Beads of water plummeted down the windshield. In sporadic fashion, many of them bounced upwards, only to spike downwards, tracing out trails like a heart monitor gauging a heartbeat. Others descended swiftly in a straight line; smooth, fast, unencumbered. I sat in the driver’s seat staring out into tiny, big, oblong, and circular water droplets obstructing my view.
My imagination wandered to shooting stars, huge masses of brilliance dislodged from out of space that people wish upon. All the while, the gush of water sprayed. The swinging gigantic wash cloth waved in the manner of a matador warding off a bull. The round spinners ricocheted off of my SUV like a pinball machine. Crazy as it seems, it was the precise moment when I speculated the inauguration of my journey with God. When did it really, personally begin?
Without a doubt, my first sincere inquiry about God originated the night the iron hissed as mom rested it on the ironing board. The hot steam rose drifting towards the fluorescents lights. The linoleum floor in the kitchen sparkled, reflecting flashes of colorful light generated by the glare from the television. Lying on my stomach in the family room with my chin propped up on one elbow; my world was minimized to a 32’ screen depicting the Hollywood dream, sucking me into a mindless tinsel town charm.
My escape into make-believe terminated as soon as my sister walked into the room. Her face was a fire engine red with eyes glossed over, glazed. Her cheeks watermarked. Her countenance displayed a worn sentiment. Her thick eyelashes twitched as eyes blinked, ringing out, and shaking any excess of tears that still clung to a reservoir of heart felt emotion. The volume from the TV suddenly was reduced to white noise, blaring sounds of disinterest.
February 14, 1978. My only sibling and four years my senior, my sister had been talking to two strangers in three-piece suits. For what seemed like hours, these men disappeared with my sister into another room of our home. When they returned, they proclaimed that she had just become a child of God. I was nine-years-old. And once being deemed as the man of the house, I now feared being alone, separated. Going through a second divorce as a family, mom and my sister were all that I had. Now on this night, I witnessed a transformation in my sister, and at such a young age understood the severity, reality of it. It affected me deeply, greatly, that I was confronted with my own uncertainty. It instigated questions, causing me to ponder, think. Who is this God? Was I going to Heaven with my mom, my sister? Isn’t being dragged to church every Sunday by my mom enough?
A year or so earlier, my mom gave her life to Jesus Christ. She worked in a grocery store striving to make ends meat. It was in this place where her life radically changed. I will never forget the barrage of cash registers clicking in unison, their drawers chiming, clanging every time they popped opened. Or the havoc of loud speaker madness used for calling out price checks, retrieving an item for a customer standing at the check-out line, that interrupted the soft ambiance of strumming instruments. Oftentimes, I hung out in the store waiting for mom to finish her shift.
She was befriended by a particular customer who began standing in her check-out line if it had 3, even 10, or 20 people. It didn’t matter to Carol. My mom’s personality was contagious – she was hard working, loved her children dearly, and always smiled from ear to ear. Carol wanted to be a good friend and when the opportunity presented itself to share the love of Jesus Christ. Through a matter of time, that friendship ensued, talks ignited, and mom became a Christian. Old ways behind her, she had become new, whole. Carol remains one of her best friends to this day.
So, when the ones I depended on the most where joined together spiritually, I asked mom questions about Christianity, God, and Jesus Christ. Fear, I believe, was the driving force into why I thought I asked Jesus into my heart at such an early age. I merely did not want to be deserted in the cold, left behind. For whatever reason my decision to follow Jesus Christ was made, it escalated later into a deep, intimate relationship that is difficult to describe. If I wasn’t a Christian then, believe me I am one today! Some people may gasp because dare I be angry at God; question Him; struggle with depression; and be tempted, at times, to quit. Yet this has been my story. This is my song. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. And that, God continues to teach me, is plenty.
A few years ago, at a local car wash, I looked through a windshield speckled with drops of water. One by one the drops fell – in different directions – some streaming down rapidly, while others trickled in jagged lines. In a matter of minutes, my Dodge Durango was clean. And I realized. Isn’t that me? Clean. I am a child of God who has the ability to radiate: shine like a star, whole, new, and luminous.
I’m not sure about you, but I often desire to peer at drops of water through a lens hoping for something better. Those shooting stars… What do I wish for? There is that old adage about the grass being greener on somebody else’s lawn. What looks greener beyond what I am currently experiencing? I need to be concerned about watering my own lawn as somebody once suggested, and not wishing upon shooting stars. There is that struggle. There is that hope. My journey with God is unexplainable, ever so personal, and extremely rich down a roadside of brokenness.