The lights on my dashboard illuminated the cloud of my warm breath hitting the frozen air as I pulled out of the hospital parking lot in a daze. The fuzziness that comes from feeling as if you have one leg in now, and one in the terrified realm of what almost was. Little else can humble a person the way a medical emergency of a family member does.
I was heading to the 24 hour pharmacy the next town over. I shook my head in disbelief. Oh the miles of valley my face had been scraping these days. The seemingly endless debacles that had me throwing my hands up in resignation. I was choking on one problem after the next. I wanted to scream “stop, enough already we have taken our turn!”
I was exhausted, aggravated and even a tad envious. Entertaining the absurd thought that Mrs. Jones was certainly not dealing with the plumbing issue, the blown tire, the ER visit. Let’s throw a full house of stomach flu in there just to keep things interesting.
I was singing a continual pity party song with “poor me” in the chorus. Why was no one else sharing in this season of stupid? Just us? Okay that’s fabulous.
I began to utter a strange phrase under my breath, hardly noticing it really. At every rung down the ladder of debacle, I would grit my teeth and mumble “This world” in total disgust. It was as if the ugly had me wounded, and the vultures were circling.
Maybe I had allowed anxiety to get the better of me for a bit. Neglected taking care of myself amid the mess? I felt like I was running in circles and putting out one fire after the next.
I wanted to perform a full body eye roll at the next person who stood in front of me and excitedly declared that they couldn’t wait for…”I don’t know lady what are you doing with your kid tomorrow? White washing Mount Rushmore, sewing emergency parachutes for orphan bats?” I’m happy for you, I truly am glad but I don’t want to hear about it today, I just don’t.
Counting sorrows, not blessings
Today I am serving fast food for dinner, I will be ignoring my children as I plop them in front of the TV so that I can clean the mess from a pipe bursting in my basement. That is where my mind was. I wasn’t counting my blessings, I wasn’t looking for the moral or searching for a ray of sunshine. I wanted this season of stupid over. I wanted a long nap, a fat book and a frosty sangria.
I sat in the pharmacy waiting area at 11pm upon a stiff upholstered chair that was covered in stains. I tugged my coat closer around me as I settled in for the long wait. A little girl of maybe 8 years old came into view. I could barely contain myself as I watched her. The woman shuffling behind her, appearing quite unwell, was most likely her grandmother.
The beautiful little girl with matted hair, bare legs and feet covered in filth. As I sat, chilled in my winter clothes and coat, she smiled as she skipped. I wanted to puke from the reality, and then I wanted to fix this.
I wanted to place this child in my car, feed her, bathe her, read her a story and tuck her in tight. Pray over her and kiss her sweet cheek and promise to hold all of the monsters of real at bay. What I really wanted, was a fairytale.
The hits just kept coming
I sat in my car and I cried. I prayed for the little girl and her grandmother, and then I put my car in drive. I mindlessly drove, my brain finally weary enough to operate on auto pilot. Winding the final pitch black road to home, I slowed to a snails pace to prepare for the curve of the turn. Almost there.
I had a difficult time comprehending what I was viewing, I had never seen anything like it. A mother racoon bravely stood in the middle of the road, my enormous car mere feet away no match for her mission. Two babies cowered in fear at her side, as she desperately attempted to pick up and carry her baby that laid dead on the yellow line. I think I yelled “Oh my Lord!” as I finally understood what I was seeing.
Angry at the brokenness of the world
I was so over the world that night, I was aggravated at God, angry even. So tired of smiling and turning my face the other way uncountable times a day at one of the -that’s just the way the world is-realities. Then it dawned on me, I don’t hate the world: I hate sin. I absolutely hate the fallen state we live in. That this beautiful place and all the dear creatures that enter are continually altered by sin.
I realized just how ridiculous it was to be aggravated at God. I was embarrassed. He is the one who has lost the most because of sin. I had fallen for the temptation to somehow manipulate my troubles into a pity party of “Where are you in this God?” My, my, my the devil loves that doesn’t he?
I was unintentionally snowballing myself with resentment. Feeling slighted, responding to every crack in the sidewalk as if it was there to trip me. If I keep my eyes fixed on all that God says yes to every single day, then I wear my armor like a champ. I needed to see, not what I had lost, but what remained.
Evil twists the truth just enough to make us question God
God never withheld His love, His grace or His mercy even though I was acting like a spoiled brat. When I feel the warmth of that pour through my soul, I realize that we will never be able to fathom the expanse of God’s love for us.
Evil will continue to whisper all the days that we walk this dirt. The darkness will always attempt to twist the truth just enough to make us question God. This is where danger blooms, where the devil sows his seeds.
Every thought, word and deed we have belongs either to God or to the devil. Devoted to destruction or construction. I ask myself – who are you working for today, Tiffany?
God wins. Make sure you’re on the right team.