13 Apr He Sets the Lonely in Families..
It’s 5.45am, early morning, on the first day of the new year.
I’m sitting on the cold steps of an apartment building, somewhere off Ngong Road, cold and hungry, wishing I could go home.
I can hear the sounds of late-night revelry ebbing, as the party I was at, in the apartment behind me, slowly limps to an end.
My “date” for the evening is inside, behaving badly, and I don’t like him anymore.
But my parents have pronounced their views on these kinds of “hangs” several times, and I can’t imagine going home at this hour.
Besides, I’m loathe to wake them up this early in the morning.
Argh, it”s miserable out here, on this first dawn of 1996.
And Spike – let’s call him that – couldn’t be bothered.
So I decide to sit it out, on those cold, damp steps.
I’ll be twenty-six in two weeks, but can’t seem to recognize my life anymore.
I like it even less than I like that guy, Spike.
Miserable, I look up at the heavens, still dark, and cry out to a God I barely know.
Dear God, if you can hear, please please get me out of this mess. Please. Because I just can’t get out of it by myself.
A simple, desperate prayer.
But I have no idea that this is probably the most powerful prayer I will ever make in my life. It will shape my destiny, and that of others, in ways I cannot presently imagine.
Fast forward, almost exactly twelve months later.
It’s early the next year and my life has changed dramatically.
I have a new job, my first in management – woohoo! – and a smart little apartment, which I now call home.
I’m good friends with my parents, and visit them every Thursday for a quiet dinner and a sleepover.
Spike, thankfully, is a thing of the past.
Aah, life is good.
But I have forgotten that earnest prayer I made, just a few months ago.
Then one morning, a Sunday, I hear a knock at my door.
It’s a lady, short and plump, with a little girl, her daughter, in tow.
The lady introduces herself as my cousin, whom I have not seen since I was about eleven. It’s been sixteen years, but surprisingly, the moment she says her name, I recognize her.
She’s on a divine assignment, though none of us recognizes it at the time.
I welcome my cousin and make the obligatory cuppa tea. She returns the courtesy with a few sips, and then dives straight into her agenda.
Do you remember a guy called Edward, son of so-and-so?
Of course. He was Bestman at my sister’s wedding, three years ago. But I didn’t quite notice him at the time, on account of the erstwhile Spike.
I don’t tell her all this, but I acknowledge that I know him.
Wham! She whips out Edward’s business card and instructs me to call him first thing Monday.
“For what?” I ask.
“Just call him.”
So I do. But unfortunately he’s not at his office, and mobiles are unheard of, so I move on and forget about it.
The next Sunday – “knock, knock.”
It’s her again, her little girl in tow.
I bring out the tea and biscuits, and again, after a few sips:
“Did you call him?”
“Yes, but he was not at his office.”
“Call him again.”
It’s almost a command.
And this time, for some reason, I take it seriously. I call once, twice, thrice, until I finally get him.
Edward struggles to remember my name, but when he finally does, he invites me to dinner instantly. For that very evening.
I really want to go, but who says yes so fast?
Besides, I have this terrible wig which my closest friend has been making noise about. Insists I musn’t wear it anywhere important. Or anywhere at all, matter of fact.
So I need time to make my hair, so I can take the wig off and wear my own hair to our first date.
So I say; no, not today.
But I remember Edward as a nice guy, and – ahem – quite good looking, and I’d like to get to know him better.
So I commit to seeing him the following day, a Wednesday.
But the next day, I’m unable to do my hair in time for the date, so I make do with the wig and make a deal with myself.
If he asks me out again after this date, despite this mop on my head, I will accept the date, and make an effort to look nice from then on.
Well, Brethren, numerous dates, a fine wedding, twenty years and four kids later, I’m so glad he asked me out on another date!
And, oh yes, let me mention that after her two visits, the next time I saw my cousin was at our wedding, about eighteen months later. She had received three invitations; one from me, one from my husband-to-be and one from my parents.
Dear God, if I have never said Thank you – I thank you, thank you, thank you now..
God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing.. Psalm 68:6