I’d had to smile. On a day that went to the wrong place in a hand basket, he’d come home, spreading sun, grinning cheer. “How’d it go?” I’d ask him, thinking of the joy they’d brought to others.
On a wintry day with Christmas approaching, Little Schrock and his fellow first graders had gone adventuring. At the local nursing home, they’d appeared, smiles beaming crooked, and those bright, jaunty hats. There, where bodies sit, broken, in wheeled chairs. There, where minds, too, have been broken, they sang. Sang their little hearts out, those six- and seven-year-olds, blue jeaned and skirted, wearing their red Santa hats.
“Some of them clapped.” He was answering my question. “But some of them looked…weird.”
“Yes,” I said, “their minds aren’t quite right. And what did you sing?” Familiar territory for him, and beloved, and he gaily listed off all the songs he remembered. “Silent Night, Away in a Manger, Jingle Bells.” And then this, “We Three Kings of…of…” His voice trailed off. “Oh, I don’t know.”
It had, I’ll admit it, been a very hard day. I’d done what I ever-so-seldom do any more. I “pulled a human.” In other words, had a meltdown. Giving in to dark feelings and a voice all accusing, I’d sunk. And sunk quick, going right to the bottom. Then Little, his carols, and that love.
Driving home last night, pulled from my office on an errand unwelcome, it lingered. That ugly old residue. Dark condemnation. A deep sense of failure and a black, slimy cloud. Then, turning toward the west, I saw it.
Across the horizon, the sun, it lay, dying. Just above the earth’s crust, brushing treetops and houses, a band of orange faded to pinks. The outer edges of that bright, vibrant orange, I saw, were crusted with lavendars and the softest of blues. And then, the Voice.
“I love you anyway. In spite of your meltdown, you’re Mine. You are loved. And this, this orange, is the sign.”
All the way home, driving into the light, I’m looking and listening. Seeing Love, hearing Love. Feeling loved.
Turning at last on the road toward our home, I see it–the grand cake and its icing. For there before me is an odd and strange sight. A ribbon of cloud, all colored in pink, is curling from Heaven to earth. Not rounded and fluffy. Not cirrus or cumulus. It’s a ribbon, straight ahead, and it’s pink.
As it always does, it was time spent in His presence and eating His Word that set it all straight. That brought me back up. That washed me all clean.
God isn’t put off by the depth of our messes. He’s never afraid. Never shocked nor dismayed. And He comes. Oh, He comes in the whisper of Love. In the sun’s dying rays. In the smile of a child.
In a thousand-thousand ways, He comes. So take heart, my messy friend. You’re not too much for Him or His love.