We arrived at my parent’s house late that night, about 10:00, and the place was dark and empty. Mom and Dad were on a trip to Africa, and my only sister still living at home was at a friend’s house. It felt like a lot of other nights arriving at mom and dad’s house, except now we were there to live.
We carried our four sleeping kids into the house, through the rain, shushing and holding their heads close against our shoulders. Soon they were deposited in beds, sleeping soundly, totally oblivious to how their lives had just changed. Maile’s parents found a place to lay down, on some sofa or other. Maile and I slept on a small bed in the basement.
The house was quiet. We were there. It was done.
But I kept thinking about this identity thing. Who was I? What was I doing here? Was this crazy move home all part of me discovering this stuff? Could there be a purpose to this, or were we just simply experiencing a setback?
Could our situation have God stumped? Did all of this catch him off guard?
And I couldn’t help feeling forgotten. It seemed we had such high hopes, and none of them had come to fruition.
Hey, God, I whispered to the dark basement ceiling. Remember me?
Nothing. No answer. Just quiet.
Hey, God, I whispered again. Do you know about this? Have you seen this since the beginning of time? Or are you flamboozled? Can you be flamboozled?
Can God be flamboozled?
The next morning we woke up early and started moving in to my parent’s basement, endlessly unpacking boxes. It’s a real nice basement, with a separate bedroom, bathroom and tiny kitchen-type area. The three kids would sleep in the bedroom, and Sam, Maile and I would sleep in the main area. It was a far cry from our huge place in Virginia, but it would work. Still, every few minutes Maile and I would look at each other and give each other this cringing, smiling sort of expression.
“I can’t believe we are doing this,” she would say.
“I know, me either. Are we crazy?”
She didn’t answer.
We got our stuff settled. Whatever we couldn’t fit in my parent’s house ended up in storage. We were vagabonds, squatters, living in someone else’s place, and most of our belongings were locked up (which made us really wonder, how much of that crap did we actually need?).
I still remember the first Monday after we moved – we had a lot of boxes to search through, but I was determined to get off on the right foot. Not waste any time. So at 8:00am I was off to the Angela’s Cafe to write.
I got a hot tea, found a comfy chair, and started typing. It was probably a few hours into my stint as a writer that the flashy guy in the nice suit came into the cafe and sat down beside me, the same one who had barged into my son Sam’s delivery room shortly after he was born. And I still didn’t like the look of him.
What was his deal? He just showed up wherever he wanted. And he smelled good, but I never really trust men that smell that good.
“Hey, how’s it going?” he asked.
(to be continued tomorrow)
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The winner of last week’s contest is Andy McCullough. Andy, let me know where you would like your copy of Imaginary Jesus sent! Congrats, and thanks to everyone for passing on the word last week about Matt Mikalatos’s great book.