April 16, 2015

The Tree, revised




This is why I love Julia:

I looked over at the passenger seat. At the pile of my coat, purse, some papers, gloves. It took only a moment to slip my right hand inside the purse and feel around for that pen.

BOOM! A loud noise and big jolt from under the hood made my eyes shoot back up to the road. Except there was no road. Instead, there was a big parkway tree coming up fast.

Turns out I had drifted over to the right, driving up and over the curb, onto the parkway. Jerking the wheel hard left, I over-compensated.

By God’s grace, no one was in the oncoming lane. Steadying the wheel and myself, it took a few for me to get my bearings and realize what I had done.

The kids, strapped in their car seats were, thankfully, too young to rat me out.

I continued the drive to Julia’s house and, on arrival at her front door, breathlessly told her what awful thing I had done.

Without missing a beat, she replied, “Don’t you just HATE when that happens?”

April 5, 2015

The Sermon



Young families, neatly turned out, sat mixed in amongst the old folks. Preaching the story wherein Jesus restored sight to a blind man, Pastor Stanford asked, “Do you know what healing is?” While a few babies fussed, most adults tried to follow his thread.

Toward the back of the sanctuary, commotion could be heard from the parking lot. Billy Tadel, a nine year old who had to pay attention on account of his mom always quizzing him, sat up and tried to see out the stained glass windows. Ushers hurried past. “When we think we are in control, we’re actually separated from God.”

Billy slid out of the pew and got up on his tippy toes. Through the sepia-colored glass of St. Peter’s robe, he spied Mrs. Keller belly-flopped on the hood of a car! Her skirt, bunched up at the hip, revealed mommy underpants. Gripping the now bent backward windshield wipers, she tugged them around like gear sticks, shouting, “Susan? SuuUUU-SAAAN?!!”

Behind the wheel, Mr. Keller drove very slowly. He looked like he just tasted a bug. Billy imagined that, if he was driving really fast, this’d be as good as a movie. But Mrs. Keller wasn’t a cop and Mr. Keller wasn’t a bank robber. She was a Sunday school teacher and he was a little league coach. He eased the car to a stop but she stayed put, angry-faced and yelling.

The pastor, oblivious to the real reason this sermon would become memorable, intoned, “Jesus gives us what we need, not what we want.” A powerful arm yank from his mother returned Billy to their pew. Up front, Susan Stanford sat with her children, staring stock-straight ahead. She looked like she just tasted a bug, too.