess. But a few minutes after I hung up on Cam's voice,  my cell rang, identifying the caller as Mandy.  It was Cam, of course, wondering who had called him.  He was startled to hear from me.  He's on his honeymoon, making my call even more awkward.  I don't know much, but I know better than to call someone on their honeymoon...if I'd known anything. 

He called it a serendipitous accident, which is redundant, actually, but I got the point.  He was glad to hear from me.  Took a moment to ask, "How's your book?" Thrilling me no end...but it wasn't unexpected.  He's asked me several times over the years for a copy--which I've never given him, or most other people, for that matter.

I never did hear from Mandy yesterday.  Called her actual house, left a message.  I guess she wasn't on her honeymoon with nothing else to do but return phone calls. I'll try again today. See who I get when I press the keys this time.

Isn't it nice to know that when we call God we get Him every time?  No busy signal, no "Leave a message at the beep and I'll get back to you?"  No mixed signals so we end up talking to someone else?  I have to be honest, though, sometimes when I call out to Him, it doesn't feel like I have gotten any further than my own ceiling.  My words seem hallow and lame.  Maybe like I'm trying to say the spiritual things that He'll hear better.  The other day, a young woman was here (she's also stayed at the Wiley youth hostel in the past), and she was talking about how mad she is at God right now.  Mad at her parents, and mad at Him.  Beve said, "That's good--talking to God when you're mad can be the most honest praying you do." And I thought of all those angry Psalms, all those pain-laced laments, all those cries for God to smite enemies.  I try too hard to make things pretty, to say just the right things. But what am I really feeling?  Where do I really need God to be my rock and refuge?  Tell Him the truth, "His understanding has no limit."  (Psalm 147:5)  Think about it, no matter what you feel, what quagmire you find yourself in, what you need--HE gets it. Totally and completely.  And praying is participating in His limitless understanding, in a way.  Turning things around, handing them over, seeking His way.

No matter what I feel, how empty praying is at times, He's right here.  By faith, I know it.

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