"They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made." F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
I entered through the side door. Making Vichyssoise soup, served cold with lady fingers, I sat glued to the stories of the roaring twenties where parties and old money oozed of aristocracy. Big hats for women, cigars for men echoed through caverns of dusty dregs of a bygone web. I sat with an old man. The house creaked with the whisper of years slipping through the chime of a clock.
Jack Dempsey, Wall Street, Hollywood Park, his distant memory was alive and vibrant, the daily routine had slipped. His frail body hunched over, he wondered why the gardener, who had been there for some forty years, still insisted on carving the outdoor bushes into small green marshmallow mounds - if only to annoy him. The evenings drew him into a library where the books were dark and dusty. Cigarette smoke billowed through vellum pages.
He was gruff, sarcastic and angry now, the cloak of youth encircling shadows of time. Stories of live lobsters crawling out of the refrigerator as a type of fisherman's catch and a whispered name ... bunny. It was't his wife but it was clear, she was lodged deeply into the fabric of a man's coat, his coat but I didn't ask questions.
My own days turned into weeks and then months and I wondered whether this chance meeting was truly by accident. Sixty years his junior, there wasn't family or friends that lived in the area; I guess I brought some levity to his tired days. He had a niece, though, from the mid-west who occasionally came to visit. She was maybe forty-five years older than me. I looked forward to her visits.
Searching into paths of curiosity, wondering and grasping for life's golden door,
which mediocrity beholds the key? or does it lie within the hands of fate? (1983) or
Life is not eternal, yet faith is said to be, follow thy path of worship and falter to thy knees for
life is like a rainbow and God will grant our dreams to be (1981).
Words I wrote. This niece was a published poet. We connected through words. We connected through friendship. Having moved away from home at the age of seventeen, her presence reminded me of the connection of family. She had a deep faith in God. I had turned my back on faith but a window was left open at a young age and an ever so slight breeze blew in.
Our conversations were uncluttered. She was encouraging in all the ways I needed. I took her attempts to change my words into something better as an attempt toward someday publishing something of my own but in the process of changing the words, I lost my authenticity. She has long since passed away but I realize now, the seeds of faith she planted in me were a rekindling of a childlike hope and a weaving of a maturing relationship with Jesus Christ.
God was redeeming time and conversation into a deepening story of hope.
She was a woman of faith and I had given up on God - I didn't measure up to my own judgment of who I thought God was. The door slammed shut ... or so I thought.
That experience seems a lifetime ago and yet, with memory, I am still connected.
Fast forward thirty-five years to today. God's time is not our time. Faith in someone greater than ourselves. Hope in something we do not yet see. Love, the intangible that outlasts us. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Three days ago, I walked out into the morning light where the image of mountains on an old glass window caught my eye. Immediately words drifted into my mind about the reflection in a mirror; I stumbled through a quick search in the bible to find the rest of the words.
I posted a picture on Instagram not realizing the gospel message later that night centered around the same verse.
I walked out one door - my home into another door - a busy work environment. Hours passed in a shuffle of papers, ideas and people. The day was finished and I headed back home, walked the dog, rested for an hour, dusted my face in the mirror and drove my jeep, for the first time in a while, back out - Wednesday Youth Group. A Bethel Worship conference message prompted my heart in a roomful of high school kids.
The televised message began ... For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Unapologetically, I linked the two events in one day as not a coincidence but a bit of communication to keep hope in God's plan for my life.
I thought back to an old man, a lunch and a white table where we watched the gardner trim hedges into marshmallow mounds - I smiled. I smiled at God's timing. I smiled that the memory some thirty-five years later still had an influence on me.
So ... how do I wrap this post up?
I wrap it up with faith, hope and love. My poet friend - with strong faith wanted to change my words or maybe God wanted to intricately continue the conversation through time, space and distance in order to deepen my roots of trust in a God that is concerned with my character.
We are here but a moment but someday we are in a new home.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
My friends, it is not by accident you stumbled upon these words. May God, alone, strengthen, encourage, equip and deepen your faith through an intimate conversation ... and a journey, where faith, hope and love are not just words on a page but a love letter between you and a savior named Jesus.
May God continue to write your (timbrenotes) worship song.
A fellow point guard for the faith; a writer, deep thinker, music loving, jeep blazing ... follower of Jesus.