Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Capturing my Thoughts

It's been a long time since I actually wrote anything. I used to think in blog posts,
but lately, I don't know...I just haven't had anything to say. No, that's not quite it. I couldn't find the words. Just today, though, it feels like maybe it's coming into some kind of focus. I feel like I need to try to capture just a sketch of what has happened outside of me and inside of me, so I don't forget.

We came home from our first long vacation in years to a wrecked house. It made me want out...I spent hours looking at real-estate listings, thinking surely, we could just move someplace else. I felt in my soul that it was time to stop treading water and actually move forward.

Bonnie lost Thomas. I have not written much about this, but my friends have been treated to my esoteric questions regarding this event. I didn't want to make it about me, but I think it's ok to say that this utterly rocked me. There were just too many things about it that unnerved me...woke me up like a bad dream. And the one phrase I kept coming back to is the one my husband taught Vintage that week...God is not obligated to the American Dream.

Again and again, I went over that phrase and couldn't make peace with myself or it.
I wanted a nice house and some security. I wanted my husband and my kids safe. I found myself asking, "What can I depend on God to provide?" Because if I knew what "His part" was, then I knew what I had to come up with. I need to know in advance, you know, because that's what I do. I worry about it.

I've discovered that I am a champion worry-er. I mean, like, I am GOOD at it. I can cross and recross a fear in my head about forty times and never actually think through what I'm worried about or why I'm worried about it. Nope...I'll just snap at people and say "no" to things and get mad at my husband and my kids for not realizing how worried I am about running out of food, not being able to buy a house, the kids turning into drug addicts because we don't provide them enough stimulating (read expensive) activities, and not having enough money to do fun things so that I'll have to pretend I'm excited about playing board games.

Wow. those fears look pretty funny when written out.

Your fears teach you just like anything else. Your anger teaches you. Your anxiety teaches you.

Hubby gets home late tonight. He's been in Phoenix this week. Nashville last week. Baltimore before that. I've been alone a lot this month. Being alone during the ice storm was how another layer got pulled back and revealed.

I turned into my Dad. My siblings understand this concept perfectly. For those of you who didn't grow up in our house, that means that a situation arose and it was up to me to contain and control it. It's military training. It's good for war, I'll bet, and is applicable to disasters too. But it had me seething through my teeth at my four year old, "I DON'T CARE WHAT COLOR MUG YOU HAVE JUST BE THANKFUL YOU HAVE SOMETHING WARM TO DRINK AND BE QUIET WHILE I FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO BURN UP!"

At Vintage we talked about how God is like a storm....How he breaks the cedars. The ice storm was God to me. And I wanted to fight Him. I wanted to fight Him and win. I wanted to out-prepare Him and out last Him and demand that He give me the security, the blessing that I wanted. I was offered a place to go...and I said no because in my heart of hearts, I was in a death match with God.

I got an iPod for Christmas. I have a lot of music on it, which is nice for when I'm cleaning...but I find myself listening to podcasts the most. I've been listening almost every day to The Daily Audio Bible. I'd also been reading this girl's blog...found her when a friend linked to her post about adoption language. She is a straight talker. Sometimes, I'd like to dismiss her, but I can't help liking her. She said on her blog one day, "If you are reading blogs and not reading the Bible, stop reading this blog right now and go read the Bible." I was annoyed. But the thought kept popping back up....It was time to stop complaining about how I heard ugly voices of the old way of doing church and Christianity when I opened the Bible. It's true...I used to. It was like I had to go on a Bible fast. But it's time now to sit up and eat again. It was as if the pieces came together...the blog, the iPod, the desire for it. I haven't missed a reading. I thought I would feel good about it. But I didn't exactly.

The Bible has this way of kind of slicing you open, honing in on what needs to change, and making you aware of things you are usually quite good at ignoring.

Like bitterness. And anger. And the consequential gossip that leaks out of your bitter, angry heart because let's face it...I'm not as superior and noble as I pretend to myself I am and it been leaching out of me like sewage. And getting back to the things I was ignoring...getting all wrapped up in my spouse so I don't have to think for myself. And debilitating fear. And addiction to comfort.

Then there was the week at Vintage about God mothering us. And you know what I got out of that? That I need to be a better mother. Sure, dads have that pressure of "Your kids will think God is like you are." I never thought about my kids perceiving God to be like ME. I'm crazy. I can unleash a spray of sarcasm over my kids that would melt your skin. I parent sometimes from a platform of "Please, for the love of Pete, just leave me alone." I parent most often from a place of "I must control and contain the situation. It's all on me. Your little concerns don't matter because the pipes could freeze if I don't find something else to burn up and keep us warm in this storm."

So I'm sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace with the last logs left in front of the fireplace which I am trying to save until Robb comes home in four hours. The wood will never last that long. It's four-thirty in the afternoon and it will be dark soon. The darkness the night before had me completely unstrung it was so complete and eerie. The dog kept standing at the door and growling. I kept a candle burning the whole night because it was too much for me. I had a meal planned to cook on the grill, though and wanted to get to it already. But I was sitting on the floor instead, playing Chutes and Ladders. We had just wrapped up a game of Indiana Jones LIFE, which was the most annoying game on the planet. I had choked the urge to kick it across the room, but just barely. Now, I was honed in to the 100 squares. Up the ladders. Down the chutes, my mind racing ahead to try to be prepared for the predicted three more days of power-outage. Stupid game. I was sitting on the floor, going through the motions of being a good mother (because good mothers play board games, remember?) But under my stocking cap, I was thinking about the dark and the cold and the fight.

And then I tore my hat off, so I could hear. I did not see the lights in the kitchen go on. I did not notice the blinking blue lights on the VCR (yes, we still have a VCR...focus!) I heard the furnace. I heard the heat kick on. And I heard God. "Don't you know how easy this is for me?"

God doesn't owe me anything...not a house, not financial security, not insulation from tragedy, not perfect justice and harmony in my relationships. God can and will storm my life and my world and make me feel small. God is the one that controls and contains the situation and all I'm supposed to do is drink the warm cocoa and be thankful for it and not fuss about what color the mug is. God wants me to pay my bills and He will provide enough time and money and energy to do His will. I can count on Him for that. He's forgiven me much. I can forgive too. His word helps me change, however I take it in. Breathe in, breathe out. I'm blessed. Hush.


Sara said...

Great thoughts, thanks for sharing, i so need to talk to you sometime because i'm feeling really low and need to count my own blessings.

CK Lunchbox said...

thanks Ness. I've been going 9 rounds with God for most of this year. It's funny, because every time I swing at Him, I only manage to sock myself in the face. But it's also sad because I can seem to find the a place in me where I'm ready to put down the gloves. It's both worry and anger combined together like a poisoned peanut butter cup.

12-arrows said...

an amazing post. . . . through tears I type this, I am living what you talk about! so much to share, way too much going on in my day to post it all. THANK YOU!

akr said...

Thanks for sharing your heart...I'm sending you a big hug

ness said...

Hey you guys! I think if there's anything that I learned from blogging, it's that if I'm going through something, SOMEBODY else has gone through it or IS going through it right now. And somehow, that makes it a little better. (at least for us girls.)

Ron, I don't know what God is doing with you, but I'm glad you are in the fight anyway.

Jess said...

I wish I had written this post. I have tried a few times. You did it though... can I just cut and paste? :)

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