Autumn 2011 #4
Bugger is bogged, yet again!
We have been bogged too deep and a little too often. Mud, wet grass, or just an inch of silt over the footpath, and we are marooned. B1 was bogged in the red sands of the Gibson Desert. B3 was once so clogged with clay that my Favourite Wife had to help me dismantle her and pry the earth out with a bread knife!
Oddly enough, rescue almost always arrives in a light truck, and most often it will be a builder who drives past moments after I get stuck, sees the dilemma, and responds with warm, can-do Aussie practicality. I love it! But this time it’s complicated. I’m not out in public where help is near at hand. I am home; alone, in my back yard, hanging out the washing!
Beside the path to our Hills Hoist is a herb garden; a tangle of provender permanently sodden from the attention of a spring further up hill. A brief lapse of concentration and three of my six wheels are in the mire; down and out! At an alarming tilt, I’m feeling slightly panicked in the hot afternoon sun. From where will rescue come this time, and – more urgently – when? Barely two minutes have passed and the rattle of a diesel engine is coming up our street. It’s too early from my Favourite Wife, and it sounds bigger than our van. Then there voices at the front of our house. The bog-site is right round the back, and I can’t raise my voice. Perhaps I could whistle? I’m good at that! Still no effect. But whistling through my voice amplifier, now that’s a noise! Enough noise to summon not one but two postmen, each looking for my signature. One had come in the truck with a parcel, the second in a postie bike with registered mail, both at exactly the same time. More than enough man power to un-bog Bugger. What are the chances? Who could have orchestrated that?
So ended the painful week I chronicled in last Sunday’s post; but as if that were not enough reassurance, the same week had begun with another signal event. My Favourite Wife was given a few unexpected days off work precisely when Little One was in respite care – booked months in advance. Our life is pretty intense these days, and out of the blue we felt the quite alpine slopes beckon! I rang the Ski Resort we occasionally visit, soon realising that a gift from friends which I had opened earlier in the morning was the exact amount quoted by our friendly manager for a couple of nights off-season luxury. The exact amount! What are the chances? Who could have orchestrated that?
These two days, Monday and Friday, bracketed last week like hands cupped around treasure. When such ‘coincidences’ happen I can’t help but feel secure. And yet … … it often puzzles me that Providence seems available in inverse proportion to the scale of the problem. Put more simply: the smaller the crisis, the more likely the miracle. Many people carry the heavy burden of significant, unanswered prayer in their hearts, while in the details of their everyday lives the touches of heaven are abundant. I doubt that it is simply a lack of faith. Why, when my deepest prayer is to get out of my wheelchair, does God answer only by pulling me out of the mud? This is a vexing question; but in Bugger’s dis-bogging I see the hint of an answer.
While I peer onward down the path of life, the Almighty savours the moments of each and every day. I hunger for lifetime security, but he simply seeks a seat at my table tonight. I strain to arrive, but He loiters on the road. I look for my destiny, He shows me a detour. It’s enigmatic! We finite mortals toy incessantly with our long range goals and ten year plans, while the Master of Infinity dabbles in the instant.
Why? Because it is the journey itself that He values most. I want control, he wants companionship. I want the weather forecast, He just dances in the rain. The architect who said, “God is in the detail” * may not have seen it as a spiritual principle; but in the detail of our days a calm and careful eye may see the confident hand of Eternity.
* Attributed to a number of different individuals, most notably to German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) by The New York Times in Mies’ 1969 obituary, however it is generally accepted to not have originated with him (Wikipaedia).