It happened the way it always happens. Ever since, well, a long time ago. I walked in, looked around for a familiar face. Searching for the spot where I will feel the most special, the most loved, will laugh the most…
Then the inevitable. “We have a place over here…” And once again I’m led away from the ones who make me feel safe. Once again I’m sitting at a table with people that I don’t know.
I lean over and whisper to my husband, “I hate this…” and he smiles that sad smile. The one that says, “I would change the world to make you happy, but I can’t.” So I sit back and look around and no one smiles and no one says, “Oh! I want you! Come here!” Instead I sit alone.
Then in the midst of my jumbled confusion I hear the voice. The one that I’ve trying to memorize the sound of. An hour each morning and an hour each night, I run my eyes and fingers over the words, listening so hard. Searching for inflection and thoughts.
“Embrace where you are.” He says it quietly and I know that if I hadn’t been working at listening, I would have missed it. But I hear it.
What did I have to lose? So I sat back. Breathed deeply, looked at the lady across the table from me and smiled, entering into a conversation where I felt awkward and insecure.
A few minutes later another woman entered the room. She wasn’t like the women around me who were laughing and telling jokes in private circles. She was alone. And because of a strange set of circumstances, I know some of her inside things. The pain that is trying to strangle her. So I stood and walked and smiled and talked. And for a moment I glimpsed something beautiful.
And it starts a chain reaction. Person to person I move. Talking. Not chatting but real talking. Opening and showing and being. And His voice gets louder and my flesh burns. And I see beauty.
It’s in the girl with the crooked smile who is serving my dinner. The woman across from me who is searching so hard for acceptance. The ladies to my right who lean over to each side of me and cover me in grace. In the tears of a friend who is sharing her heart- right there, in the middle of all these people.
Then the truth hits. It really isn’t any of them. It’s Him. It’s me having my eyes open to Him. And I see His reflection all around.
I look up in time to see the bridegroom sweep his bride off her feet and into his arms. Everyone laughs and cheers.
And I remember times when he was ready to give up- ready to settle for something less than beautiful- and my heart aches at the joy on his face as he looks down at his new wife, the fulfillment of so many dreams. My childhood friend has grown up to be a man worth knowing.
And I remember a time when I was ready to give up. Ready to settle for something less than beautiful. And my heart aches with joy. That my King should be so gracious to me, so loving, so patient… someday, someday, when all this flesh is burned and gone- Oh, God, let the things that are left be worth knowing.