Sunday, August 28, 2011

Faith vs Hypocrisy on the Wrestling Mat of Life

I listened carefully even tho' nothing said really canceled out the look with which those powerful words had been delivered. Negotiations followed the words. Territory was staked and terms agreed upon. I found no comfort in coming home. I have just become accustomed to doing the next thing when I am completely and utterly numb. So, I did.

I went through the motions, but every move I made was tentative and hesitant. I stopped talking. Those of you who know me probably roll your eyes and wonder how that was possible. I actually counted my sentences. Once I had used 4 with any of my 3 testosterone units, I stopped talking. It seemed any more conversation than that initiated by me affected them like chalk squeaking on a chalkbaord. Hours and hours of silence filled this house as everyone navigated to the farthest corners possible. I was back, but I was not home. Far as I could tell, there was no such place for me. I wondered if  there ever really had been.

I found myself less and less able to move about in the community. I had become a rather proficient couponer. Not one of those you see on TV, but I'd cut our grocery bill in half. The only place I went that was not required for son #2's school schedule was the grocery store. My  90 minute coupon trips became European shopping. I'd run in and grab what we needed urgently on that particular day. I'm sure I looked like some contestant on a game show where you get to keep all you have in your buggy after 5 minutes of shopping. I scurried home as fast as I could. I might as well have been a zombie once I got there.

The 1st Christmas without my mom arrived. We were all quiet, the 8 of us. We were together and aware how much had changed in the previous 7 months. It was as if we were afraid to make too much noise or celebrate with reverie. I looked back with profound thankfulness as I remembered how I had hobbled around on the walker doing my part to make her last Christmas meal one she would enjoy.

I wondered if there would ever be anything but dead, dull silence in my life and in my heart again. I remembered how only a few years before, I had sighed with happiness, utterly content and utterly aware that I had everything I had ever wanted despite all we had lost. I had no idea what was coming. Ignorance is bliss when you don't understand how many ways monsters in the shadows can keep on launching terror attacks.

Winter settled in with ferocity. The world, it seemed, was growing as cold as my heart – even here in the deep south. I sat and waited for the next thing to do. Jeff told me he'd gotten me tickets to a women's conference. The headline speakers were noted Christian women. I was indifferent. He pushed a little was box seats in his company's private box. It was a coup that he had snagged 2 of them. I called around. As I suspected, everyone that I would have wanted to spend time with was booked on such late notice.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
It dawned on me. I really didn't want to be with anyone. The extrovert in me was still missing in action, and I really didn't care one tiny bit. Good riddance. I had figured out that, if those awful words about me were true, I needed to stay as far away from people as I could lest they understand what a wreck of a wasted human being I was.  Occasionally, I thought, "What if it is not true? What if the things I've been told about me over the last year is not true? What if the lady in the dentist office was right about me and not the 3 people closer to me than anyone else in the world? What then?" If then, I couldn't keep living with people who disdained me so completely that I disdained myself. Could I?

The box filled up with chatty women. I smiled as required and then minded my own business hoping the box would not fill up. Gone were the days when I would try to get to know someone new. The friendly girl in the dentist’s office was a memory in my rear-view mirror. She was hiding in terror for fear others might see her for what she really was...whatever she was, it surely couldn't be good, could it? 

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I sat like an observer come down from outer space whose mission it was to observe this unfamiliar new planet. In the past, I would have laughed at the right places and become misty eyed with a sense of increasing faith at others. Now I just sat and watched without really listening. If God didn't show up on a 7th floor ICU ward, I doubted he'd show up in the middle of thousands of women all abuzz over being free from the routine of life for a few hours.

It ended for me as it began. I was a stranger in a strange land. I had been physically homeless, and now I felt emotionally homeless. No rush to go back to where I didn't feel as if I belonged. So, I sat watching the thousands of faces empty out of the auditorium. I watched them go and wondered, “Does anyone in this place feel as lost and alone as I do? Did anyone else come and go wondering if and when they will ever fit into God's big plan again?”

I had my notebook. I turned to the private kitchenette behind the boxed seats hoping it had emptied out as well. My heart sank. I was still not alone. I wanted to be alone to write. Why did they have to linger as well? There are days still that I wonder...why would God choose me for a divine encounter when I was the one wrestling with him? How do you explain what happens when faith meets hypocrisy in the wrestling matches of life?

Psalm 139: 7-12
Where shall I go from your spirit? or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall your hand lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yes, the darkness hides not from you; but the night shines as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to you.

Genesis 32:28
And he said, Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel: for in your fight with God and with men you have overcome.

Genesis 28:16
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it."


  1. Aarrgghhhh! Why do you always stop at such a critical time? Grief. Guess I'll have to come back tomorrow...

  2. Ahhh! Grasshopper...when you can grab the pebble from my will no longer have a reason to come back tomorrow! ROFLOL! I wanted to write more...but I am so mindful of that '400 word count rule' which I have never lived up to..or down to? Which is it? Either way, rather than make it x2 as long, I cut the story in half!

  3. Sigh ... once again you were writing about me ... for me .. ?? Regardless, you touched my heart and I can feel great empathy with you.

  4. Life is a lot less lonely when fraidy cats take off their masks and stick together. Least, that's what I keep telling myself every time I hit the publish button, freeze up, and say, "I'll never do THAT again...!" Folks like you are why I keep coming back to write again the next day. See you tomorrow? Praying for your sadness to be comforted and that God will show us who we are in him and how our life challenges fulfill his purposes for us and for others around us.