she was late running her errand, which meant she’d be late picking him up. she called to let him know. and to ask if she could use the restroom when she got there.
some things never change. “you know, i knew you’d ask me that! the toilet handle broke this morning. you’d better stop someplace else to go first.” she howled in laughter. there was always something wrong with the toilet.
ten minutes later, she was there. responding to the car’s gentle honk, he walked out the apartment door, crossed the street and got in the passenger side of her car.
with twinkling eyes and a big grin on her face, she looked him over. he looked her over, too, with the same goofy expression and cocked head that had made her laugh so often before.
they were uncomfortable for no more than twenty seconds. then the chatter began as though they’d never been apart. in reality, it had been nine months.
a lot had changed in nine months. he still looked like a giant teddy bear, and felt like one, too. he’d had surgery on his leg and had most of the hardware removed. but there had been complications and he still needed healing.
she was continually amazed at all the times the enemy had tried to take him out but never succeeded. that was a testimony all on its own.
they took turns in the catching up until they got to the theatre. once inside, they debated on whether to purchase overpriced popcorn and candy. wisdom won, and they opted for a late lunch after watching, ‘the shack.’
he hadn’t seen it yet. this was her second viewing. she offered him a kleenex as the movie began. he declined her offer and took a hanky out of his back pocket instead. all right, then.
the similarities between his story and the main character’s were too many to count. neither of them attempted to gloss it over. it was the pain of the past that had destroyed what they’d attempted to build.
when she had a break from wiping her own tears away, she looked over at him occasionally to see how he was doing with it all. he was hard to read. she held his hand in the places she knew would be hard for him. some things never change.
then the poignant and profound quote came from papa’s lips as she spoke to mackenzie.
“when all you see is your pain, you lose sight of me.”
she looked over at him again. this time there was no subtly. this time she said, “this” with tears running down her face. he caught it.
they finished watching the movie in silence and walked out of the theatre quietly when it was over. bj’s bar and grill was the chosen location for late lunch. after ordering, more real conversation came.
some conversation unpacked the movie. it offered further explanation of what papa had available to him if he would simply agree that papa was especially fond of him. if he would shift, he could live an abundant life. no, it was not without pain, but he could live well-loved, and that made all the difference.
tears sprang back to her eyes when she said it, but he had to know. “i didn’t leave because i didn’t love you. i left because i was dying. you were so consumed with the pain of your past that you had nothing to give me.”
he answered her slowly. “i guess that’s true.” his own feelings of unworthiness had made him unable to receive, love and cherish the gift papa had given him in her. he believed the lies the enemy told him, without ever questioning their validity.
he took over the conversation with the experiences he’d had with papa since they’d last been together. he talked about how papa was working in his heart, but she heard some lying green mist in his words. self-pity was holding him back from going after a full-on relationship with papa. she heard it. what was at the root?
after lunch, they visited places they used to go together. wildlife was always a shared joy. they watched ducks, geese, an eagle, and an osprey. a sweet little bird sang a melody that sounded like twinkling stars.
as they walked along the path at the nature preserve, he mentioned how the guilt of a rescue worker dying while trying to save him still tore him apart sometimes.
she stopped in her tracks. this was a piece of the puzzle. “wait. this is why your leg is not fully healed. you are judging yourself guilty for what happened to that man, when in fact you had nothing to do with it.”
“yeah, you’re right. it wasn’t my fault. but it really doesn’t bother me anymore.”
“you just said it still tears you up sometimes, so let’s deal with this.”
she saw the demons were opposing this process. after some persistence, she got him to say it. “father, in the name of jesus, i come out of agreement with the spirit of condemnation.” it was a start. truth had been spoken. this was new for him.
he was not used to doing anything that empowered him or made him free and strong. but it was a start, and a good one. she stopped there. it was enough for now.
she wanted to go back, but he encouraged her to walk a little further. she soon saw why. the path that meandered to the far end of the park was under water. in fact, the whole park was almost entirely flooded from heavy spring rains.
the drought was over.
they finished their walk and headed back to his apartment. he thanked her for the movie and for lunch. he had some things to think about.
she prayed he would choose the path of life papa had for him.
certain things require change.
(copyright © 2017 jane doe)