God Called

~ I woke up early and ready to break free. The morning was cold, and so instead of going to the lake like usual, Juanita makes the baptistry in front of her church. Touched up religious figures, paper maché angels, crucifixes, cinder blocks, and a clunky-grey-plastic stock tank fill the scene. The long green garden hose slowly and patiently, fills the pool with water. clear water. She’s worried about the water being cold. She’s bringing pots of boiling water from the house to warm the waters. "In Jesus name." The love pouring. It’s a set that you might encounter in someone’s outdoor garden patio, before they watch hdtv to make sure they are doing it right, you know, according to the expert standards. They are not here. The odd symmetry of the crucifix’s melted form, from rain, pierces the distance between me and Juanita, and she invites me in. And there I am dunked headfirst as she prays over my submerged body. Surrounded by the poor, off-kilter angels, addicts, the children, the outcasts, the disorders. A strange disarray of grey beauty. And I’m welcome here as they circle around me congratulating me and hugging, continuing into the joyful clamor of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, sang by the women and the clapping all over. They can’t keep time without Juanita. Its all washing over me now. In the slow waves an image of Juanita with her arms outstretched. The ripples reflecting a moment of salvation. Revelation. There is no delight in being “above" others. The calling is to go “below.” She brought me down to earth. Jaded by the angst of American society, biting and scratching in a world ruled by fear. I’m at home now, with God, broke on the side of the highway. And my heart as I go overflows with love and heat. For this ministry and for her. ~