I'm knitting a scarflette out of Italian wool the color of smoke. In my mind, sometime this autumn I'll wind it around my neck and grab a thermos of spice-scented apple cider and kick through painted leaves. With Millie. Another day I'll wear it home from the restaurant and market where I now work, it draped carelessly about my neck and a muffaletta tucked in crisp brown paper underneath my arm. Scarflettes and muffalettas go together, for obvious reasons.
Yes, I'm working full time at a small but frantically busy deli and gourmet market tucked in the corner of four states: Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. (The license plates tacked onto cars in the parking lot are from everywhere.) I work back in the kitchen with the chef, handling big orders and catering. On one hand I don't mind it so much. On the other hand, I hate it with every Italian wool fiber soon-to-be on my being. This is a waste, I tell myself everyday when I'm making the 45-minute commute. A waste of an expensive education, talent and hard-won experience. But a job is a job. At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Nevertheless is a big word with me right now. Do you ever have those? Big words? A word that keeps presenting itself... first you read it, then someone says it, then you hear it on the radio or on TV or on the street. Nevertheless is mine. I got foolish and bold two weeks ago and decided I'd be very angry at God. I was outside in the dark, lying on a trampoline and staring at stars and giving Almighty God the what-for. What could You possibly be thinking? I asked Him. How could You let me lose my love, my career, my car, my house, my bakery, some family and all my dreams so close together? If this Your idea of "all things work for together for good", You can keep Your good, I told Him.
Nevertheless, He said, gently.
You make no sense to me, I said back.
Nevertheless. Of course I've been confused. See, it's like this: I have been looking at the hard, bitter things in my past and realizing they don't add up to happy. But I'm learning. I'm seeing that I've been looking at circumstances backwards. The question isn't how God can let bad things happen to good people. It's how God could let something so good happen to bad people. Messed up people like me. I'm learning that having a relationship with God... that being a Christian... doesn't mean an American-dream life. It does mean walking through life - griefs and all - with a Comforter. With someone who never, ever forsakes you. Even when you, the work of His very hands, lie underneath His stars and tell Him, with the very breath He gave you, that He's blown it big time. Not even then.
Nevertheless. Even though life is hard, unexplainable and sometimes downright heartbreaking, nevertheless I will praise Him. In an Italian wool scarflette, on my back on a trampoline under the stars, I can say to God: God, I can't figure you out. I can't see how You'll work out my life to make something good. Nevertheless, I will praise You. And nevertheless, I will trust You until the end.
In the meantime, I'll go to work and make muffalettas, I guess.
(In case you're wondering, my scarflette pattern is a variation of the pattern here. Oh. And this little ditty was a good read for this time in my life.)