If you were to ask my mother, she’d tell you that if you mess with one of her family, bad things will befall you. She knows with every ounce in her being that the Lord will make things seven times worse for you than whatever it was that you did to one of us.
“So people just better watch what they say and do!” she’d admonish, severely shaking her pointer finger while simultaneously giving you the look.
I don’t know why Mom believes that out of all of the billions of people on this planet, the five of us in my family of origin are so very special and important to the Lord − but if she’s right (and I’d like to believe she is on this point), then it’s pretty cool knowing that Jesus and God have our backs. God might not prevent people from saying or doing bad stuff to us, but at least He’ll get revenge on our behalf. That’s both assuring and daunting all in the same breath.
I’ve heard Mom say things along the lines of, “Do you know what happened to So-and-So? She said some awful things about your brother last week. Now, the Lord is punishing her sevenfold. Her pecan tree has some kind of disease and she’s going to have to pay a lot of money to get it taken out or else it’s going to fall on her house and destroy it. Isn’t that interesting? She should never have called your brother a sonofabitch.”
Vengeance is mine,’ sayeth the Lord,” sayeth my mother. I’d quote you chapter and verse, but I don’t know it − that’s my mother’s department. I’m just repeating what I’ve grown up hearing all of my life.
Like it or not, I am my mother’s daughter. I, too, seem to have the uncanny gift of being able to trace back a person’s misfortune to some snide remark or insensitive deed they’ve committed. It is in that spirit, I give you the following:
Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, David and I had one of those ugly kind of arguments that had to do with his saying unkind things to me earlier that morning. There was no good excuse for what he did and he eventually apologized. However, apologies are only sincere if the person goes out of his way not to repeat those mistakes. Experience has shown that David’s not going to let some little apology stand in the way of saying whatever he chooses whenever he chooses. He’s a bit of a bad ass that way. Ergo, I didn’t accept his apology. Matter of fact, I was so upset that I told David I wasn’t going with him to our grandson’s seventh-grade scrimmage game when it was time to go later that afternoon.
He said, “That’s fine! I’ll go by myself then.”
“Fine,” I said.
“Fine,” he said getting the last word in as he slammed the door.
After David left, I caught up with some housework because I get a lot done when I’m highly irritated. After forty-five minutes of intense cleaning, though, I’d managed to sweep and vacuum the mad out of my system. Hoping I hadn’t missed too much of the game, I called David. Fifteen minutes later, I joined him, his son and his son’s wife. David then told me what had happened during the time he’d left and I’d arrived.
Initially David had been told, incorrectly, that the scrimmage was to start at 3:30 p.m. David hates to be late, so he’d left about 3:05 and arrived around 3:15. However, when he got to the field, no one was there yet. He parked across from the empty football field and called his son. That’s when he found out the start time had changed to 4:00 p.m. So with nothing else to do, he sat in his car and waited.
On one hand, because David had gotten there so early, he got the best parking space − under a nice shade tree in front of a row of neighborhood homes, right across the street from the football field that backs the middle school. Scrimmages typically take place right after school dismisses for the day, which is around 3:30.
On the other hand, one of the neighbors didn’t like the idea of a suspicious, lone man sporting a beard sitting in his big, black car just waiting to do … God only knows what! The neighbor decided David must be a pervert … or worse … and unbeknownst to David, summoned the police.
I’m glad there’s a neighbor looking out for the kids. However, it doesn’t pay to be a lone man sitting in a car parked across from a park, a school − anywhere there might be kids. This always raises eyebrows and the question: “Is he or is he not a predator?” If you’re not, it never feels good when someone thinks you might be.
By the time the police officer came on the scene, David was just getting out of his car because other parents had started to show up at the field. Thankfully, the officer had already run David’s plates and realized that he appeared to be a law-abiding citizen with no outstanding warrants and, I presume, no prior history of being a perv.
The officer approached and explained that a neighbor had turned him in. David said he was only there to see his grandson play his first scrimmage football game. The officer told him to just talk to him for a few minutes so that whatever neighbor was looking out the window would know that he (the officer) was doing his job. So David and the officer talked about … Tim Tebow, of all things! (I don’t know why they were discussing Tebow, I’m just reporting the story as David told it to me.) Anyway, the officer let David go.
Of course, this all took place in front of parents arriving for the scrimmage. Everyone was curious why a cop was talking to David. No one knew whether he was a creep or a school zone speeder or a cellphone abuser. Not that anyone actually asked him. Even so, if this encounter wasn’t exactly embarrassing for David (and trust me, it was), it certainly put him on everyone’s radar. David’s the kind of guy who doesn’t like unsolicited attention.
I told him he was lucky that the officer just talked to him and that he didn’t end up at the police station for matching the description of someone the police had been looking for. So while David encountered some afternoon drama, it all turned out okay.
What David didn’t understand (until I set him straight) was why he’d ended up in that situation. Clearly, he’d messed with the wrong woman this morning. Had he been nicer to me earlier in the day, we wouldn’t have had an argument, I would have accompanied him to the game and none of this would have ever happened.
And isn’t that interesting?!
Some might even say (my mother) that what happened to David was Divine Justice. Not that I’m judging − just bearing witness to events as they unfold. To quote my mother who I’m pretty sure is quoting the Bible, “The Lord works in mysterious ways.”
So, thank you, God and Jesus, for everything, including having my back! Last but not least − thank you, too, nosy neighbor!
I believe David’s learned something from all of this.