I don’t know if you have ever been in the dark and felt confused and disorientated. It is easy to get that way. Just last night I was turning out the lights in my house before bed and I was walking as people do but without seeing the roadblocks I tripped quite dramatically over something that had been put in my normal path. I got a pretty bad bruise when I stumbled and fell. When I got back up again my hands were stretched out as far as I could go, my feet timidly inching forward instead of taking their normal stride. And I thought that is what dark times are like. They are scary. You don’t know what is coming at you next. And the woman you once were. Silly, lover of life, giver, organized, gracious, willing to take on project or what have you, is evaporated into this very sad and scared shell of a person. Its hard to know what move to make, which direction to turn, who to trust. Sometimes it just feels safer to plunk down on the ground in the dark and wait it out. But when that little flicker of light appears, its like everything instantly transforms. Your steps can be confident again and you know where you are headed.
I had a little glimpse at the light at the end of my tunnel that has been excruciatingly dark and long. My friend from England came to see me. If you have read my earlier posts you know that I met him by chance in a restaurant in Europe and we friended each other on facebook and had been chatting and getting to know one another. We talked about everything. His kids, the Lord, music, our lives, our hopes and dreams. We laughed and kidded and we were able to share deep things too and we decided that maybe our meeting was not by chance afterall. Maybe there were too many coincidences that led up to us being seated at the same table. And so he booked a flight to visit me in California.
I picked him up from the Tom Bradley terminal suitcase in hand. We had made plans to drive out to Santa Monica and check out the beach until sunset and then onto dinner in LA before I took him to his hotel where he’d be staying for 10 days. After saying hi and giving a quick hug I handed him my Google map print out to help me get us to Santa Monica. He thought his GPS system might be helpful as well and we started debating about which one would be better. Instantly it was as if we had been together for years and we were having our first of many debates about directions. Classic. We realized it and laughed about it.
Our second night we planned to go out for an evening on the town and we both decided we would dress up. Before he came out I bought a very simple but elegant black satin off the shoulder dress. I borrowed a diamond necklace and earrings from my sister and I felt like a million bucks. We went to one of the nicest restaurants in the southland and it was just so much fun. He made me believe I was beautiful. And the best part was, he really didn’t do that much to try and impress me. We just simply had a good time. Laughing, trying each other’s food and talking.
On Sunday I got to bring him to church. And mind you he is a believer who has never been around a Christian community. He sought the Lord on his own and attends a small church that according to him is not contemporary or inviting. Our worship team is amazing and he felt instantly at home. Our pastor spoke on the concept of Salvation and at the end of the service he felt led of the Lord to make a public commitment to Christ. He said he had never had that opportunity before and so he took it. And at the very least I felt that God had used our friendship to bring him to that place.
We took the kids for a musical in LA, we went out with my sisters, we hung around the house and I beat him at pool, and we grew closer with each day.
There was a moment though when I took him down to the beach and we were sitting watching the most amazing sunset of my life where I realized that this just doesn’t happen every day. It was a slow and steady build inside my heart of affection and admiration for him. I knew I had been guarded at first not knowing really what to expect. I had hopes but I didn’t believe they would come true. But when we were sitting shivering in the sand at the beach watching God’s once in a lifetime brilliant display in the sky, I thought…maybe. Maybe God is in this. Maybe I won’t be sad and lonely and alone forever. And he put his arm round me and I leaned back into the sand and he kissed me. And I let him. And it was as if I realized that happiness does return. Hope does return. And it wasn’t the kiss, although honestly it was quite nice. It was everything. He was the real thing. A real guy who was so open and honest to me that I had no reason left to keep myself guarded.
I stared at that light that was setting over this gorgeous beach and I looked at him and I knew that even if he goes back to England and never comes back, that I was going to be okay. I felt lovable again. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
The days went by quickly after that. We managed to attend church 3 times in 10 days and he was so appreciative of the time. Our hugs became stronger and longer and the day it was time for him to leave came before I wanted it to. As I drove him to the airport he promised to return. He told me that his life had been changed by the trip and there was no way he was going to let it get away from him. He would be watching church online, he would be reading his Bible and he would be calling me and looking at his calendar to plan his next trip out.
The song we sang that first night we met, the one we both remember most because he had told me how much he liked John Denver was I’m Leaving on a Jet Plane. The song came on while he was in the bathroom. I looked at my friend and said, “Oh he’s missing it” just as he came bounding up the stairs to sing it with me. We sang it cheek to cheek. And when I drove him to the airport to say goodbye a storm was coming into Los Angeles. It was sprinking when I got out of the car to wish him well. And he put his arms around me and hugged me tightly and we kissed and he told me he would be back. And I hadn’t really thought of it at the time but when I got back in the car I remembered the words to that song and I actually started to cry.
“Already I’m so lonesome I could die
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go.”
This just doesn’t happen like this unless God is in it. Now that I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I feel that I have my bearings again. I feel stronger and more confident with each step I take. I know now that God did hear my prayers and in His timing my life will get sorted out. And sometimes life can be better than a movie.