“Be good now, d’ya hear?” Papa always said goodbye like that: on the phone, at the airport, even when our car pulled out of his driveway that time we hazarded the 1200-mile drive to Savannah. He wanted me – wanted all his grandchildren – to “be good.” He’d wanted Mom and her siblings to be good, too. That was his way of taking care of everyone.
And I was good. I was good at school. I was good at music. I was good at college. I remember calling Papa every couple of weeks when I lived in New York, hearing how proud he sounded on the phone. He was even proud that I remembered his admonition to “be good and don’t go dating any of those Yankee boys.” Honestly, none of those Yankee boys asked me out, but somehow I never got around to telling him that part.
I’m glad Papa didn’t live to see the day being good didn’t work for me. I’m glad he doesn’t know that I waited for my crossing signal, looked both ways twice like a good girl. And almost died. I’m glad he doesn’t know that I’ve been good at therapy and good at following doctors’ order for almost two years…and I still have to spend most of my days resting at home. No, Papa. Being a good girl doesn’t always work out. I wish I knew why.
Now what? I’m only twenty-five. I don’t have the wisdom of a man who lived eighty-nine years – including through a stint as a ski trooper in WWII. I absolutely don’t have the wisdom of a book that’s still relevant 2,000 years after it was written. One life is not enough to suggest being good is the wrong answer.
Now what? I’m not alone. It would be comfortable to call myself a unicorn and believe everyone else who is good leads a happy life. But many good people lead far worse lives than mine. Still, even thousands of lives are not enough to prove being good is the wrong answer.
I’ve told you what I am, what I’m not, and what I don’t have. But I left something out. I left out God. That 2,000 year old book I mentioned has been read by millions of people, and what does it say? God is good, and God has answers when things aren’t good. God provides a way out of our mistakes (Jesus), when we aren’t good. It’s easy to imagine all those millions of people throwing their book against a wall when they read that God was “good” but didn’t always fix their broken lives. But there are a lot of copies that never got thrown. Mine didn’t. If you read long enough, you’ll hear Him say that because He is good, His plan is good, and His good answers will more than satisfy our “why’s” when He finally reveals them. Faith is waiting for something you don’t see yet. Anyone in my family can tell you I hate waiting for things – especially for anything involving Christmas or birthday presents. 😉
An answer to our “why-ings” would be a giant present for me, for you, and absolutely for the millions of sufferers who have gone before us. As usual, I hate waiting on my answer. As usual, our good God will give us the faith to keep waiting when we ask Him for it.
And as for Papa, I’m glad he’s not waiting on his answer any more ❤