Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A long road

I'd intended to write this yesterday, but with one thing and another (none of which I can remember at the moment, because the last two days have been a fog of migraine!), I didn't get around to it.  The thing is, I'm big on anniversaries, birthdays, occasions.  I remember them...as I've mentioned before.  If I didn't rein myself in, practically every day of the year would turn into a retrospective post about my life.  Instead, I contain such musings to only the most significant...really I do.

Anyway, yesterday was such a date.  Thirty-eight years ago, I was at a camp for handicapped kids on a lake in northern Idaho.  I wasn't handicapped but the camp took non-handicapped kids as well, kind of like paying aides. 
As I wrote a year ago, I prayed a prayer that August 3rd, and gave my life to Jesus, and it was sort of like my world went from black and white to color over the course of those two weeks.  A hunger burned in me, one I still remember vividly.  Every flower, every tree, every person somehow took on significance...and to one extent or another, that significance has never left.  Being inhabited by God Himself in the third person of the Trinity--whether I feel him or not, whether He's silent or speaking clearly within, here He is, Hallelujah.

But here's the rest of the story: working at the camp that August was an older girl who lived across the street from me, so my parents arranged that when camp was over, I'd get a ride home from this neighbor's mother.
When Mrs. W showed up at the end of camp to drive G and me home, she wasn't alone.  Her youngest son was with her.  Her youngest son whose birthday was the day before mine, in my grade, a friend of sorts. We'd gone to elementary school together, where he'd chased the girls and pulled their hair, worn wing-tipped shoes in the winter in order to 'ski' down the steep side hill at school while those with smaller shoes (like everyone, including every teacher!) had to sit on their coats (when that school was remodeled long after us, the new addition destroyed that hill, and we mourned it as if we were still 5th graders!). We'd ridden to middle school together in a jam-packed Carry-all driven by my mother, he was in my father's scout troop.  

So I piled my suitcase and sleeping bag into their pale blue station-wagon and we set off for home.  But no more than 15 minutes down the road we were limping to the side of the highway with a flat tire.  So after trying to put on the spare, this boy and I walked down the highway to the next bump-in-the-road town, to use the phone and buy milkshakes.  And we had a conversation, this tall boy I'd known for years, this boy who, amazingly, had become a Christian just a few months before.

And so it was that the first person from my home-town, the first 'friend' I talked to after my life-changing experience was the Beve!  My very own Beve.  If I'd had a crystal ball and could have seen where life would take us from that moment, I would have been shocked, maybe even appalled.  But looking back from here, there is a pefect symmetry to Beve (who, of course, wasn't the Beve then) being my first Christian friend.  Even in that hot afternoon walk along that dusty road, God was there.  Maybe even looking down and smiling at us, all-knowing as He is, knowing who we'd become--to Him and to each other.  It's been a long dusty road walking with Jesus through through these 38 years, but what a gift that the first human to walk beside me is still walking there today.

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