Thumbing through music as I approach the last stop in the city—gas and groceries—I put my head down too soon and my foot down too slow. Traffic halts completely as the advanced green approaches. I stop too, only when my bumper thuds stupidly into the vehicle ahead of me. He must think I’m an idiot. I sure do. My mind goes numb, the shock of being at fault over something so silly. . . . He gets out, I put Monte into park, and await my fate.
He looks at my nose and his tail, then comes to my window. “I’m okay. Are you physically okay?” Why not ask me if I’m mentally okay? I’m feeling like the world’s biggest dufus right about now!
“I’ve got no damage. You’ve just got the imprint of my trailer hitch in your bumper.” I’m glad he’s got metal bumpers on his old pickup truck, those rock-like beasts of burden. Why did car companies switch to plastic anyway? Makes me look even dumber, but at least he’s damage-free.
I apologize, and he graciously accepts, gets back into his blue beast, and catches the advanced green light. I follow him, but when I see him turn into the gas station by the grocery store, I decide to get fuel after I shop. I’m too embarrassed to face him again.
Two minutes . . . they change the course of life. They shatter the momentary equilibrium and reveal how tipsy I really am. They rattle me loose from my moorings, and show up how poorly attached I am. They unearth folly, showing how shallow it is buried.
And the hardest part of the whole affair: he didn’t rail me out or tell me how dumb I was or ask what in thunder I was doing or what my problem is. He just forgave me, smiled, and got back on with his life. There’s no major damage, just a punched-out imprint of the square hitch in my bumper, eventually it will become a hole, and will look stupid . . . not wrecked, just stupid.
I hate looking stupid. I hate it even more when it’s because I really was stupid, not just pretending to be. I poke fun and joke and make people laugh, but really being stupid isn’t funny; it’s mortifying. I want to be smart, sophisticated, smooth; not this klutzy nerd who can’t even get out of the city without knocking the front tooth out of her car.
I stew in my stupidity. I expect Dad will be disappointed in me. I’m disappointed in me. I suppose God is too . . . I must embarrass Him so much. The pity party stinks.
When I settle into quiet tears, He starts talking. He tells me He’s not disappointed in me, that it’s okay, that He loves me. Is He laughing at me? Get over yourself, just let it go, let your demand to mentally punish yourself and control your own mortification go; just let go, and let Him love you.
I’m driving east. Out my left window the sky begins changing. Soothing green strokes rise gentle to the heights of heaven. Quiet, subtle, brushed against the starry sky, they rise and expand and deepen, till I am engulfed in the sweeping tide of peace. It’s like arms of love reaching around and hugging me, it’s the aurora borealis. I’m the child who tripped over her own feet, scraped her knee, and just hurt inside. And He’s the Father Who picks me up, takes me on His knee, and loves my hurt away. Not so I feel better about myself as a klutzy kid, but so that I know Him better as my loving Father. I think He expects me to be perfect, to shape up and get it together so I won’t embarrass Him for calling me by His name. But He chose me in my foolishness, and folly, and stupidity, and loved me then. I can’t win His love, and I can’t lose it, because He gives it freely to me.
And I am His. And I weep great alligator tears of happiness because He loves me, the silly, bumbling, scatter-brained me. And He turns my heart to Him, so I forget about me and all my issues, and rest in His embrace.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever . . . . His banner over me is love.”