I have to confess I went to bed Friday night a little put out with God. My prayers that night were less of a "our father" nature and more of a "I really didn't think one seagull was too much to ask," whiney nature. And ask any of my close friends, they'll tell you that I have perfected the art of whining. Well, maybe not 'perfected' since that implies a degree of pleasantness, but I'm skilled at it.
I talked to Mother on Friday night around 8:30. She had just gotten out of class and was excited because she had gotten her first paper back with an A and all the grading categories marked as 'excellent'. I asked her how she was feeling, since after her biopsies that morning she had gone home to lay down because she was feeling it. After establishing that she was feeling well, and after chatting with her for a while, I tried to nonchalantly ask if she had seen a seagull that day. Now, mother is wise to my ways. She said that she hadn't, but immediately insisted that she had been surrounded that morning by an overwhelming sense of joy and peace and could tell that I had been praying for her. She went on to insist that she wouldn't have noticed a seagull unless it had landed on the hood of her car. I encouraged her. Told her that was wonderful. Was thrilled for her paper. Was glad she was feeling better. Was delighted that she was calm on the way to the doctor's office (she had called me that morning really worried. I offered to go with her, but she declined. Maybe I should have insisted.)
I got off the phone, and immediately started this inner dialogue with God over this lack of seagull issue. I pointed out that I hadn't even asked for a real live seagull, a poster, a picture in a magazine in the waiting room, something on the wall of her school, a billboard, the side of a Uhaul truck. Any image of a seagull would have sufficed. But recalling mother's comment about the seagull on the hood of her car, I realized, very cleverly, that obviously God had a better plan in mind. Surely, what he was going to do, was have mother walk out of her trip to the bank Saturday morning to find, in fact, a seagull on the car. (No, he wouldn't poop. This is a divine messenger seagull. They don't poop on the cars of the chosen.) So, I decided to leave the issue at rest, letting the Almighty's oversight alone for now, as long as he sent a real seagull to land on the car the next day. The still quiet voice tried to ask me....just who was this seagull *for* at this point? Mother? or me? Wasn't the peace and comfort he sent what she had really needed that morning? But I was too caugth up in the seagull issue to pay attention.
Saturday morning. I had a dance practice from 9-11. On the way to dance I entered into another discussion with God about the whole issue of seagulls, answered prayers, and trust. This time, since I was alone in the car, my half of the dialogue, or at least parts of it was aloud. Again, the question of, who was this seagull for? came up. And, wasn't the answer of peace and joy more than I had prayed for? And, yes, I was confident that mother's health was going to be all right, but was that because my trust was in God? or was my trust in the doctors and the medical proceedings? (To which, I answered something about a seagull not showing up).
All day Saturday I went back and forth with God on this one. Saturday night was Gospelfest (our church hosts an evening for area choirs and performers to present a few pieces and we have a pretty good community turn out). Our dance ministry presented "Angels Watching Over Me" (not the Amy grant version, totally differents song). Sunday morning I 'read' Acts 16:25-34. (which means I memorized it and did a dramatic reading of it). I prayed my way through a lot of the worship songs.
So, I wrote all of what you just read up there on Monday. And then I got stuck. Its Thursday, and I still haven't figured out how to explain what changed or why it changed. But changed it did. Sometime on Sunday. I was over the seagull issue. I was able to realize, finally, that this was about Mother getting what she needed. I also realized a few other things, about myself, affirming things, good things. Things that I can't quite articulate just now. Or that I can't concisely articulate. About trust and about faith and about 'fruit'. It also helped that I had a slew of people praising me for the scripture reading. Not that I'm a bit conceited from time to time or anything.
Sunday night I went to bed, and could have cared less about seagulls.
Monday I slept in, due to being up at three with a Sweetling with a cold. (For some reason, I really thought the whole 'up in the middle of the night phase' went away after the frist couple years.) But Monday immediately announced itself as a 'spin your wheels stuck in the mud no matter how much effort you put forth' sort of day. I told Sweetling I wanted us to leave for the grocery store at 10 am. It was 11:30 before we actually left. In that hour and a half, I don't even know what I did....laundry? housework? Nothing fun on the computer. And certainly nothing that made a dent in the state of my house or in the impossibly long 'to-do' list that HAD to be addressed that day. In short, Monday was quickly looking like it was going to be a crappy, frustrating, disgusting day full of unmet obligations, failed efforts, and mediocre accomplishments. (Yes, Smurf, I'm leaving that word misspelled just for you. I know how fragile your self-esteen is, and how important it is to maintaining your self-esteem for you to oh so cheerfully point out my faults).
Monday, 11:30 and we're finally on our way to the grocery store. Its not cold, but its not warm. The snow is beginning to become slush. All the parking spaces are really just slushy wading pools. Nevertheless, I pull into one of these lovely spots, pop the van into park....
And there's the seagull.
Just one seagull, circling low over the parking lot,clear and large and perfectly framed in the windshield of my van. I scream, "There's the seagull!!!!!" Sweetling starts asking, where where? Even though she has no clue why Mommy is so spastically excited about this. But the seagull only made one small circle, just enough for me to see him. By the time Susan unbuckled and jumped forward, he was already winging away across the street. I tried to point out his dwindling form, but he was making quick time into the distance. Within what seemed like seconds he had dissappeared. And I just sat there stunned.