The first round was over the socks. I grabbed the package of white ones for Plum, Chef wanted the black ones. I quipped that black socks are for old men not little boys. Bad quip. I did not realize I had entered the battle zone, that this was a thing, that my choosing the package of $4.99 cotton to put on my grandson’s feet was going to turn the tide for the entire day.
I shop alone when I have a list. I don’t peruse, I run in and conquer. It isn’t a social event. I am especially skilled at conquering Target, I have to be currently or I could fill my cart with all things wonderful and then empty it at the checkout when I remember I really can’t spend money on wonderful things. Thus it was a “stick to list grab-and-go” trip. For me. I didn’t realize Chef was looking for more. Not more stuff but more from me. He wanted to be included. He wanted to be needed in the decision making. I missed the warning signs until too late. All efforts to lighten the mood did little to unruffled feathers, the damage was done. Just as a sentence can hold too many cliches, a day can be filled with sunshine and yet not really the Son. The meaning of our day was lost in miscommunication, hurt feelings, silence and frustration. I ached to find our way back to clarity and closeness, to figure out how a pair of socks became so important and divisive.
I know some truths about my Chef because I love him and have loved him for a long time. I also own that I am a fixer and I so wish I could heal his broken heart. Further, I am sure there is One who loves him even more and actually can heal his heart and his soul and is just waiting for my Chef to surrender. I know that this dark time is the before, that season Steve Wiens talks about in Beginnings. Steve so beautifully describes the emotions surrounding waiting: the hurting, the anger, the loss, the “fog that won’t burn off.” Unlike the outside of our home that shows the leaves turning to bright reds and yellows, clear evidence of autumn, Chef and I aren’t experiencing the same season within our souls. I am in a time of discovery, a time of finding those fresh new buds poking out in spring, seeing hope and possibility in the greening of the grass of my inner world. Like a long-distance relationship, being in different seasons is straining us. We are challenged by the need to be present with the other but not fully able to see the whole picture. We are stuck Skyping while in the in the same room, only getting a portion of the picture, the connection fuzzy, the possibility of a disconnection ever looming. We are unable to talk about the deep stuff so we talk about socks until socks become so big they force the communication. Target socks force us to get in the same room, find our best connection. Remembering that regardless of season, God is present in all, God works wonders in all, God blends one right into the next, centered my approach. God gives us spring after winter by design.
As much as I want to hurry Chef out of his own hurting season, I know he has to grieve and wait. I don’t have answers about what is next but I know what is now. He doesn’t wait alone, he isn’t sitting in his despair alone. I am not able to join him as deeply as he wishes maybe but God is waiting for Chef to recognize His Presence, to trust that a way better Friend needs him right now. My Chef needs to feel needed, he is searching for his purpose. He feels lost and unsure. There is no way around that just being a sucky place to be. So I asked him to go get me cigarettes.
I needed him to run up to the store because it was already dark out and I don’t drive in the dark and I was out and frankly hours of talking had warped my nerves. He was not so interested in being needed this way for all the obvious reasons but complied. And then God just laughed and laughed, the angels were dancing and the choir couldn’t help but sing loudly. Chef went to the little store just 2 miles away but had to stop on the way home to change a flat tire for a woman stuck on the road, a teacher at Plum’s school. He left our home grumbling and came back smirking, knowing I would delight in our Show-Off God. I am confident that God is not pleased with my smoking but He will use what we give Him, an opportunity to remind His child that he has purpose, that he is needed, that God will use him for good if he just keeps showing up.
Just in case you were wondering, we got the white socks, Target didn’t have the black ones in Plum’s size. I got more smokes, Chef realized God is active in His life. All around a pretty successful day.