It’s a warm, fall night. Mr. Schrock and I are out on the town with two of our boys, and my heart, it revels in their closeness. Ah, this life…
After a breathless, dizzying, several-week whirlwind, time has slowed, swirling around me in currents of joy, ribbons of happiness. In a thundering, tumultuous and stormy political night, the atmosphere’s shot through with anger, fear. With hatred, anxiety.
All around me, folks are riled. Stirred up. Unsettled. Nervous, and the love-light of many has flickered out. Gone cold.
Really, I wonder. What can I do? For there are forces big; forces dark. Foes unseen to my human eyes. There is much that’s afoot.
This night, I feel my smallness. Feel help-less. Feel the futility of any *one* to stem the tide, much less to turn it.
We file in to the sandwich shop. These kids are starving, and it’s best to keep ’em fed. Many coups and uprisings have been staved off by the feeding and watering of our young. So in we go.
Behind the counter, a cheerful face the color of cocoa, framed all around with those curls. He greets us. We begin our orders, one, two, three, four, and his hands, they flutter and fly, quick and sure.
“I’m going to make you the perfect sandwich,” he says. And something in my heart enlarges.
At the end of the line, our teenager, the senior. He’s waitin’ to order his foot-long. And all at once, the young man behind the counter, our happy sandwich maker, he says it: “Do you go to Culver (Military Academy)?” for he’s noted our runner’s shirt. And there we go.
He’d played lacrosse for a high school nearby. He’d taken to running cross country for conditioning. Aha, I think. Another running boy. We have found him, and my heart, it makes room for one more.
“Are you in college?” I say, for I’ve had that boy, too. And, hands moving, he tells me his story. He has a baby boy. He’s not married, but his Baby Mama (his words), she’s smart; very smart, and she’s going to college, doing it first. Then perhaps him.
Beloved Mister and father of our four, he’s now ordering. A bright, young woman, she’s joined her coworker at the counter. She’s moving and reaching and building. And she’s listening.
I look at the cheerful young man, the once-runner, and I say what his ears need to hear. “We have four boys. We have two college degrees, him (I point at my husband) and our oldest son, and we have one business.”
He listens, still moving. “What I want you to know is that you don’t have to go to college right out of high school. You can do it later, like we did. We were married and had one of our sons.” Yes, he needs this.
“I’m working here,” he says, “trying to save money. My Baby Mama, she’s all the time poundin’ it into my head, ‘We have to save. We have to save,’ so I’m tryin’ to do that.”
A smile the size of Texas, it’s creepin’ ’round my head. This fella, there’s somethin’ about him.
And that’s when the young woman, she speaks up. “Me, too,” she says. “I’ve got four boys as well. From eleven on down to age three.” I’ve no words. Her bright, happy spirit, it shines.
Then one last thing. I feel the nudgin’, and I look over the counter, and I say, “I don’t want you to give up on what you’re wantin’ to do. There’s somethin’ about you…you’ve got a bright future. So don’t you give up on your dreams.”
He looks at me. He has heard me. And he says, “Sometimes you just need to hear it. Need to hear that you’re doin’ good.”
At a table in a sandwich shop in a town close to here, we bow, Mr. Schrock and I, our teenager and Dude, and holding hands, we pray right out loud. “Papa, bless those two behind the counter. Let them come to know Jesus. Know His love. Amen.”
On a dark night, in a wild and stormy time, there is so much that I cannot do. I can’t save a country. Can’t set up, take down kings. I can’t make America accept Him. And yet…
And yet, I’m not help-less, for Papa’s my Dad, and Jesus, He’s my elder brother. My Saviour. I’m filled with His Spirit. My heart’s set on Him, and there’s much that this mother can do.
I can love them. Love all those He brings me in the highways, the byways. Love those who are desperate for lovin’. They need love.
I can be a shiner. A shiner of light! My candle, it never goes out. They need light.
I can be filled with courage, and my courage can spill out on all those whose courage is slow-leaking. They need courage.
I can be the hope-full, and my hope can spill out. Can embrace, up-lift those around me. They need hope.
Even now, there’s no reason for despair. I have all that I need for a dying, lost world needin’ love, light, courage and hope.
That’s what this one, small mother can do. And you. You can, too.
For Him and for His kingdom of light,