But yeah, most often that would be me - I need a sign. Maybe not so much in the past, but definitely feeling the need, of late. A sign, please...that You are still there, or at least that You haven't forgotten me.
Oh in truth, I guess maybe I have always tried to see signs from God. Haven't we all? Not that we should go out and seek them or get all weird about it. But I have always felt that God speaks to us through nature; certain birds or animals; or sometimes situations. You know what I am talking about- "God Winks" they have sometimes been called,.
I don't think I ever look for them when I am at my lowest, but every once in a while they are just there and I know that I know that I know (hate that expression) that they are from God.
I have been feeling particularly tired the past few months...uh...maybe the past few years...the last decade...if truth be told. But last week, after 3 or 4 midnight calls in as many days, to the emergency room for a loved one, I was feeling pretty drained. Finally after a hospital admittance and a long day at the hospital talking to doctors and nurses; making decisions, and blah, blah, blah, I was on my way home feeling pretty dismayed. God must hate me, I have been telling myself a little more often...yeah, yeah, I know...please don't preach at me - even if only to yourself, beyond the computer screen. ;-) Anyway, below was my thought process on my drive home from the hospital...
I hate this highway. I hate it with every fiber of my being. I hate the traffic lights, the rude drivers, and I hate all the moments it has stolen from my life. I hate it especially at rush hour traffic. Why am I sitting in this mess once again? The only way I hate it more is after a long day in the hospital talking to doctors and nurses and people who have to pretend they care. And on top of it all, wondering what in the world I am going to be exposed to. Oh wait! There is one way I hate this highway more...with all of that PLUS a first snow fall where people act like they have never in their life ever driven before. Yes...this would be my own personal hell. If God truly hated me and wanted to cast me into judgment, it might as well be here.
So that was my thinking. ALL. THE. WAY. HOME.
Once home, first thing on my agenda was a hot shower. Got to get rid of all those germs before I touch anything. Yes! I know! Some of that would be "Monk" style thinking. I am seeing signs of me becoming Monk, more and more and more. Don't care. I live by "Better to be safe, than sorry."
After a somewhat soothing, hot shower, I put on my jammies, and I quickly built a fire with hopes of maybe watching a Christmas movie, in my recliner, in front of the crackling fire. Next up - a meal. Left over mashed potatoes and gravy and a part of a piece of chicken left over from yesterday's long day in the hospital. And then! Lo and behold! Finally a little mercy showed up; my husband gave up the show he was watching probably thinking Sean Hannity was on my mind.
Just as I settled in, the phone rang. I was needed back at the hospital. Alrighty, then. At least I had finished my meal. I quickly got dressed without fixing my hair and makeup. The second storm of the season had moved in after a long dry spell. I wasn't particularly looking forward to a drive back into town on slick roads. I have wimped out on snowy roads in my aging abilities.
"You want to go for a drive?" I asked my husband hoping for a chauffer on this snowy night.
"Not really," was his only response.
So I left without saying more.
The car was still warm, but I was definitely not trying to count my blessings at this time. I was able to get a text off for an explanation to my sister. But that was getting messy too. I finally just opted for "Please don't text anymore. I am driving now and the roads are slick."
So highway, you are mine once again. I was in full questioning-God-mode at this time. A few days ago, I had watched the movie "Hacksaw Ridge" and it too was on my mind. SIDE NOTE: Yes, I highly recommend this movie. And I apologize in advance for the violence. Mel Gibson produced it. Take that into consideration.
But anyway, back to my drive. Below is my thought process on this drive back into town:
I was thinking of the moment in the movie when Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, as a medic, had helped so many people and was finally left alone, wounded on the battle field (in spirit if not body) and he cried out in desperate anguish. "Lord, what is it you want of me?"
When I watched the movie that night, that line, that moment, that anguish hit my heart like a million arrows and I burst out in an avalanche of tears. Hiding my face with my blanket from my family members watching the movie with me, I was devastated for the man in the movie - the real life hero - but, I had been asking that same question myself for some time. Trying to understand the pain and discouragement I have been feeling the last few years, I woefully admit there are times I have been mad at God. It was the connection in those words that brought my tears. But no, I am certainly not comparing myself to Private Doss - who he was as a person; or the heroics of his actions. But we all have our own circumstances that are our own personal battle. And I know full well I don't have the strength of people like that Private. I am one of the weak. So no, lets not even go there with any comparisons. It was simply a question in a moment that I related to and that pierced my heart in understanding. And I am sure I would have more than likely stated it instead as "What in the heck is it that You want from me?" I am one of the weak.
