“So…you don’t think he’s the one?”
It was 3:53 pm on a Thursday afternoon.
The swings were still. Jump ropes were stacked into swirling circles. Balls were lined up neatly against the wall.
The playground was empty…except for me and my sister.
School had dismissed over an hour ago and we were still waiting for my mother to pick us up.
Ms. Rhonda swept dust nearby, working a double shift as custodian and babysitter.
Whenever a car would pull into the neighboring parking lot, the three of us would crane our necks to look, hoping it was my mother.
But when it turned out to be someone else, Ms. Rhonda returned to sweeping, my sister to playing, and me to festering.
I’d pace the pavement in my plaid jumper and fume.
Mommy is ALWAYS late.
Renee and Ciara walk home all the time! How come we can’t?
Where is she?
Mommy doesn’t care about picking us up.
If she did, she’d be on time.
She just doesn’t care.
But my mother did care. A lot.
Enough not to want us to walk through sketchy areas of our neighborhood.
And enough to have us wait until she made it from her job 45 minutes away to transport us home under her guard.
But my 9-year-old self didn’t know that.
All I knew was that what I wanted was not here when I wanted it to be.
So I took the delay as a sign of disinterest.
When it was the furthest thing from the truth.
This memory floated to mind when I thought of a sermon I heard about divine delays.
A divine delay is when God is slow in answering a prayer for a specific reason.
While listening to the sermon and reading Bible passages, I discovered that God took His sweet time on a couple of occasions.
When Jesus’s good friend Lazarus was sick, He didn’t rush to his side as expected. Instead He stayed where He was for two more days.
When the disciples were battling a torrential storm, Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping until they woke Him up.
God seemed so unconcerned during very serious situations, as if He didn’t realize the urgency at hand.
But that didn’t mean He didn’t care.
It meant He was in control and proved His omniscience.
Jesus knew that Lazarus would live before he got sick, while he was sick, and after he died from his sickness.
He knew that breathing life back into his dead body would prove to onlookers that He is the Messiah.
He knew that witnessing their brother’s miraculous healing would steel the faith of Mary and Martha.
He knew that Lazarus would be a walking, talking, living testimony of the power of God.
He knew this which is why He delayed His trip to see Lazarus.
But all Lazarus’s sisters knew was their brother was dead and Jesus was not there when they wanted Him to be.
But in the end, they and the world got something greater than they ever expected.
There are some things that I know God is taking His time in giving me.
It gets old at times.
And I feel like that little girl in the navy blue plaid jumper.
But I remind myself that He cares too much to be unconcerned.
He just knows something I don’t.
I was talking with my older sister one day about relationships when she gave me an interesting story about strawberries.
It’s a summer day. The bright sunlight warms your skin and makes your shadow dance on the porch as you lounge outside.
The heat of the day makes you thirsty.
And you don’t want just any drink.
You want a homemade strawberry smoothie.
So you go to the grocery store.
Your throat parched.
Your mouth watering.
Your tongue dry, ready for the sweet sensation.
You head to the produce section to pick up some strawberries.
But they’re all moldy.
You pick up another package.
That one’s moldy, too.
You check the packages underneath that one.
They are all full of strawberries, plastered with white fuzzy mold.
But you want that smoothie so bad that you buy two packages of the moldy strawberries.
You toss the berries in the blender with ice.
And when it’s poured in the glass, complete with a straw and mini umbrella, it looks great.
But 10 minutes after you drink it, your head begins to swirl and your stomach hurts.
And you vomit.
Sometimes singleness can be a lot like thirst.
The desire for that season to end is so strong that anyone who crosses your path seems like a viable candidate.
Clues of decay.
Evidence of eventual decomposition can be easily pushed aside.
If you’re thirsty enough…
Or desperate enough to ignore them.
I was reminded of this story during a conversation with my friend, Roxanne. She was telling me about a friend of her boyfriend. This friend had asked her if she had any single available friends for him to meet.
And a lightbulb that looked like me began to glow in her head.
“Girl…you should go out—“
My response earned me a hiss.
I grew quiet, hoping my silence would help her memory.
Roxanne had told me stories about this guy. A voyeuristic incident that left me a bit perturbed. His predilections for a type of woman I could never be. Odd behavior that even left her boyfriend full of caution.
Yet, a date with him would be right for me.
“You’re being judgmental.”
Am I? Or am I just being wise?
Passing on the moldy strawberries.