Suddenly my son, Caleb and his friend Ethan burst out with uncontrollable laughter. It was exponential, like Mentos in a 2-liter of Coca-Cola (before they white-shamed). It was the kind of laughter that prohibited breathing and I found myself joining into the fray like a ten year old that didn't understand the joke! It was like a wave of pure hilarity, Cracker Barrell seemed to stop still in it's tracks as all the diners turned to focus in on our table.
Between gasps of air, I raised my eyebrows and gasped, "What?" This is the tale that began it all, as told by my son as he relived that winter, December night that he and two friends winter camped across the mountains of Colorado and further West to the Pacific coast.
"We had a large can of beans and a small can of beans. We made a fire and we heated and shared them. At some point while we slept, Jeb thought he had to poop. He must have weighed the decision heavily as the temperature outside of the tent was a mere 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Convinced that he was about to fill his sleeping bag, he made his way into the woods. He dropped his pants and committed to the pose that is necessary to drop mud in the woods.
To his shock, there was nothing for gravity to claim. There was only the singular tone that emanated from his backside, shattering the silence of the wilderness, breaking the very ice loose from the pine needles above, scaring squirrels and bears and even eagles back into their burrows and nests... the product of those cans of beans... a massive and prolonged fart.
The retelling of this story shook our table. The laughter stopped the inhalation of eggs, sausage, French toast, pancakes, biscuits, and fried chicken. The evening had hit it's pinnacle... all the social constraints had fallen.
After the laughter abated to snickering, we found again our breath and resumed our meal. Without warning a gentleman approached our table and stood looking directly at the three of us with a scrutinizing stare. His wife walked on towards the eit.
"I want to know what was so funny a few minutes ago," he stated. I looked at Caleb and said, "You might was well tell the man, it was pretty funny." And so Caleb relayed the story of the beans and the midnight fart that shattered the countryside. The man laughed and said, "Beans, yep, that'll do it."
He then engaged us in conversation. We learned that we were all from the same hometown. He was the contracted who had built a local church and Christian school that overlooked the city in which we used to live. He'd attended the same church camp in Oregonia, Ohio.
He asked us if we were Christians, and we replied, "Yes, we are." He then snatched up the check out of my hand and said, "I hope you'll allow me the pleasure of paying your bill." He said something I can't quite recall about how he was encouraged that we were followers of Christ."
I was dumbfounded. I muttered, "Yes, of course. Thank you so very much, you have no idea what a blessing that is to me."
He walked away and I didn't even get his name.
I turned back to the table to see Caleb and Ethan looking at me. I took a breath and made a determination.
"Ok guys, I need to confess something to you." They both looked at me as though I was about to confess that I was a serial killer. I had to chuckle. "Here's the deal guys... this week I mismanaged my money. I overspent my account I don't have the money to pay for his meal. I was going to cancel, but I didn't want to go back on my word and not come.
Last evening I found myself on my knees at the bedside, as has been my custom since childhood. I poured out my heart to God and heard myself say with exasperation, "God, you know I'm a moron and I don't have any money. If there is ANY way that you could pay for tomorrow's dinner, I'd sure appreciate it, Amen."
"Guys, God reminds me every now and then that He still sees me. He still knows me. He still has a plan for me. I suppose it probably has never really changed. He just keeps revealing it to me."
It's kind of funny how God works. You may choose to see Him in the story or not. I have no idea your concept of God. All I have to offer you is my own perception.
He is the God who used a fart to cause a laugh that sparked an interest that paid for a dinner. He is the God who reassures my heart that He still loves me.
I am sure that His hand is still upon me, I am thankful to feel His presence, when God breaks wind.