Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Green Picket Fence

As it turns out, there happens to be a tiny, green, me-shaped place in the middle of downtown, almost adjacent to campus. I found it on Craigslist.

I am quite smitten with this little green cottage, with the English gardens that surround it, with waking up every morning surrounded by the warmth of wood, with the mere two-block walk to class. This is not the kind of place one looks for; sometimes the things most worthy of search can only be haplessly found.

“It feels like someone tailor-made this pastoral nook in the middle of the city in preparation for my arrival,” I explained to a friend at church two days after signing the lease. “Down to the hardwood floors and wood-paneled walls, it seems to have been built with me in mind.”

“So it sounds like you’re going to have to admit that God is taking care of you,” said my perceptive friend.

Blast! He would bring that up, wouldn’t he?

I am amazed to realize how readily I latch onto any difficulty I encounter as proof that God relates to me like a football coach who will put his minions through hell in order to toughen his team. So easily do I hear brutality in his letter to the Church in Smyrna when he tells the sufferers, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Yet so much more slowly do I hear his tenderness in his previous letter to the Church in Ephesus whom he commends for toil and endurance but nevertheless calls to repentance because they have abandoned their love, a grave height from which to fall. It is much harder for me to hear the voice of love, the voice of him who washes the feet of his betrayer and beckons the denier to love him.

So every morning when I rise, may I accept the deafening evidence of his care, in this case displayed vividly in this little cloister crafted just for me.

It even has a green picket fence. Really.

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