April 20, 2010
A deer ran by my house the other day. Down the street before my eyes, a wild, unexpected streak of life loped through suburbia. I saw her from my kitchen window and screamed, "A deer! In the street!" My 13 year old spun around and leaped to the window. My oldest son ran up the driveway from the backyard after only having heard me scream "...STREET!" assuming someone had been hurt. The deer turned left at the corner, bounced into my neighbor's yard and disappeared from view.
For quite a long while afterward police cars were meandering through the streets, people ran down the street craning their necks over fences, two girls rode up on bikes asking Luke, who by then had perched himself on the front porch, to come along with them to search for it. I texted. My friend in South Carolina was alerted to the splash of activity in her hometown. My sister replied to my text from work in Philadelphia, "Aw! How fast was it going?!" A friend stopped by and I met him on the front porch, pointing over his shoulder, "You just missed a deer running down the street!"
I don't know why, the thing gave me hope. It surely wasn't the strangest or most unlikely thing to happen in our town, but it was colorful, out of the blue, rare, unforeseen. I guess when life becomes routine, or worse, and things just seem to roll on like flipping the same old page of the same old bedtime story...or when you are waiting for something to happen that seems impossible or at least unlikely and it seems there will never be a change, something like a deer running down the street in a town where you only see birds, squirrels and stink bugs can make anything seem possible for a moment.
That's what I was left with, the feeling that God is just above and we mustn't forget that absolutely anything is possible with Him. And sometimes He does the impossible before our eyes, not to solve our problems or entertain, but maybe to remind us that He Is The One. And we aren't - I mean, sometimes I tend to think everything rests on my shoulders and I have to be this or that or do this or that and that will magically be the key to prompting God to answer me (in the way that I'd prefer) or move in a situation (in a way that I'd prefer). But it brings such peace to know that, without the Holy Spirit prompting me in the direction I should go, no amount of finagling on my part is worth a nickel. God knows and I don't. It may be that He moves when I am stymied or perhaps He doesn't move when I am wrestling. I don't know why.
One thing that has stuck in my memory is the old man sitting on the gym floor after Katrina. He had a cross and one or two other possessions. The reporter asked him what he was going to do and he said something like, "God doesn't always come when you ask Him, but He's always right on time." The memory of a deer running down my avenue one afternoon will likely be deposited in the same file: "...and you just might be surprised."