We drive up Pacific Coast Highway often. There was nothing special about this trip. But I shared with Clark the first apartment mom and I lived in after her and dad divorced. The one with the life-size mermaid she painted on the wall. As we kept driving, memories started flooding like the dam of my thoughts had been broken. I saw my favorite restaurant as a child to my right, all dimly lit and so small. It was a sushi bar with one of those tandoori cooks that throw food in your mouth. And I began to remember all the favorite things I had that were never really mine to treasure. They were all just mere adaptions. The restaurants I loved, the activities I did, they were either things I was forced into or mere survival to entertain myself while my mom tried desperately to maintain some of her own life as a single twenty-something. Not that this justifies my time as a child in bars, but I do understand the want for a normal life when you have a kid and no escape from it.
I pictured myself, sitting in that dimly lit restaurant. I don’t know if it was an actual memory or just and envisioning, but I saw myself as a little girl, sitting alone at one of the tables. Just sitting, emotionless. It was not a dreaded memory of past abuse; it was not my best childhood memory; but just a memory of me sitting. Waiting while nothing was happening.
And I asked the Lord, “Where were you?”
And I felt him there. I felt his eyes watching over me in that bar, and I felt his heart for me grow, as if it was residing in my own chest, for this little girl, so alone. The Father’s Heart was bursting for this Child. And the Father’s Hand was ever-present, yet so invisible. There was nothing to be rescued from, in this memory. But he was there. He was resting beside me. He was conjuring some master plan for rescue. And I hadn’t even known Him yet. I had never given Him a moment of my time or a single breath of my lungs. I was a child.
And he was there. And his heart for my expanded with every inhale of my little lips. His heart towards me grew large.
And there are sweet moments where I see God’s hand moving all around. There are powerful moments of God working things out as they never should, but always, somehow, miraculously, by Grace alone, do. And there are tender moments where the Spirit of the Living God refresh my soul and gives me words to share. His presence is made known. But then there are moments where I can’t feel him near. And I feel like that little girl, sitting at the table, emotionless, and waiting, all over again. But his heart for me still expands. His Father’s Love for me never ceases to grow grow grow. And I am not the same little girl I once was. Because I learn to wait in anticipation for the next thing my God will do, for I have surely seen some wondrous things occur; I am no longer the lost, lonely. child, who is merely waiting for the dinner to be over so I can let my vacant mind rest.
No, he comes like the rain; and His Invisible Hand becomes known to me.