Last night in the check-out line at Home Depot, I watched a little girl’s face as she and her dad decided on Christmas tree ornaments and decorations. They had two of those large clear plastic boxes that hold 36 or 48 ornaments of similar color and size. The clerk scanned the price, and Dad decided one box would do. The little girl’s face fell just a fraction, but then she turned to the three long candy cane yard decorations by the register.
“They’re for my brothers,” she told the sales girl.
“You have three brothers?” the clerk asked.
“No — two. This one’s for me.” And she pointed to the green striped one; the other two were red. She beamed from ear to ear, the loss of the second box of ornaments quickly forgotten. She gazed into her dad’s warm brown eyes and smiled so lovingly. I could see that at that moment her dad was the most wonderful person on the planet.
Several things stirred inside me – I remembered the faces of my son and daughter when they were young and gazed up at me with such love and appreciation. The way I felt about my own dad when I was a child and didn’t yet know his flaws. I watched the tableau closely – the subtle changes in her expression — from disappointment to acceptance, then to happiness, and to appreciation and love. All of that occurring in less than a minute.
My house sold a week ago, and I’ve been frantically looking for another. I wrote God a note and spelled out what I wanted this time. After each discouraging showing I felt let down. Then one came along that was tempting and beautiful, but it fell short of my desired criteria. I went home that night and cried myself to sleep – I wanted someone to share in this difficult decision. Then on Fri. I felt I found the perfect one – location, size, total remodel, lovely décor, and immaculate. I contacted my realtor immediately. We never got to see it. He called back with the disappointing news that it was sold – multiple offers – gone! I drove by anyway just to make myself feel miserable.
Then I grew angry with God. Really? Why? Ah, pretty please, I whined. I imagine that my Father looked just like the dad last night – a mixture of loving kindness and understanding, and sternness when I whined. I settled down. Ok, next time, maybe?
I still have these two symbolic candy canes to share, however – the knowledge that God does have a house for me just around the corner that will put me closer to friends and kids, and the gift of a lease-back for a month that gets us through the holidays so we can celebrate and enjoy this home one last time
In September I begged for the house to sell. God answered quickly – a sign that he agreed I thought. He must have seen my tears and felt my panic again on Friday when I begged for more time and He granted that prayer with the lease-back.
And even better, there was a third candy cane I hadn’t expected. The house I didn’t get led me to an area I’d not thought of before – much further north and much closer to the people I love. It may be a perfect neighborhood. I wouldn’t have found it if God hadn’t closed that door.
I know He will say yes eventually. I just have to first get through the no’s. I remembered all of this as I watched that child’s face last night, and I smiled as she skipped off holding her candy canes in one hand and her dad’s hand in the other. Faith is easier when you’re a child. At my age I have to really work at it. So there’s a large printed note on my refrigerator now. “God has a house for you — a place just for you. He’s still working out the details and arranging the plan. Have Faith.”