“Phil Coulter? I haven’t thought about that name in years. I used to love waking up to his cheesy, elevator music on long car rides. It meant Charlie and I had fallen asleep, and you were alone at the wheel.”
“But do you remember how I asked you to imagine God in those songs?” She was always asking us to imagine God, to talk to God, to listen for God. One time we drove around town looking for my brother’s stolen bike, stopping at every intersection to ask God, “Straight, Right, or Left?” No moment was too small to beg God’s voice.
She goes on, “It was amazing what you and Charlie saw. You were, like, elementary school age, and here you’d be listening to Phil’s music and say, ‘Oh, I see God in a boat’ or ‘Now God’s pushing me in a swing.'” Now her hands are in front of her chest, palms facing outward like she’s pushing holy air, “It was so totally awesome.”
God’s so totally awesome, according to my mom – better known to me and all who meet her as Perky Patty. Here is a woman God has been wooing her whole life. She began shopping for churches on her own in the sixth grade. She heard God’s command to find her drowning son while an unbeliever in her thirties. She converted to Catholicism, home schooled us in catechism classes, and later became a charismatic. Now that she’s retiring age, she thinks God might want her to be an overseas missionary, but she has a vision of a house with a wrap-around porch in small town America that she just can’t shake. While she was visiting, I sat down (side by side – apologies for the echo) with my original model of a faithful rebel to talk “God stories,” gut feelings, and how perhaps the greatest miracle of all is that God wants to communicate with each and every one of us.
Take twenty minutes to listen to Perky Patty and consider the ways God is speaking to you, Whitney Houston songs included.
Oh, and in case you were wondering? We found my brother’s bike. Fifteen minutes from home. Spray-painted black. Sitting outside a store front.
God’s voice falls clear on expectant ears.