“The problem”, He said as he leaned over the table and looked deep into my eyes, “is that you let your reasoning and your own ideas keep getting in the way of my plans”. This was a bit of a shock to me as I fancied myself a pretty fair and reasonable man.
“Don’t spoil my plans by wanting to impose your ideas”. With that, He leaned back in his seat and waited form me to respond.
For a while, I sat there and listened to the chatter of the coffee shop; smelled the deep aromas of cold coffee and burned toast. I let myself turn his words over in my head and wondered if I’d end up smelling like burned crow as well as the burned toast that was at this very moment permeating my clothing. I looked at Him and started to say something in my defense but I realized He was not only way ahead of me in the discussion, He was way right.
His stare remained fixed and without a movement of his body he continued with one last indictment; “I need my hands free to act David, don’t tie them with your worthless worries”. With that, He stood to leave. I noticed that He didn’t offer to pay for the coffee but I wasn’t about to throw that log into the discussion, I’d had enough. What stared as a discussion over coffee about how rough I’d been on Bethany the night before turned into a backhand of “I told you so’s” that sucked the joy out of good coffee; good coffee that I now had to pay for as well.
We’d been laughing about the fluky nature of my old car, how as soon as I fix the lights something else would break. We laughed to the point of Him nearly wetting himself at the irony of the tag line that the brand of electrical componentry my seemingly possessed car used: “The Prince of Darkness”. Half the time (usually at night) those lights didn’t work because of the wiring; Prince of Darkness carried such a rich double-entendre that I couldn’t help but share it with Him. There’s nothing like a dear friend with a sense of humor. That sense of humor that I’d hoped would support my case with Bethany now seemed to disappear into a cloud of His indignant self-righteousness. I thought about dismissing the advice and the admonishment but I knew better.
In Bethany’s zeal to get a rise out of me, she’d managed to bust open the bedroom window again, this time making sure that she hauled as much soil from the flowerboxes into the house as possible before I got to the top of the stairs. Once she heard me coming she squealed with delight and ripped faster into the potting soil. By the time I got to the door, she’d shifted from ripping soil to ripping diaper and had also shifted from a squeal of delight to more of a deep cackle like I’m certain the Prince of Darkness uses every time my electrical fails. With the window broken open the cold night air mixed quickly with scent of potting soil, gnarled leafy vines and the unmistakable and pungent odor of filthy, ripped diaper. Her face told me that this was more of a taunt than an obsessive need; a tell which set me off more than had I been mugged in the park.
The thing that got me wasn’t found in the explanation of all this, in fact we both laughed at the visual that it produced and I’ll be the first to admit, the look on her face, the mess I saw, the seer lunacy of it all made for a great story. We both laughed at the telling of it and I must have had great power in the telling because He was so tied into the story, hanging on each turn of phrase, each conveyed emotion; we’d been so close for so long I think He knew exactly what was coming. No, none of that fettered me; what really got me was the way He reacted at my tired dismay in the continuous predictability of her behavior. I thought for sure He’d offer some sort of solace, a timeframe perhaps, an explanation or some sort of justification maybe? Nothing. I got nothing. A blank stare across the table in a noisy coffee shop was all I was afforded, that and a bill for two black coffees.
“I’m the victim here” was the defense that I’d planned on tossing back in His face when He first leaned towards me with His advice. Now that He was gone, I was glad I’d not tabled it; clearly He was in no mood to accommodate me and myself, bigger things were afoot and it was clear from His admonition that I was more of a problem standing in the way of His solution than anything else.
It took me the time of those two coffees to mull his words over in my head. I had to relive each thing I’d said, each movement offered, each angry moment right there in the café’ before it would make any sense to me. He was gone but His words still hung in the thick, smoky air… accurate; his advice was just. Not only did I offended Bethany with my impatience but I’d harmed my wife – the sharp edges of my words now carried the blood of two people; the collateral damage of my imposed ideas.
I got up to leave having reluctantly paid for the two coffees that I got billed for, and as I put the single empty coffee cup into the dishpan on my way out the door I realized what His intent was with the issue of Bethany; It was clear that I needed to simply lose myself confidently in Him, to rest on what He knows and to leave in His thoughts, my future.