this was a juicy hamburger and
strawberry milkshake day. blue the
color of topaz in the sky. the pacific ocean
35 feet from the hotel. brisk air as the salty
waves curled toward shore outside our hotel
tom, my brother-in-law, had business to cover
twelve miles from the oregon coast, and he and
jan asked me to come along. a king-sized
bed and a roll-a-way. just what we wanted,
except tom insisted i sleep with jan, and he
took the roll-a-way. just like tom if you knew
have you ever driven through massive
redwoods, and seen the river racing far below?
stood at the foot of one of these magnificent
trees, shooting high into the sky? so high that,
even squinting, you cannot see the top?
NOTHING God makes can be replicated by
man! not in our bodies. not the majestic
ocean that stretches even beyond the horizon.
jutting mountain peaks with a dash of snow.
sitting in the tiny, home-spun space,
sipping straws of the best ever milkshakes,
i knew how incredulous God's love is for
morning light burned through the curtains.
we took the elevator down to the free breakfast
in the lobby. children giggling. orange juice
spilled. i, with p.j. bottoms and a top on. laid
back. some couples animated with each other's
conversation. one man, alone, scowling. peel-
ing off his yogurt top as if he were yanking the
skin of failure off his miserable bones. his
bleak life. one baby screaming. high strung.
needing something, but no one knowing what.
i looked around.
so much life encapsulated in this
one hotel lobby.
we were having fun, but in the damp
quietness of my soul, when i least expect
it, a shadow falls. suddenly, my imperfec-
tions glare at my moment-before peace.
the essence, my entire adult life, is that
God only looks at the heart. our motives.
our love for Him. the clean intention of being
pure and perfect. even as perfection is as
theatrically warped as one lost mis-step...
in a brilliant performance that thrills the
heart and makes one weep. the unnoticed
error obscured completely.
do you ever move from a place of
peace to a cloud dangling overhead?
stealing what was just joy, to now doubts
of your worthiness? i do.
do you get lost in what it really means
to please God? to know your servanthood
is pure? deserving? i second-guess myself
all the time.
my father prayed and fasted, often ten days
at a time. he always seemed sad to me. my
brother set the tone, and he did not match up
to my father's standards. every waking moment
i was trying to make my dad's face light up.
at 7 yrs. old. 12 yrs.old. and through my teenage
years. attempting perfection was an everyday
effort for me. and utterly impossible.
i think i've finally learned to retrace my thoughts.
what had i seen on a billboard? what song had
just played on the cd? feelings are triggered by
something as simple as what someone
said to me that shamed me. once figured out,
a slice of sun trickles into my wound.
if this is not a milkshake and hamburger day,
walk around the block several times. endor-
phins help. do something beautiful for some-
one in your neighborhood. find a chair at the
mall, and watch God's incredible creations.
beauty lives in all of us. somewhere.
"Lord Jesus, i long to be perfectly whole.
i want you forever to live in my soul.
break down every idol. cast out every foe.
now wash me and i shall be whiter than snow."
take a finger,
and write love across
the sky. dig a toe into
warm sand, and know that
God counts every grain on every
beach in all the world.
life is not defined by strawberry
milkshake days so much as
by the fact that God sticks them in
here and there because He loves to
surprise us. and lift the heavy loads
that life demands to purify us.