Friday, June 10, 2011

Writing My Way Back to God

(With apologies to those friends who hate cliffhangers and 'too be continued' episodes, I have a continuing series in mind. Many folks will find the series relevant because of today's economic realities. Perhaps you or a friend are going thru difficult times. If so, please share my story freely. No one understands a fraidy cat like another fraidy cat. Lord knows....I'm a fraidy cat!)

The phone rang. My husband said, "I'm sorry. I can't do this anymore.  I wish I had a new job to go to. I don't, but I've just quit my job. If God catches us, he's God. If he doesn't, he's still God."  He was 36YO and had been growing sicker for 2 yrs. It was May of 2001.  We had $80K of equity in a home worth $250K. We had college and retirement funds even tho' Jeff was not 40YO. Our oldest son was only 10YO. We had emergency savings for 3 months set aside. Besides our mortgage and food/utilities, our only other expense was one car payment of less than $200.00/mo.  He had a job in an engineering field that was in high demand.  We'd prepared in advance for difficult days. We'd be OK.  Surely, God would catch us before we hit rock bottom. Of course, none of us knew 9/11 was on the horizon.

He had surgery and spent the summer recovering.  The doctors approved his return to work in mid-August. The phone began to ring off the hook.  We began to breathe a sigh of relief.  Life would return to normal soon. We faced a move for sure. But, that was normal for us. I had re-written the words to Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" to fit our transient lifestyle.  We had moving down to a fine, almost military science.

 our 3rd grader 8 yrs later in China - 2009
The morning of 9/11 dawned cloudless and Sahara desert hot. The buckle of the Bible belt was in the midst of a prolonged drought.  Like so many other households that morning, our routine commenced mindlessly.  I was giving our 3rd grader a spelling test.  My brother called. "Turn on the TV."  School was over for the day once we saw the second plane hit in real time.  When the first tower fell, my 10YO turned to me wide-eyed. "My Daddy doesn't have a job.  What will we do? He will never work again!"  We wrapped our arms around each other.  I was still able to rest my chin on the top of his head.  I stared blankly out the sunroom window wondering how the pine thicket could seem so familiar and normal when the world had just tilted on its axis. 

courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I did what I always did. I tried to relate what was happening in our lives to a Biblical principle. I reminded Will that Psalm 46:2 says, "Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea...."  I reassured him that even tho' those mountainous skyscrapers, so close to the sea off the coast near New York City, were falling, God saw our plight.  He knew that the towers would fall and that Jeff would be without a job when it happened.  I reassured him that God had a plan and that it was a good one even if the world seemed like such a sad and scary place that day.

I had no idea that our odyssey had only just begun and that before it ended, I would have lost my way and any semblance of faith I had ever held.  In fact, even as I navigate the process of creating this fraidy cat community, I am also in the process of writing my way back to God.

I hope you will come back tomorrow and bring a friend for Invisibility and Homelessness in a Fraidy Cat World.

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