My mother’s feet have always troubled me. They are not anything to be desired at all. From the nails, to the sole, to the dryness of ex-corns, her feet represent hardness, constant standing, and a life-long story. I feel like 99% of her time is spent on her feet…bearing children or attending to patients, or cleaning the house or making stew, or praising the Lord. Mommy was never comfortable, although whenever you ask her how she is doing, to this day, her response is “Fine” with a smile that can be felt even through the phone. The other 1% is split between what I call her “feeding sittings” (which are the rare times she gets to eat in between nursing shifts) and “sleeping.” She has always needed a break. She definitely could have used one a particular Sunday morning.
“All of you shattup rright now, unless you too want to walk home with your mum.”
The cries and shouts of four youths were stifled by my strict father’s ultimatum. My one brother kept staring out through the rear window at the fading image of our mother. Her head was down, staring at her church shoes…she wore them almost every Sunday and I know they hurt her feet (all her shoes did). Though short in stature, she walked in a slow, yet long cadence. Each stride accepted and appreciated the toll of the next stride to follow. Her body hunched, and her body had to be tired from the double shift the day before (she had not slept since Friday morning). Farther away now, I couldn’t see, but I am sure she was sweating. I cannot remember what month, or even what season, it was exactly. I know it was warm enough for one to walk outside. And while the sun started out as a pleasant friend early in the morning, now that it was midday, I prayed it would generously emit just the right temperature of heat so that mommy would not perspire through her pastel blouse and would not be weighed down from heat and exhaustion.
I couldn’t look back anymore. I stared at the passenger-seat, now empty–the one that once held my mother as she endured the yelling coming from the driver’s side possessed by my father. I wanted to look back but glancing back would have hurt too much. How can you leave our mom…on a bridge…that connects…Pennsylvania…to New Jersey? Honestly, I wanted to pop my dad in the back of his head, take over the wheel, and go back and pick up my mother. As the oldest (and the ever-so grown age of about 13 or so), I felt helpless. And while his voice filled the blue Toyota van from the steering wheel to the blue carpets, it couldn’t overpower the all too familiar rage I had for my father’s treatment of my mother. And while the drive home was probably only 10 minutes from her drop-off (largely due to having a father that should have been a Nascar driver), the walk not only had to have been a long one…but a dangerous one, as Morrisville, Pennsylvania is connected to Route 29 which is nothing but dangerous highway and sketchy streets of Trenton, New Jersey. Like little pirates, we each held “post” at various stations throughout the house: my sister went to what was my parents bedroom and looked out the blinds there. The front door was left open to let the breeze in and was guarded by my brother, who while obviously waiting and looking for my mother, tried to casually stroll by the door so as not to hear it from my father. I didn’t care. I was in the living room, crunching the window blinds, not caring if I permanently disfigured the plastic. My eyeballs were squinting to see ANY sight of my mother.
Mommy did not open the front door until around 7pm. The first thing she did when she saw her mini-football team of children in the living room waiting for her arrival after her midday exodus–was smile and say “I’m fine.”
This particular scar permeates deep on so many levels. The maltreatment of a father; the hardship endured of a mother; the helplessness as a child. I struggled to learn a lesson from this one. Yet after much thought, and even while typing this, I wonder how many times have I thrown Jesus out of my passenger seat? He has ALREADY taken the beaten; ALREADY done the work; CONTINUALLY provides for me; and LOVES me unconditionally…and yet, when I’m driving the car and He says something my pride cannot come to grips with, I have been guilty of leaving Him behind. And guess what? Abandonment is not done in isolation. Those around you suffer when you decide to do things without Jesus. And as time goes on, you build resentment towards the ones that try to bring Jesus back into your life.
Part of the problem is, sometimes, we do not know our proper place within the car. Because of pride, we can mistaken the free-will over our lives as our authority to CONTROL our lives. We can never forget the free-will is STILL GIVEN by God! If we are driving, He put us in that position, trusting that we would not abuse our placement and that we will continually listen to Him. His thoughts of us are good, not evil, so that we will eventually reach an EXPECTED end. (Jeremiah 29:11). What does that mean? That means that God knows His route for your life! He made the GOOD MAP, the GOOD DESTINATION, and the GOOD OUTCOME! Putting you in the drivers’ seat is part of the overall plan to accelerate you to your PRE-DETERMINED PROMOTION! So why would we throw Him out to drive to an unexpected endpoint? Why would we curse Him and treat Him as a faded memory after all He has done for us? Why would we have Him go through the journey of chasing us through our mess and answering our pleas for help when we fall? The trick of the enemy is that he tries to make you believe that dropping God off means that God can’t find you…can’t reach you…and is done with you.
But you know what…Jesus always finds you anyhow.
Even when we leave Him behind, He assures us that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8). He didn’t put a condition on that! He didn’t say “unless you yell at me” or “until you disobey me” or even “until you throw me out.” The love of God surpasses human understanding…sometimes I feel like we need to rename what we call “love” because oftentimes it does not emulate the relentless tug God desires from our hearts. The point is YOU are worth the search! YOU are worth the walk! YOU are worth grace and forgiveness! As the parent He is, God is inching towards you right where you are…not to condemn you…but to continue loving you and resume His proper place in your life.
I’m sure my mom did not have a doubt in her mind that she was going to reunite with us. She just had to get to us by whatever means. And you know what, as her daughter, I knew she better come back! Expect the same of our Heavenly Father. Regardless of how you are treated on this earth, what you have gone through, or where you are spiritually, financially, or physically, RIGHT NOW, look out your window…call HIM (yes…like right now)! Ask Him to forgive you of your pride and your attempt to push Him aside. Thank Him for His mercy and accept His grace. And He will surely resume the driver’s side if you let Him.
~ excerpt from my piece called “Picking Scabs”