"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. As I look back, however, in her attempt to help, the words she changed still sound impoverished to me, as if the authenticity of my own words were being compromised. You see, she wanted to change words in my poems, my words. Still, I began to gain her trust.
She was a woman of faith and I had given up on God - I didn't measure up to my own judgment of Him and therefore closed the door or so I thought.
A meal and a judgment: Time and age had separated me with this man but one thing intricately wove us together, our doubts of faith. Unbeknown to me, God was using a third person to cast a sliver of light as if the door was cracked open, ever so slightly.
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 on google to find the rest of the words.
I posted this picture on Instagram - the place reserved for my youth or young-at-heart community. I walked out one door - my home into another door - a busy work environment and earned a paycheck. 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 and a group of men who normally meet in the space for a men's bible study. These words resonated with me on a big TV screen as the pastor at the conference began his sermon with ... 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 has 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.
The first picture is from Fotolia, song may be purchased from I-tunes, the second picture and stories are authentically my own. Material is copywritten 2017.
A person who searches for depth and beauty in the simple things.