Well in this moment when Private Doss asked that question of God, he instantly knew. He heard the cries for help behind him and immediately understood what it was God wanted him to do. He went back to battle - alone. Tired and weak, but determined in the knowledge that God was with him. He saved 75 people from that ridge. Praying after each: "Lord, please just one more." Powerful! Watch it, but with viewer advisement. I covered my eyes and my son told me when to look and when not to. I am one of the weak.
Now getting back to that. I was reflecting on this movie during my drive and thinking about myself just wanting to have an answer too. What is it you want of me, Lord?
I. AM. EXHAUSTED. My life is disappearing without any chance to live my own. Yes, I went there. And then next I reflected on Job.
"Is this Satan trying to get me to curse You?" I asked our Lord. "Well whatever, but like Job, did You happen to remind Satan not to take my life?" I don't feel done yet. I wondered all of it and yes, even actually asked God that question. And just like He always does, He corrected me...with a bit of humor. "Don't worry, Job was a righteous man. You have no where near his righteousness, but through Me." ;-) So don't worry, you ain't gonna suffer like Job"...is what I got out of His answer.
Pretty sure He was telling me, that no, I will not have the trials of Job, because we both know full well that I couldn't handle it.
And I actually smiled at the chastisement...for a moment.
Then I remembered! Wait! God didn't take Job's life, because God knew Job could handle the trials. Then there's me...the weak. Yikes! Maybe so! ;-) (This is where you should laugh.)
Sitting at a red light, I was pondering all these things. Cursing the drive back into town. Hating every second of this highway...in the snow and actually starting to believe God hates me.
A motion from the left caught my eye. The car sitting in the turn lane next to me was rolling down their back seat window. I looked up at the car, and knew immediately who it was. I laughed cause I knew there was no one in the back seat, but I was a half a car length behind them. They could speak more easily to me through the back window. I pulled forward a bit, and rolled down my own window. My daughter, riding shotgun, then rolled down hers.
"What are you doing?" they asked.
"Hospital." I answered. And I was able to say something funny to make them both laugh. I told them I loved them, before sending them on their way at the turn of the light.
There was my God Wink. Those two, "my bluebirds of happiness", if you will. And I knew immediately in that moment, God didn't hate me. Because he just gave me a sign to show His love. My kids. I needed a sign, because I am weak...and that is ok. God cares about the weak, too. I was thrown a buoy in my sea of despair and as I realized that I burst into tears. Those tears are getting to be my morning and evening norm...most often for despair as opposed to joyful tears like in this moment.
I would need that buoy for the rest of the evening. I rested on it, as I carried out the business of my hospital visit.
Finally, I was able to leave about 9:00 pm after visiting hours had been over for an hour. As I exited the elevator, I ran into my favorite doctor. I had already ran into this man at a previous visit and at another really low moment. At that time, he had immediately recognized me, paused to talk to me and ask about my loved one. He was my God Wink on that previous visit a day or two ago and I had had no doubt about it on that particular day. And now here he was again. He almost didn't recognize me this time. You know - no hair and no makeup done. Yeah, even my best friends don't recognize me undone. But anyway, this man had saved my loved ones life a few months ago. And here he was again, encouraging me at a low moment. My second God Wink for the evening. God bless this man. I wish all doctors were like him - the best of the best.
After our visit, I got into my car and dropped off a quick text to tell a family member (you know, the "Please don't text" person I had been texting earlier) what had happened as I knew she would be wondering. As I exited the hospital parking lot, I could already tell the roads had improved while inside the building and I was able to count my blessings a bit better at this point. Not sure why at 9:30 pm the roads were better. The temperature hadn't warmed; I thought with the less traffic they would be icing up by now...I guess I caught the highway just in time. Another blessing.
I settled a little more peacefully into my drive home. Once I got through the 10 or so traffic lights I had to travel through, I decided to turn on my favorite country CD. My son has always jokingly called this country artist my "therapy". On my many stressed runs into town, when he was a teen, he would go out and warm up my car and I don't know how he did it, but he always managed to have the CD set to my very favorite song which he knew would immediately calm me down. It never failed it was always the first song on the player as I drove out of the driveway and it ALWAYS had a calming effect.
A few years later a t-shirt came out that read: "I don't need therapy. I just need to listen to Alan Jackson." My son saw it and posted it to my Facebook page. We both got a good laugh about it. We had been doing that for years! Anyway, I digress here, just to explain the history about my "therapy". It makes us laugh to this day.
So I put on my therapy and settled in for the long drive home. And just as I was backing into my driveway, my favorite therapy song came on the CD. It was my third God Wink in a long, discouraging, exhausting day. A trifecta of winks? Third times a charm? I don't know. I guess God simply knew one wasn't enough on this day; nor was two, or three. I needed a bit more. And I guess He knew I would like that it was 3 and see it as a little extra boost. Cause I am the weakest of the weak.