We all grinned during a Sunday night prayer meeting when she said it, but it has stuck in my mind for the past several weeks after she explained it.
"Gopher wood!" is what my friend heard clear as a bell, as an answer to worries that she had.
That's in addition to something she reminds us all frequently: "Jesus is coming!"
Both things bear keeping top of mind, as they say.
I am not a doomsday person. I like my life here. I love my family and friends and my work, which never really feels like work unless I'm out of sorts.
But I know that all the things I love here are fleeting in the perspective of my soul. I just live in a body. My real essence is my soul, which is eternal. No one will care how many basketball games I photographed or how many stories I wrote for the newspaper, when my time here is finished.
The condition of my soul — and anything I might have done or said to help others see that the condition of their soul is more important than any other thing — that's what really matters.
So what about that "Gopher wood!" reply my friend got to her state of worry over the state of things in this world?
Gopher wood. It was God's prescribed building material for Noah's ark. He laid out the dimensions and instructions down to the very last detail.
She explained that God is in our details. He's got it ALL handled! He's never too busy, never preoccupied, never at a loss for an answer, never too late or never too early. He is interested in every little thing that affects our lives and the condition of our souls. He gets his hands dirty with us to do His Work in us.
Earlier this week, my son overslept. It was a rainy windy day. He called me, just a bit on the borderline of panic, sure that he was going to get a drastic penalty on his grade for missing his class. I didn't see the need during his near-panic moment to point out that he shouldn't stay up so late.
I took a look at my watch. If he drove the speed limit, he would be about five or ten minutes late to class, I told him. He was flustered. I breathed a little prayer for some calm and told him he'd be OK, he'd make it.
About 35 minutes later, I got another call. He was right at the edge of throwing the day away. "I'm never going to find a parking space! I'm going to miss the whole class! My grade is ruined!"
I told him to park several blocks away, off campus if need be, and hoof it to class, no matter how late he might be. "We show up!" I told him, even if class is over.
In the midst of telling me, "It's no use!" he blurted out, "Oh, nevermind, here's a spot to park!"
In my mind, I said, "God's in that!" But I didn't blurt that out to him at the moment.
At the end of the day, he gave me a third call. (My son making phone calls is rare. Three in one day is unheard of.)
"Mom, I didn't get a penalty. I wasn't extremely late and I've never been tardy before," he said. "And there's something else," he told me. He wouldn't be required to attend a Friday class because he scored high on a quiz on this day that started so rough.
"Well how about that!" I told him. "When you calm down, things aren't as bad as they look."
"Mom, I think that was all God!"
"I think you're right about that!" I laughed.
Yup! Gopher wood!