March 11, 2009

The Pie

2009 1507 page31 capGAIN AND AGAIN IT HAPPENED—THE INTERCOM CRACKLED, I JUMPED, AND my roommate grinned. The intercom crackled, I jumped, and my roommate grinned. I felt like throwing my book at him!
Oh, it wasn’t his fault. I knew I was acting like a lovesick idiot. There was no way she was going to come now.
An hour later my book was still open to the same page.
It just isn’t fair! I thought. Barbara and I are engaged and should be together more. But she was working at a hospital in Maine, and I was waaay down in Massachusetts! During the week I kept busy enough with my college classes and work, but the weekends without her were difficult to bear. The feelings of loneliness seemed to wait like some hideous monster and then spring on me about suppertime on Friday evenings. Slowly, methodically, they began torturing the life out of me, one long second at a time.
That day was no exception. I had already tried going for a walk, writing a poem, and reading a book. In fact, I had been reading the same paragraph for almost an hour!
2009 1507 page31I threw the book onto my desk and lay with my hands behind my head staring at the springs of my roommate’s bunk bed.
Then the intercom crackled again, and by the time the desk monitor finished saying “Homer,” I was off the bed. As I flung open the door and rushed into the hall, I heard him complete his sentence: “Homer Trecartin has guests in the lobby.” While he was repeating it a second time, I was setting a new acceleration record. Three stairs at a time and one giant leap landed me at the entrance to the lobby.
When Barbara didn’t leap into my arms with that familiar little squeal, I focused my eyes, unpuckered my lips, and pulled my arms back down to my sides. Instead of Barbara, in front of me stood my friends Jan and Phil MacIntyre, grinning from ear to ear. I tried to be nice. I even looked at them once or twice as my eyes swept the lobby looking for Barbara. But they were all alone.
After the second or third sentence I gave up trying to make conversation. They had brought a pie from Barbara, which I accepted. I thanked them for stopping and then turned dejectedly toward the stairs.
Suddenly, someone grabbed me from behind. Fumbling to keep the pie from falling to the floor, I whirled around . . . and into Barbara’s arms. Jan and Phil doubled up with laughter—along with everyone else in the lobby. Their little trick had worked far better than they had expected. Barbara had been hiding behind the drapes in the lobby!
That was a great surprise, followed by a fantastic weekend. But one thing has continued to puzzle me all these years—I can’t remember what happened to that pie! Probably my roommate and his friends wolfed it down while I was out of the room, and to be truthful, I know I didn’t care. When you’re in love, it isn’t gifts you want from your special person, it’s time. Time with the one who makes your heart pound wildly.
Sometimes I wonder, Am I really in love with Jesus? Do I long to spend time with Him? Or am I content with His “gifts” of sunshine, food, money, good health, and the promised mansions of heaven? Do I give Him the gifts He desires most—my heart, my longing desire to spend time with Him? Or do I expect Him to be satisfied with my offering a short prayer, reading a page out of a daily devotional book, and paying my tithe?
When you’re in love, it isn’t the gifts you long for, it’s time with the one you love. 
Homer Trecartin in as associate secretary of the General Conference, heading up Adventist Volunteers, and Planning Director for GC Adventist Mission.