O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek You; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in barren and dry land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1
Jesus said: “I am the bread of life. No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst.” John 6:35
He changed deserts into pools of water and dry land into water-springs. Yet when they were diminished and brought low, through stress of adversity and sorrow, He lifted up the poor out of misery and multiplied their families like flocks of sheep. The upright will see this and rejoice, but all wickedness will shut its mouth. Whoever is wise will ponder these things, and consider well the mercies of the LORD. Psalm 107:33-43
So this morning I cannot get beyond my little (only in the big-sisterly sense of the word) brother’s thoughts that arrived in an late night email. Sort of that deep calls unto deep word I got the other night.
. . .
So, back in the day, my dad was a six-foot-four rocket scientist who spent a lot of time figuring out formulas and vectors and bell-graphs full of statistical trajectories, probabilities and potentials. I remember when calculators kinda hit the junior high pop culture, my dad would outwit my best attempts at multi-column multiplication and division with his slide ruler. I’d be punching away at my calculator’s keys, certain that I would come up with the product or quotient long before my dad could look at those tiny numbers on that white ruler-thingy that I sometimes used for a straight edge on a craft project. But time and time again he’d be standing there with a deadpan look on his face when I looked up from my Casio’s tiny screen. He’d ask, “45,032?”; “206,768?”; “2,098,165.9?” Dang! How’d he do that? Later on, when I took trigonometry in high school and needed help, he would show me some tricks and shortcuts that convinced me that my dad had had a big part in inventing math (and convinced my math teacher that I used a cheat sheet on in-class trig tests).
Anyway, put on this guy a pair of horn-rimmed glasses (back before they were cool), a pocket protector, and a skinny dark tie to complete the picture of a numbers dude on top of his engineering game in the late fifties and early sixties.
After he left the engineering field and was working at various occupations, I remember when my mom would pack him a lunch and write “HB” on the side of the brown paper bag. HB? How did HB connect with Jonas Scott Coverdale, Jr.? Well, I hope I don’t reveal any family secrets here (sorry Mom), but the HB stood for—. Well, I kinda feel strange—but here goes: The HB stood for, uh, um—well—.
Okay, it stood for Honeybun.
I imagine that every kid, especially in the turmoils of adolescence, wonders what might be romantically attractive about either of his parents. Usually that’s because of some current, intrafamilial turmoil—that and the fact that most of Pop’s cranial hair has slipped somewhere and, instead of luscious locks, he sports some vigorous sprouts of ear and nose hair (and enough back-hair to supply a loom full of material to weave a Navaho horse-blanket). Anyway, back in high school, I was kinda lost about anything about my dad that would generate the somewhat soupy epithet of Honeybun. Obviously my mom had some other context, because I didn’t see it from where I stood. What kid would?
Some years ago, I penned a poem that turned out to be a bit of a watershed for my spiritual journeying. Those of you who have known me for a while, it’ll probably sound familiar because I have probably referenced it in some conversation. Back in those days, I was really sloughing the skin of what my perspective of who God was (with regard to His role in my constantly-constricting apologetical descriptions), versus who it was that I really hoped God to be. Here it is:
Why don’t you shout
O Mighty God?
Across this cavern of silence that lies between us.
I need to see a thousand forked lightnings
of your tongue.
With the heel of your just hand.
Why, that would garner some attention;
Folks would sit up and notice:
Your Truth feared
My claims vindicated.
How I long for
Just a taste of the way it used to be:
Pillars of cloud and smoke
Fire in the mountains and
So many would step into line
(I, too, with my sometimes-hesitant heart)
Instead, your Son chose a different voice,
A lover’s voice, rather than
death-defying tricks from the top of the temple.
You, unsearchable God,
Who fingers mountains to existence
Only to melt them by your voice,
You, omnipotent, sovereign, limitless, You