An angel named Tony

Last night, I met an angel. Aaron and I both. At least we think we did. He pushed past us on the way to the microphone, and whispered to me, "This one's for you." Immediately, upon his touch, the goosebumps and hair standing on end told me to listen up. I looked over at Aaron, and he was pointing to the lyrics on the screen. He knew this was something big right away, and so did I.

I live in fear that, as I struggle through the muddy bog of past memories and trauma, someday the feed spout will quit spouting. Yet every time I open the feed spout - the yellow leather of my Bible, the Living Word - He has words for me. Today it was:
"Come let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us, on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn, he will come to us as the shower, as the spring rains that water the earth. What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away. Therefore I have hewn you by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:1-6)
These verses speak deep, to my sacrificial but fleeting thoughts of the God who jealously desires my every waking moment. To the discipline He has meted out to me in the face of my failures and deep, caustic sins in my high school and college years. To the time between when he tears us to the time he raises us up. It is not immediate, the rise again. He allows us to sit in our pain for until that third day. I am sitting in that pain now, and waiting for His revival.

I desire peace more than anything else. From the moment I wake up to the moment sleep finally relieves me of my memories, I look for peace like treasure, in the moments in my swing on the porch, in the quiet, resting house when the children are sleeping, in the coolness of twilight and browsing around behind the lens of a camera. I play peace in my melancholy improvisations on the piano and I write peace in my journal. But I am still torn.

And so He sent an angel to sing to us last night. A man named Tony, a huge man, with a voice like gold and gravel all mixed up together. And this is what we heard.

Up and down that lonely road of faith 
I have been there 
Unprepared for the storms and the tides that rise 
I've realized one thing, how much I love you 
And it hurts to see, see you cryin' 

I believe we can make it through the winds of change 
God is great indeed If you believe, in the everlife 
Yeah we gotta 
Make some sense of the peace that's not defined 
And if you just hold on, I won't let ya fall 
We can make it through the storms and the winds of change 
Though I walk through the valley of darkness 
I am not afraid 
Cause I know I'm not alone 

And if the wind blows east, would you follow me 
And if the wind blows north, would ya stay your course 
And if the wind blows west, would ya second guess 
And if it blows to the south, would you count me out 
And if the sun don't shine, would you still be mine
And if the sky turns grey, would you walk away
Would you say I do, if I say I'll be 
And walk this road through life with me 
You know I love you  
On this lonely road of faith 
On this lonely road of faith

I never thought I'd hear the truth - be bound to my husband through this trial, even tighter - from a barfly named Tony in the lyrics of Kid Rock. But I'm still riding high today, because I know that feeling, when the angel touches you, and I had it again last night. God hasn't left me. He is waiting to raise me up and give me the peace I so desire..."make some sense of the peace that's not defined".

I met him again - Tony - the man Tony, at the same karaoke night the next week. He couldn't remember the song, and said he didn't know it. When he sang, tears came to my eyes, but not because of the gold and gravel. It was gone, and all that was left was a flat-pitched sweaty man singing about everything but Jesus Christ.

I thanked him anyway, for singing in an angel's voice to me the week before. He looked at me like I had sprouted horns and went back to his shots of vodka and pitchers of beer.