Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Where's Tom?"


For the first twenty years of our marriage, Tom was always on the worship team of any church we attended. From state to state and church to church, people were charmed by his being able to sing like the proverbial bird, and more, by the way he could lead a congregation to what felt like the very throne of God in worship and praise. And more than anyone else, I loved to hear him sing, too, be it at home, at church, around camp fires or at the occasional concert where he sang alone or with a band.

But there was one thing which made me crazy. Being in the power plant, a business which operates 24/7 and is known for its wild work schedules, Tom would often have to miss church one or two Sundays each month. There was no getting around it--that's just the way it had to be. Yet always I would pack up Naomi and she and I would go to church on those Tom-less Sundays. And Sunday after Sunday, no matter which church, no matter which state (California, Nevada or our present one) the same old thing would happen when I would walk through the doors. Many people would look at me, smile real big and then ask, "Where's Tom?"

Yes, over and over, time after time it was, "Where's Tom?" Not, "Good to see you, Debra!" or "How are you doing, Debra?" or "My! Aren't you the faithful little thing, Debra."

No, it was always just plain ol' thoughtless, "Where's Tom?"

Well, when you're the shy, insecure mess that I used to be, that kind of thing can really get on your nerves, especially when it happens no matter where you go and no matter what else you may do in a church. I mean, it didn't matter how 'important' I became in any church, it didn't matter how many classes I taught or how many acts of kindness I did, still, year after year, yes, it was, "Where's Tom?"

Since I do try to be honest in this blog, well, what amounts to being pretty honest for me... I'll say here that it took me right around 20 years to finally stop getting my feelings hurt by that constant "Where's Tom?" stuff. But the hurt only stopped after what God thought about me became more important than what other people thought about me. It only stopped after my love for God grew greater and stronger than my love for everyone else.

It only stopped when I accepted the solid fact: People are just people... and I need to give them time and space to grow, just as God gave that time and space to me.

But to get to that point, oh my... God had to take me to some places I didn't, at first, want to go. He had to show me some ugly things that, man oh man, I just did not want to see about myself.

And those things are what I tend to write about in this blog. The changes God has made in my life are what I'm recording here.

But oh, what life is like after God pulls you up out of the mess otherwise known as The Life You Created For Yourself! The difference is indescribable. And, over and over, I see that difference in little ways, such as, now, go ahead and ask me, "Where's Tom?" when I step through any door.

I'll just laugh at the silliness of it all.

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