Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Harley Rendezvous

When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed
that with the sun's love
in the spring
becomes the rose
( from"The Rose")

She hunched apologetically in the very last row of chairs, way in the back of the church. She was dressed in layers of faded black, and the smell of cigarettes hung over her like a noxious cloud. Around her neck hung a curious medallion--something not quite the Star of David. I knew better than to ask about it. Her long dark hair hung down her back and was wrapped tightly in black tape, biker-style. She showed me the book that was in her lap: Alfred's Adult Piano Course. In it was a tattered photocopy of The Rose.
"I love that piece," she fiercely rasped. "I can totally play it, too. They let me practice here. Whenever I want."
I asked her what her name was. "Harley?" I ventured, making sure I had heard correctly.
"Yeah. It's not my real name. That's 'Judy'."
She made a disgusted face and shook her head violently. After a few more words with her, I excused myself to prepare for leading worship. I had met a character, for sure, and I wondered what her story was.
Fast-forward five hours or so. Rich teaching, testimonies, fellowship, and delicious luncheon, music, laughter, prayer and a few tears later, she and I are donning our coats for an hour-long road trip home and both of us are fishing for her car keys. Here comes Harley, creeping hesitantly across the front of the sanctuary looking rather timorous and trembly despite her tough exterior.
"Hey Harley." I say, just to let her know we see her.
"Um. Now you can maybe pray for me." Her eyes darted across the room to a group of women too involved in chatter to notice. She lowered her voice conspiratorially. "Just kinda quiet-like so nobody hears, okay?"
So we prayed for Harley kinda quiet-like, but as sincere as a summer sky. As we parted, I felt sure that God had touched her deep down. As Friend #8 and I stepped outside into the snow-rutted streets, I wondered aloud why Harley sat alone in the back row and why the other women were friendly toward her yet didn't invite her company.
"Harley insists she is a witch," explained Friend #8 with a maybe so/maybe not shrug of her shoulder. "But the church lets her play their piano. And she keeps coming to they let her come."
We may have prayed for a witch today. I'd rather think we touched a broken, scared, hurting soul that is aching to know she is loved; that her life means so much more than all the junk that has been thrown at it. And while the other women that attended our meeting may have walked away encouraged in a myriad of important ways, I pray that Harley can just hang on 'til spring, for the Son's love to work its eternal effect on her.


Blogger Harmony said...

Thank you for seeing and reflecting His heart.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous mills said...

so, when were you planning on sending the music? because if you want me to sound at least a little bit good, then you should send it soon. : )

3:28 PM  

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