"The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?"
I've been deceived by my heart many times to the point that I don't believe in it at all. And it just makes me realize that if I can't trust my own heart how can I ever trust or understand or depend upon anybody else's heart. I can't! The Bible says it best: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man..." Jeremiah 17:5
Cursed means the cause of evil, misfortune, or trouble. And the Bible means what it says by giving examples of how much trouble one might find himself into when trusting in man and turning their back to God:
"He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives. " (Jeremiah 17:6)
Men are not trustful, they will all wrong you at some point because we are all sinners. Only God can love us in a perfect way, and only through God can we love others in an altruist way. This makes me remember a story I read in my ESL class about the uncertainties of love.
GOING HOME by Pete Hamill --------------
I first heard this story a few years ago from a girl I had met in New York's Greenwich Village. The girl told me that she had been one of the participants. Since then, others to whom I have related the tale have said that thay had read a version of it in some forgotten book, or been told it by an acquaintance who said that it actually happened to a friend. Probably the story is one of those mysterious bits of folklore that emerge from the national subconscious every few years, to be told anew in one form or another. The cast of character shifts, the message endures. I like to think that it did happen, somewhere, sometime.
THEY WERE going to Fort Lauderdale-three boys and three girls-and when they boarded the bus, they were carrying sandwiches and wine in paper bags, dreaming of golden beaches and sea tides as the gray cold of New York vanished behind them.
As the bus passed through New Jersey, they began to notice Vingo. He sat in front of them, dressed in a plain, ill-fitting suit, never moving, his dusty face masking his age. He chewed the inside of his lip a lot, frozen into some personal cocoon of silence.
Deep into the night, outside Washington, the bus pulled into a Howard Johnson's, and everybody got off except Vingo. He sat rooted in his seat, and the young people began to wonder about him, trying to imagine his life;perhaps he was a sea captain, a runaway from his wife, an old soldier going home. When they went back to the bus, one of the girls sat beside him and introduced herself.
"We're going to Florida," she said brightly. "I hear it's beautiful."
"It is," he said quietly, as if remembering something he had tried to forget.
"Want some wine?" she said. He smiled and took a swig. He thanked her and retreated again into his silence. After a while, she went back to the others, and Vingo nodded in sleep.
In the morning they awoke outside another Howard Johnson's, and this time Vingo went in. The girl insisted that he join them. He seemed very shy, and ordered black coffee and smoked nervously as the young people chattered about sleeping on beaches. When they returned to the bus, the girl sat with Vingo again, and after a while, slowly and painfully, he told his story. He had been in jail in New York for the past four years, and now he was going home.
"Are you married?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know?" she said.
"Well, when I was in the can I wrote to my wife," he said. "I told her that I was going to be away a long time, and that if she couldn't stand it, if the kids kept askin' questions, if it hurt too much, well, she could just forget me. I'd understand. Get a new guy, I said-she's a wonderful woman, really something- and forget about me. I told her she didn't have to write me or nothing. And she didn't. Not for three and a half years."
"And you're going home now, not knowing?"
"Yeah," he said shyly. "Well, last week, when I was sure the parole was coming through, I wrote her again. We used to live in Brunswick, just before Jacksonville, and there's a big oak tree just as you come into town. I told her that if she'd take me back, she should put a yellow handkerchief on the tree, and I'd get off and come home. If she didn't want me, forget it- no handkerchief, and I'd go through."
"Wow," the girl said. "Wow."
She told the other, and soon all of them were in it, caught up in the approach of Brunswick, looking at the pictures Vingo showed them of his wife and three children-the woman handsome in a plain way, the children still unformed in the cracked, much- handled snapshots.
Now they were 20 miles from Brunswick, and the young people took over window seats on the right side, waiting for the approach of the great oak tree. The bus acquired a dark, hushed mood, full of the silence of absence and lost years. Vingo stopped looking, tightening his face into the ex-con's mask, as if fortifying himself against still another disappointment.
Then Brunswick was ten miles, and then five. Then, suddenly, all of the young people were up out of their seats, screaming and shouting and crying, doing small dances of exultation. All except Vingo.Vingo sat there stunned, looking at the oak tree. It was covered with yellow handkerchiefs-20 of them, 30 of them, maybe hundreds, a tree that stood like a banner of welcome billowing in the wind. As the young people shouted, the old con rose from his seat and made his way to the front of the bus to go home.
This story always makes me want to cry imagining how Vingo felt loved and filled with hope and joy when he saw all of those yellow handkerchiefs. If a wife can love a husband in this forgiving and unselfish way, God loves us even more. We can trust that God will always have an Oak tree filled with yellow ribbons if that's what would tell us that we are LOVED and WANTED!
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7,8)
Blessed means divinely or supremely favored; fortunate. When I put my confidence in God and not in man things will go divinely well. :) Nothing can harm me if my trust is in God only. I lay down my life at His feet, trusting that He always has only the best for me and all things work for the good of those who love Him.
"I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve." (Jeremiah 17:10)
May God find in us good deeds and reward us greatly!
God bless your week!