A friend I hadn’t seen in a long time asked if we could meet to catch up. I agreed and understood that she would be coming to my house. Later, the plan morphed, at her suggestion, into meeting halfway, and when she named the exit, I knew it to be almost an hour from Glenside, which was fine.
A few wires got crossed, and I waited at the designated turnpike exit for about an hour, finally reaching her through a circuitous route, whereupon I learned that she had emailed me the night before to say she couldn’t make it after all because her son was sick. Though I had tried to check my email just before leaving the house, my computer crashed on me, so I just took off and hoped for the best, having neglected to get her cell number.
My friend found someone to watch her child and said she would be at the toll booths in 20 minutes. (So then, I thought, her drive to her chosen rendezvous is substantially shorter than mine.) Sure enough, in a little over a quarter of an hour, she pulled up smiling and said, “Follow me.”
She led me to a restaurant, but as she had already eaten I suggested the local McDonald’s instead for coffee, and she was game. (At Mickey D’s I ordered a latte and she chose tea and I paid, pulling out my wallet as she talked earnestly about where her daughter is living these days. I did the mental calculation: $7 for drinks and $11.50 for tolls.)
We sipped and compared notes about kids and church, and, of course I related the computer snafu that had resulted in my keeping the date, in ignorance of the illness of her son. The time came to part, but before leaving, my friend said she had a laptop I could have, since my computer was broken. She would be driving close to Glenside the next day and could hand off the machine at the exit in my area.
“We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. In return (I speak as to children) widen your hearts also.”
I share this with you, a small anecdote from my life, to demonstrate the difference between a constricted heart and a wide-open heart. The constricted or narrow heart is always keeping score, always concerned for radical equality, always ready to be mistrustful. The wide-open heart is so full of good will and expectation of the best of the other that it has no room for pettiness. It “believes all things, hopes all things.”
Little trips to the woodshed are sometimes the order of the day for what ails you. A meeting ostensibly for the purpose of catching up with an old friend was really, for this woman, an appointment with the Lord for the purpose of gently inserting a crowbar into the rusted aperture of a heart that needed widening.