The Hand of God

I have realized recently that my concept of God is different from many. I think of God as endlessly loving, forgiving, and rooting for me to get it right. (Poor old God, I’m such a tough case.) At the same time He is always sending me little CARE packages to cheer me up: ruffed grouse by the side of the driveway, a young bluebird sitting on a fence post, crows chasing a sparrow hawk. Misfortunes and disasters are just misfortunes and disasters but when happy things occur, I always think, “Thank you, God!”

Yesterday was clear and chilly, in the 40s. I spent the afternoon working outside on a project. It involved cutting up and installing some battered old metal roofing. I’ve always cut and installed roofing with Allen, working on the run-in and the sauna.

Metal roofing is hard to cut by oneself. The light sheets want to skitter away from the circular saw. They bend in the wind. The fresh edges are wickedly sharp and snag your hands. Soon my fingers were bleeding, as usual.

Then I was on the 8-foot ladder, trying to hold the small cut sheets in place with my hips while with my hands I attempted to drive roofing screws through the tin. The roofing screws wobbled on the tin and fell. My ladder was wobbling, too.

Where was Allen? I missed him steadying the ladder and handing me up screws, I missed his exaggerated sighs at my ineptitude, I missed his twinkling smile and teasing. “We ain’t got all day, you know.” I missed Allen. I worked steadily but I was feeling sadder and sadder.

My cell phone rang. A voice said, “This is Leon. You mind if I come out there?”

I hung up. This was the second time I’d been feeling blue, missing my old friend, and Leon had telephoned. It was almost eerie.

Fifteen minutes later Leon drove in. We hadn’t seen each other since the work finished last month. He admired the winter rye coming up across the back acres and then said shyly, “I brought you something.”

He ducked into his car and emerged with a covered cake plate. He had baked me a strawberry-filled angel food cake! (He had been baking all afternoon and had also whipped up two homemade apple pies.)

I was very touched. I don’t quite know Leon well enough to give him a hug, so after I thanked him we just grinned at each other. But I was thinking to myself: what a gift. Not just the cake but Leon, himself, with his warm kindness and bristly white whiskers.

We had Leon’s cake for dessert last night. It was light, sweet, and delicious. DH had two slices. Thank you, Leon.

Thank you, God!

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