Week 1: Beginnings
Two blond little eight-year-olds sat on the top step of the porch. One had brown eyes and a Dutch-boy haircut. That meant bangs across the forehead and hair cut straight below the ears. The other had blue eyes with the same ear-length hair, but hers was parted and pinned to one side—often with a huge bow that she hated, but little girls wore it in the 1930s.
That particular afternoon, they played office as they leaned over their desks (the porch floor). They busily scribbled in the white margins of old magazines. Scribbling it was because they only knew how to print, and that did not flow across the page like real writing. The mindless scribbling left plenty of time to chat.
Then came the question Brown Eyes asked, which etched the incident in the memory of Blue Eyes. The question was casual enough. “Do you believe in God?”
“No,” Blue Eyes answered, also casually enough and without hesitation. She knew that was what you were supposed to say, for that was being broad-minded.
Yet the moment she uttered her no out loud, she silently revoked the statement by affirming, “I do believe in God. I do. I do.”
She simultaneously sought to refute the word to set things right—with herself—and with God.
Little Blue Eyes grew up silently affirming “I do believe in God. I do. I do.”
Ultimately, her affirmation, no longer silent, resulted in The Right Hand of God.
* * * * * * *
Years later when Blue Eyes was finishing high school, she walked down the lane each morning to catch the school bus. It was a good time to practice her English literature memory work.
Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote,
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour.
The walks down the lane were also a good time to talk to herself. One morning, her thoughts reached a climax as she reached the middle gate. An undercurrent of rebellion began to surface in the words she voiced.
“I haven’t had one advantage by moving to the country. Not one,” she announced to the morning air, as she wistfully began to think of what might have been if they had stayed in Austin. What she missed by moving to the country.
“Not one single advantage,” she repeated more emphatically. Almost shouting for the world—yet for no one on that empty lane—to hear. Then another thought eased into her mind, gently overriding her own. From nowhere came the words “except . . . a closeness to God.”
Overwhelming realization welled through her mind and body, as she immediately knew that she would not have had this closeness in Washington, DC. She may or may not have had it in Austin. But she certainly had it here in the country.
“And compared to that, what else matters?”
An indefinable peace came with understanding, as she realized with complete certainty that, here in the country, her closeness to God was assured. It was many years, decades, before she realized that the closeness she felt that morning was actually a deep feeling of closeness to God the Creator and His Creation.