Finally, tonight was the night. June 1, 2012. After six months of waiting, and four tries at getting a sitter, it was date night with my husband to see a concert. But not just “a” concert.
My husband had gotten us tickets to see Neil Diamond in concert. NEIL DIAMOND, ladies . . . You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore. Love on the Rocks. America. Sweet Caroline. And my all-time favorite, Forever in Blue Jeans.
So this was gonna be really great, awesome, the best night ever. Because I’d really missed spending time with my husband. Adult conversation date time. He’d been traveling most of the year, only home odd weeks here and there. But home wasn’t exactly peaceful with peri-menopausal me and three active boys between 9 and 13 years old. Talk about hormones…
And recently, he thought we’d been spending too many Sundays in church. Doing churchy stuff. Talking about churchy things. With all our churchy friends. I knew he just wanted to escape the pressures he was under, but skipping church wasn’t okay with me. Tonight, however, this was one discussion I just wanted to let rest.
My prayers for months had been that God would make my husband want to come to church more. Over time, however, my prayers changed to asking God to keep my mouth shut about it, since that first prayer wasn’t working. Besides, we weren’t even going to church the next day anyway, because we had a Cub Scout end-of-the-year Picnic and Awards Day planned.
The sitter showed up right in time. We kissed the boys goodnight. And we were our way, even arriving early at the arena. But our ticket barcodes refused to scan. So we were sent to wait in a line of equally unhappy people at the Box Office. There, we discovered that our carefully-selected aisle seats had been moved to another section because of arena construction. Too bad, we were told apologetically, unless we wanted to go over to Guest Services and try our luck.
We fared no better there in changing our seats, and by now my husband was irritated. What was happening to my really great, awesome, best night ever?
We made our way to the seats, and we discovered that they were indeed on the aisle. And two sections closer to the stage. I looked at my husband and blurted out, “You know, I think God did this for us.” He just politely smiled one of those impatient clenched-teeth smiles, and the show began.
Well, Neil Diamond totally rocked. At 71 years old with a career that began before I was born, he sang better than ever. He even looked directly at me during my favorite song. Really! The night ended with a rousing rendition of “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show,” a stand-up celebration of gospel music with an evangelical sermon right in the middle of the song.
Right in the middle. Of the song.
Please, God, I prayed, please please please help me keep my mouth shut right now with no preachy comments. I wanted to say something so badly, I could almost feel my mouth open! It would have been so easy for me to ruin the close mood we shared as we left the arena. And so typical of me. Then, in the car, on the way home, my husband turned to me and said with a dimpled grin, “Well, I’m glad I got my church in tonight because we will miss it tomorrow.”
Oh, my God. Thank you, I silently prayed, thank you, Lord, for speaking to my husband.
And my really great, awesome, best night ever was exactly that.
I am learning that God has Holy Plans so much better than the best ones I can create. As I learn to pray in His Will and submit myself with love to Him, Philippians 4:13 reminds me that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Diane L. Osterfeld, RN, BSN
Life getting tough? try Matthew 11:28-30