Lost and found in Santa Fe

The trip started well. Cyndi and I both made it through airport security, again; a pleasant reminder that we are STILL not terrorists.

We were in Santa Fe, and following our usual pattern, I was entertaining myself while Cyndi attended a workshop. For me, driving around Santa Fe means being lost most of the time, and my first adventure happened when the quaint coffee shop I discovered from AroundMe wasn’t anywhere around where I could find it. Those phone aps aren’t yet good enough to vector you all the way to the front door of a hidden coffee shop. I later read this review: “Great coffee, but hard to find the place.” I can testify to the second part of that.

After Cyndi’s class, and after we investigated some uber-cool stone fountains at Santa Fe Stone, which Cyndi wanted to bring home in her carryon luggage, we wound our way to Canyon Road for lunch. Since it was so difficult to find a parking place along the narrow road, Cyndi thought we should maximize our efforts by combining a bit of shopping with lunch. Fortunately, there was a hip clothing store across the street from our restaurant.

It was great. The clothes were beautiful, and they had a comfy husband couch where I could sit and watch. Cyndi bought a clingy bluish dress. Then she tried on a black dress that was, well, stunning on her. Seeing her in that dress, imagining being with her while she was wearing it, left me breathless. (I was actually prepared for something like this to happen. There is another story about trying on clothes in Santa Fe from 1996, but Cyndi hasn’t given me permission to release it into the wild.)

She danced around the room from mirror to mirror, oblivious to her effect on everyone in the store, trying to decide whether to spend the money on the dress. Later, the two women working there said my eyes never left her. “You should buy that dress just for look in his eyes,” they said.

Cyndi, feeling frugal, said she’d think about it and we left for lunch. Later in the day, she decided maybe it was OK to spend the money and get the dress. I wrote down the address and put it in my pocket.

The next morning I wound my way down Canyon Road again, re-found the store, and bought the dress. I told the woman, “I can’t wait for a fancy date,” and she said, “I know, I can tell.”

So all of that was on my mind at noon when I finally found a hamburger place that served green chile on their burgers. The hamburger was excellent, and I felt the tingle of the chile on my lips for at least an hour.

While eating I read from my Daily Bible, and the day’s selection was from the Old Testament book of Hosea.

I’ll be honest. I can hardly read Hosea because the story is too painful for me to contemplate. God asked Hosea the prophet to marry “an adulterous wife” because God wanted to illustrate his own pain when his followers decided to chase after other gods. Hosea’s wife, Gomer, cheated on him, left him, and he took her back. Hosea went through all that heartbreak in order to tell God’s story. But when I read it, it seems too much for anyone to bear. How could God ask that of anyone?

And knowing Hosea’s story, how can I pray for God’s will in my own life? Would I be willing to sacrifice my life with Cyndi just so I could understand God better? Would I be willing to give up those moments - Cyndi in the black dress, Cyndi dancing, being together on Guadalupe Peak, or together playing with our granddaughter? Could I give that up if God asked me to?

And if I gave it all up, would I then be able to use it to teach about God’s broken heart? I don’t think so. I think I would crumple down and fade away.

But here is the question: When I read the book of Hosea, why do I always assume my place in the story is Hosea, the cheated-on, rather than as Gomer, the cheater? Why do I assume I would be the blameless faithful broken-hearted one instead of assuming my place is the adulterous cold-hearted unfaithful one?

I know the answer. It is my own arrogance. I always assume I will be consistently faithful to God, and my own unfaithful moments, if there are any, are trivial and shouldn’t really count against me. How arrogant and misguided is that? Who do I think I am?

When I realize the book of Hosea is about whether God will always take us back, that changes everything. I should look forward to reading it every year. It isn’t about loss, but about grace.

God always gives us another chance to capture breathtaking moments with him. He will always take us back, even from our own arrogance.


“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32 


Journal entry 062112: Lost and found in Santa Fe, by Berry D Simpson

To learn about Berry’s books, “Running With God,” go to www.runningwithgodonline.com , or “Retreating With God,” go to www.retreatingwithgod.com ,… Follow Berry on Twitter at @berrysimpson or on Facebook … Contact Berry directly: berry@stonefoot.org … To post a comment or subscribe to this free journal: www.journalentries.org