Our Heavenly Father provides us all with tests of patience and beacons of light, but we are the ones who have to make the choice to respond to the light. Embedded in the human soul glows the search for hope and the supreme light – the divine light of God. Often, we find it in unlikely places.
Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord (Rm 12:11).
Fresh from the spring rain shower of the previous day, the countryside is alive and well in rural America. The man, driving his white crew cab pick-up truck down a winding rural state highway, admires the wildflowers in vibrant yellow and dots of royal blue on the sides of the road. The combined effect of the plush green grass and multicolored flower show paints a picture even Rembrandt would have been proud to call his own.
Today, the man must deal with a ticket he had gotten on a previous trip in town. On the road, driving nearly 35,000 miles a year and taking along with him a heavy foot, the man had attained his prerequisite annual speeding ticket. None too happy with himself, he thinks, Darn it! I was doing pretty good for almost a year. I need to do better. Another $175 down the drain. His patience is tested once again.
The GPS on his phone barks orders as he searches for the district attorney’s office downtown. In a monotone and computerized voice, he hears, “In 200 feet, take a right at Main Street. Stay to your left on Main Street, your destination is on the right.” The man passes up the office, looking for a parking spot, while the GPS barks, “Return to the route, return to the route.” Mindlessly talking to the computer, the man barks back, “Alright, already! I have to park!” He turns off the GPS.
The small town could be a perfect duplicate of many other small, rural towns. At the center of the town square is a two-storey white building with four gigantic, Corinthian style columns. The man thinks Must be City Hall. The monolithic building could use a new coat of white paint. Leading up to the front doors, the sidewalk is lined with red brick pavers. Overflowing white, bridal wreath bushes are in full bloom and neatly spaced in the garden are six-foot tall pink azaleas.
The district attorney’s office, directly across the street, sits in a nondescript, one-storey, red brick building. Pushing open the heavy glass door, the man overhears a young woman complaining to the district attorney, in a rather loud voice, about the need for a restraining order. She smiles meekly as she brushes past him into the inner office. Tough times, he thinks.
To the right of the front entrance, the man can see a window, with a hole just big enough from which to speak though or pass cash. Behind the glass, a woman with sandy brown hair, who appears to be in her late 30s, sits immersed in her work.
The man approaches and asks, “Can I pay a ticket here?”
Without looking up, the woman responds in a dull tone, “Yes.”
Trying to be chipper, he replies, “Okay, thank you,” and slides the ticket under the glass.
Still not looking up, the woman declares, “$175.”
The man slides $175 cash through the small hole.
Finally, looking up, the woman states, “We don’t take cash. You need a money order. The post office around the corner has them.”
Shaking his head, the man comments, “I’ll be right back.”
Opening the door, a cool refreshing breeze tosses his greying hair away from his brow. This time of year puts a skip in almost everyone’s step. About a 50-yard walk, the post office, in dire need of attention, has white paint – most likely lead-based – flaking away from the concrete walls. The front doors are propped open by handmade wooden wedges to let in the crisp air. The service counter, within three steps of the front doors, is protected by tall grating that gives the impression of a prison cell. At the center, a gate of sorts is also propped open by handmade wooden wedges.
From behind the counter, the man hears, “Hi! How are you today?”
The voice comes from a lady that most people would not notice on the street, except for one characteristic. Her personality shines like a light in the darkness.
The man responds, “I am doing well, thank you. I need to buy a money order to pay a ticket. Can I get one for $175?”
With a smile that would light up a football field at midnight, the lady replies, “Well, that’s not good. I am sorry to hear that. I’ll be happy to get that for you.”
As she prepares the money order, the lady continues with cheery small talk, asking the man where he is from, what kind of work does, whether he has a family, and so on and so forth.
Then she comments, “You have a large family. That is such a blessing! I was never able to have children.”
The man responds, “Thank you, they are. I am sorry that you couldn’t. I am sure that was hard.”
Smiling once again, the lady replies, “It’s okay. All in God’s plan, you know.”
The man looks straight at her.
“You are right,” he says. “You have a great day, okay.”
Still shining, the lady responds, “Thank you, I will. God bless.”
Walking away to leave, the man stops and pauses for a moment. Turning back around, he looks at the lady.
She asks him, “Do you need anything else?”
Smiling at her this time, the man replies without hesitation, “No, nothing at all. I just wanted to say thank you. You have made my day. It is such a great thing to meet somebody who is so cheerful and full of life.”
The lady looks at him straight in the eye and responds, “Thank you! It is how we are supposed to be, right?”
Leaving unsaid that which did not need to be said – the subliminal, I am joyful because of Him! Forever the joy!
Laughing together with the lady in a knowing manner, the man replies, “Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Thank you! God bless.”
He thinks, God is good.
Then I will rejoice in the Lord, exult in God’s salvation (Ps 35:9).