It had been a long day. It’s Saturday night, I’ve just arrived home and I am tired. I spent the day at a place that is very special to me. Because it is special, I gave as Christmas gifts last year tickets to this haven of mine to a handful of special people with whom, for the life of me, I haven’t been able to form a close relationship. I would love for them to know me. I wanted them to be able to share a bit of me, what makes me tick, as well as bless them. Those tickets expire this week. Yesterday, one of the recipients texted to ask could he use the tickets today to take his [current] girlfriend. We agreed to meet there, not to spend the day together necessarily, but to have a meal together or something. I was so excited.
I hit the road a bit late this morning. I had not heard of their schedule or their estimated time of arrival. Almost there, I received a text that they were relatively close to me on the journey. I sped up to catch them. Instead, the highway patrol caught me. When I arrived at the site, they had only briefly arrived before me but instead of waiting for me [10 minutes] to go in with them, they decided go ahead and enter the Chateauesque-styled mansion built by George Washington Vanderbuilt II. The place was a mad house with tourists, visitors. There was no way I was going to find them in this 178,926 square feet of a home. Cell phone use is discouraged inside the house.
As it goes, I did find them. They said they would call me when they finished the tour. I waited and waited, an appropriate amount of time, over two hours. I also tried to make reservations for dinner but all restaurants were booked already. I went ahead with a late lunch, texting to let them know all restaurants were booked but I had been able to secure a table for a late lunch. It was already after 3 PM. They said they would join me. I waited and waited, another 30 minutes for their arrival. Finally over the phone, they let me know they were right outside the door of the restaurant; they did not want to come in but were going for another tour. I paid my bill, met them outside, pointed them in the direction they needed to go and told them what they needed to know…and left. I just got home from a two-hour drive.
Unrealistic expectations always precedes disappointment. I expected, and hoped, to spend a bit of time with them; 45 minutes for a meal would have been nice, or 15 minutes for an ice cream. Even a 30-second “thank you” would have held a lot of meaning. This is my story of the day. I gave something valuable, from the heart, and something that was quite expensive and required quite a bit of sacrifice. A simple thank you would have held a lot of meaning; quality time and respect in return would be ideal.
It’s been a long day and I am tired. I am sure I will wake up tomorrow feeling refreshed and less taken for granted. I hope so, for tonight I am so very tired. My neighbors, however, are not tired and are feeling quite spirited. At 11 PM, their guests began to arrive. The pick up trucks with overly large wheels filled the parking lot. The sofa and folding lawn chairs were brought out and set up on the front porch to enjoy the balmy evening. The gutters, porch posts and window trim twinkled brightly with Christmas lights and lighted icicles. At 2:18 AM Sunday morning, I penetrated their circle asking for glad tidings of peace and good will.
As it happens, I found myself wide awake at 6:30 AM. It gave me a bit of a bitter giggle. I had been telling myself I would visit a certain church that was a bit of a drive away IF I ever woke early enough to get there on time. With mixed emotions and conflicting thoughts, I rose and dressed and headed out the door. I hit the road a bit late; after yesterday’s introduction to the reality of traffic violations, I was diligent to drive the speed limit. I arrived with time to spare.
As I approached the door of the church, the pastor standing there broke into a huge smile and he welcomed me with a lovely embrace. I knew him from the church I attended as a child. I was in grade school at the time; he was surely in high school or college. I am sure I must have had a crush on him. I entered the vestibule where a number of men were greeting and giving out bulletins. One in particular stopped me, gave me a hug and asked if I remembered him. He had to tell me who he was. It’s been 40 years since seeing him at that church that I attended as a child. He was in high school and college at the time too. I am sure I must have had a crush on him back in those shy and innocent days.
Actually there were quite a few familiar faces in that sanctuary today, all from childhood. These are folk who have taught me in Sunday School or in other groups as I was growing up. These are folk who have carried my physically and loved on me abundantly. The greatest surprise was seeing a teacher’s aide from grade school. She recognized me immediately and called me by name. I graduated with her son but she was shocked to hear how old I am. She said that I look exactly the same. What a giggle that gave me. She said she doesn’t remember the names of those children she taught, but she had no trouble remembering me.
There is meaning and purpose in everything that happens. Recognition, respect and a bit of quality time shared defines a haven, builds a sanctuary and is a building block for close relationships. When the heart is in the perfect place and time, divine encounters happen.