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CaringBridge Journal

Gary DeVaul Writings

When Wrong Seems Oft' So Strong God is the Ruler Yet
A Letter from Ogunquit
The Hands of Angels
Choosing Life
The Questions
Ginger Ale
The Changeling
Inside Out
Love in the Gap - Part I
Love in the Gap - Part II
Forgetting Stuff
Our Own Table
Teapots or Cracked Pots


"Our Own Table"

When we were kids, a big treat was to go out with friends of our parents, who had children our own age, in the hope that we would be allowed to have our own table in the restaurant, preferably as far from our parents' table as possible.

Interestingly enough, never once did we ever get into trouble with either our parents or the restaurant on these occasions. We were so proud to have our own table; my sister and I watched our P's and Q's and everyone else's at the table. Once, however, we did have a bit of trouble. One of our little friends ordered chocolate ice cream for dessert. Now this was OK, having been already checked out with mom and dad. But when the waiter came with the desserts - his was strawberry! The waiter was out of chocolate and didn't want to disappoint and come out empty handed, so he brought out strawberry. Oh my, you should have heard the fuss. I was happy that dessert was cold and capable of melting. But this kid was as spoiled as an old bag of rags molding in the corner. He cried and carried on. I told him to be quiet and he cried louder yet, "You aren't the boss of me!" . And he went on until his parents had to take him away, and we almost lost our table.

Life is like that. About the time we think we have it made and that we have all the contingencies covered and all the possibilities out flanked, that's when we get it. We may buy the right insurance, get the safest car according to all the motor magazines, and have our yearly check up. But, oh boy, it's only a phone call away and right out of nowhere, we get it! It could be cancer, an accident, a new boss that we could never get along with, or a buy-out we never had conceived of and have no control over. Life just throws us out there on the edge and says, "OK, you wanted your own table, you got it. Now you deal with it." Not that God and the powers of the Universe won't be there to help; because of all times - this is when they seem most available. Well, they are there anyway, just like the waiter was there all along. And if anything, these shockerrooo's bring us closer to the One whom usually is taken for granted but is waiting our table all along.

Now we pay attention to the waiter. His words are no longer incidental to something our parents just said or did. Now it's us! Now it's our life on the line and we had better pay attention to the special menu, cuz you may not like the regular list of offerings.

It may be time to listen to your body. It may be time to listen to your wife, or husband. Life may be about to change in ways you never thought would include you, but it has and will, and you're going to need help.

You may be driving home from work one afternoon and spot your wife in the parking lot of the tennis courts, in a place not too far from your house, in the arms of another man, leaning up against the car you just surprised her with for her birthday. Or after being overly careful all your life you may find it next to impossible to become pregnant and, of course, you both take it all personally. Or after smoking all your life you come down with a strange type of blood cancer that has nothing to do with your former addiction. Oh brother, all I asked for was chocolate ice cream!

So now life confronts us and this time with problems. Being as spoiled as a bag of rags won't get it! And so you ask...

  • Why has this happened to me?

Why has she left me with four kids? Why didn't I see this coming? How do you take care of four kids without a mother, when you don't know the difference between Oxyclean and oxymoron? Who's going to cook and clean and bandage? Or, could the answer to your dilemma be flushed out in your question?

And when the antagonistic boss decides not to take the other job, or the doctor calls to say he made a mistake, or your eyes betrayed you and it was someone else in the parking lot, do you hear the warning? Or do you just sigh, take a breath, and walk away as if you had not been warned?

Why is this is happening to me? Is it just an inch away from asking why didn't it happen to someone else? Could it be part of the rich fabric that goes to make up our tablecloth? Could it be random? Or is the Universe and its Author trying to say something to us? Is it time to listen up? Is it time to hold still? Is it God's Universe developing according to its own internal unfolding plan? Is it time to pay attention to someone, or something, besides our own wants and needs? Why is this happening to me, is a fair question. Why is this happening to me, is your right to ask. And believe me there is always an answer. We may not like it or want to face it, but there is always an answer just as surely as there is always a reason. "Why" is the word that our institutions are built on. "Why" is the reason for schools and colleges, hospitals, and a thousand different businesses. There is nothing wrong with asking why as long as you'll hold still for the answer. Jesus' table was almost too much for him. He went for a walk after dinner and asked the "why" of God at Gethsemane. He got his answer on the cross when the thief stole Paradise!

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