I love it when I meet Christians with that simple faith. They can move mountains with that faith. People can be restored and healed and lost pennies and neighbors will be found.
Maybe I just know too much. Maybe I'm scared of feeling too much. Maybe I'm afraid of failure and what that would say about me and my God.
It's been a year and a half since I finally received my BA in Teaching of English. When I entered the program, it seemed a cinch. There was a definite need for teachers, especially in the inner-city. What, you mean I get to work with urban youth, teach them a thing or two about life and get paid decently?
Well, they still need teachers here in Chicago. If you can teach math or science, welcome to the Chi. If you're an English teacher without endorsements in Special Ed or Reading and are uneasy about your previous classroom management, welcome to the club. Registration's up front. Waiting area's around the corner.
The Waiting Club. Let me get your coats, make yourselves comfortable. Can I get you something? A drink? A magazine? Virgil, Socrates, Melville, Tolstoy?
I'm not completely let-down by being rejected for another teaching season. I almost expected it. But I am sad. I know that God's preparing something special for me. But I wouldn't have minded learning on the job.
Bono compared the Holy Spirit to women. Women, God bless you and your mysterious ways, but you're no match against the Eternal. I can't read your minds, ladies, but God is invisible (I can't see when I've upset him), eternal (He's certainly experienced more than all of the better half of the human species have), and omniscient (The crux of the matter. He knows what he's doing. We, not-so-scient, don't). But don't think that I'm completely settled and unbothered. I'm no Elie Wiesel (The holocaust survivor accused Job of letting God off too easily), but neither am I a Job.
Last night I found out when and where my brother is getting married. My parents and youngest brother live in Oklahoma. My oldest brother and I remain in Chicago. This particular brother (the fourth of five) is serving in the Navy, as is his fiance (whom he had a part in recruiting, of course). So, the time and place were - in this post-9/11 and highly secretive governmental times - up-in-the-air to the last minute.
Tonight, my mom called to see if I could somehow secure tickets for some in the family who wanted to go. She mentioned a few names, but I must have misheard her (Computer illiterate as they are, I was looking for a name of someone who knew how to work around a modem and keyboard), so I asked again who is going.
"Well, daddy. That's about it for now."
What the...? Dad didn't want to go to Brian's wedding originally. We had to convince him to come to that one with the rest of the family. Caleb (the youngest) was already in hot water. He may just not be able to cut it at this time (I swear, my parents don't know how to raise bad kids. They think we're all supposed to be respectful and stay away from trouble. Worked with the first two...) Chucky (the middle one) is on his way back to Chicago and will travel with us. Grandma and grandpa are gaining in age and fast losing money. They probably won't be able to make this journey this time.
So, the one important missing piece is mama. She's not coming?
Why? Are you...? The truth is my mama has bipolar disorder. She has suffered this on and off for almost twenty years. Although the effects are no longer as extreme as they were in my teenage years, she suffers from it continuously now. She is constantly worried and guilt-stricken about a completely ridiculous situation that happened two decades ago.
"I'd rather not talk about it now."
My eyes were welling up and before long, the well ran down my cheeks.
"Well, I guess I better get going."
It was obvious that I stopped paying attention and my focus drifted.
I love you. And know that I'm praying for you.
And I am. But I don't know what to expect.
I also don't know what to expect for my new friend Timi. We only started talking and emailing the last couple months. But it makes me wonder how C. S. Lewis felt being with Joy, the brash young American he eventually married and lost shortly thereafter, recounted in A Grief Observed. Timi's got what she describes as a sort of domino effect on her health. Everything from her back to her internals (I feel bad that I always forget if someone has difficulties in their liver or their kidneys.) is acting up and one thing affects another and so on. It's chronic, newly developed and getting worse. And she loves football. She loves being active. And she loves God.
Or, there's Bruce Nelson. Bruce contacted a rare tropical fever while on a missions trip to India. His church eventually laid him off, with some difficulty and hard feelings. He could only be hired back as a janitor, which work was physically impossible for him. Apparently, his head pastor didn't want the children's pastor to ask the hard questions. Bruce, from the standpoint of the article at least, hasn't lost his faith. But he hurts, nonetheless.
There is a song that we don't sing enough in the church anymore. It is by a man who lost much of his family on a ship. While passing that spot over the choppy waters some time later, he wrote these lyrics:
It Is Well With My Soul
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
And Lord haste the day
When my faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scoll
The trump shall resound and
The Lord shall descend
Even so it is well with my soul
I don't think he had it easy, either. "Sorrows, like sea billows, roll."