“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
There’s the easy way… and then there’s the best, right way.
My wife has always known the difference between the two. And ninety-nine times out of a hundred, she has chosen the right path over the least-difficult road to take. She is still making the best, right choices. Even now.
Joey loves her some George Strait. She always has. He’s her go-to guy whenever she puts on a cd and is cleaning the house or driving her car. And when romance is in the air, it’s not Michael Buble’ or some crooner that she wants me to put on… she wants king George. And I am more than happy to oblige. A love-affair with a singing cowboy who lives a million miles away in her dreams seems safe enough for me. Heck, I think there are really only two or three men out there that I would’ve had to worry about being jealous of…. George, Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. The last two are because of the movie Lonesome Dove. My wife and I have watched ‘Gus’ and ‘Woodrow’ make the long cattle-drive to Montana a half-dozen times or more over the years. And she gets that look in her eyes when she watches that movie. She’s enamored by those men. By that lifestyle. Joey loves real cowboys.
I don’t know why she loves me. She could’ve had any cowboy she wanted…. could’ve had the western life she dreamed of as a little girl riding her first horse Velvet. But she didn’t choose some handsome Marlboro man with a Sam Elliot mustache and a thousand-acre ranch… instead, she chose our little farm and she chose me. And I’m a long way from a cowboy. We do have horses now…well, the two that I got for Joey for her birthday this last fall (though she and I only got to see them a couple of times before our lives took us back to the Cancer Center in Atlanta and then here to her hometown in Indiana). And unfortunately, she will never get to ride those or any horses again. They will instead be grazing in the pasture around the family cemetery in the back field behind our farmhouse, where my bride will soon rest.
Joey chose Rory. Come what may. Friends choose friends. Come what may. Jesus chose us. To stay.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about her love of cowboys and after all these years, I can’t say I have understood why Joey would choose me and not some rugged horseman from Texas or Montana or somewhere. But then again, maybe it’s not about looking like a cowboy, it’s about what’s inside. Maybe that’s what she saw in me that I didn’t. Maybe there’s more to it than the hat and horse that Joey admired about George and Gus and Woodrow… maybe it was what she believed was inside of those cowboys. What she believed was inside of me…
But for God, it wasn’t a guess-God knew-what was inside when He chose you. Cowboy or no. He knew. And He called you you and chose you and loved to the cross to make you his. Cowboy or no. He knew.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide,
so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.