Saturday, April 30, 2011

Unpredictably, Indescribably Good (Part One)

God is so unpredictably, indescribably good to us. Tonight I will begin to share with you my testimony of his goodness to me this first weekend after Easter. Tomorrow I’ll continue the story.

Yesterday evening I attended the wedding of an old friend’s younger sister. The chapel was modest but lovely, the bride looked stunning, and the sermon was unrelenting in its seriousness about what deeply good and truly difficult work love is. These graces were bestowed upon all in attendance. But then came the reception, and with it an evening filled with reminders of how much he truly loves me.

I was not looking forward to it. As a rule my enjoyment of a party is in directly negative correlation with the number of strangers there with me, and I had seen exactly two faces of slight acquaintances in the congregation at church. I have known the family of the bride most of my life and I wanted to catch up with them, but I also knew they would have plenty of friends and family to greet from their table at the front of the room. I sat down by myself out in the hallway and started to read a book, hoping to bide my time until the family arrived and I could say hello and get out of the way. Before I’d even read a page, a guy who served as a groomsman with me in this old friend’s wedding walked up and greeted me. He was not one of the faces I had seen in the crowd. What a surprise!

We sat down at a table in the back of the room across from a couple of strangers who looked close to our age. Immediately one of them looked me in the eye and said, “You look like a Jenks person.” I’m quite sure I’d never spoken with this woman in my life, but as I did in fact graduate from Jenks Public Schools I said, “What class were you in?” “2006.” “I was in the class of 2004.” We eventually figured out we had seen each other in thespian club meetings, but long before we bothered with that trivial detail, we talked some serious history. Not personal history; Oklahoma history. She is about to begin a master’s degree in history at the University of Oklahoma, and I am about to commence the final, most intense period of research and writing on my master’s thesis at OU-an album of songs surveying the history of this state. She immediately illuminated some significant holes in my mental timeline of the place, and pointed me to the best book to read to make sure I’ve covered my bases. What a blessing!

In the midst of this conversation, my friend (the brother of the bride) came and tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Steven, you can play bass guitar, can’t you?” The dance band was about to begin their second set of tunes when their bass player got a call about a family emergency and had to leave immediately. I jumped in my car and called my dad to have him get an instrument and an amplifier ready and put them by the door. In no time I was back to the reception hall and plugged in ready to go. I spent the rest of the night with one eye trained on the guitarist’s left hand and the the other on drummer’s right foot. It was great. I got to do something I love (play in a band) and avoid an obligation I dread (dance at a social event). It was just like being a designated driver, only way more fun. Those two acquaintances I’d seen at church called out my name and said, “I know that guy!” The former fellow groomsman and the friendly historian shook it up on the dance floor and thanked me for saving the night. The bride gave me a big hug. All that would have been more than enough, but then the drummer of the band actually handed me some money. What a gift!

It was just the evening of Easter last weekend that the Lord revealed a new life and a new hope in this area of my life (making music with other people) where I had long been sinking into deeper and deeper despondency. And now less than a week later I have been given a new friend uniquely able to help me focus a set of songs I have been scatterbrained about for the past four years as well as a momentary taste again of that noisy, glorious goodness that is playing in a rock band.

(to be continued…)

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