For the Love of God… and Other Ridiculously Obvious Life Lessons

Shaking hands reached to light a cigarette. I looked down only to realize they were my own. The clock angrily blinked it’s bright numbers at me. Almost time to go it mocked. I felt my stomach rumble. Begging for nourishment. I had already thrown up once. Impartial to providing my betraying stomach more fuel. I escaped into the bathroom.

Leaning on the sink I looked into the mirror. Staring at the terrified reflection in front of me. Eyes of a deer caught in head lights uncertain of which direction to dart away. I shut them, unable to look any longer.

“God,” I whispered. “Please get me through this.”

‘I’ve gotten you through this before without harm. Why do you doubt me now?’ A booming voice inside my heart echoed back at me. A single flash of complete peace washed over me. I was not afraid. For the briefest of moments all was well. Then I opened my eyes and the fears of the world came rushing back to beat on me once again.

I took a deep breath. Now or never. I left the bathroom. Grabbed my keys and purse. Hopped in the car and drove to the hospital.

My anger at the world came back as fast as my fears did. There was a stupid driver in front of me going 40. Another stupid driver flew around us going 70. Stupidness flocked to the gas station as I put air in my tire. Stupid construction workers had to work on the stupid road to the stupid hospital.

Emotions are a tricky thing. My fear morphed into anger directed at a world that had done me no wrong. A piece of me deep down inside, curled itself into a ball rocking in the corner of my head, like an abused child watching their monster wreak havoc. The worst part was, I was that monster, and I knew it.

Finally I was called for my MRI. I followed the male nurse down the long winding hallway. I commented on the beautiful scenery painted along the walls. Anything to distract from the fact that I could barely see the walls without my glasses on. Distract from the fact that the draft from the extended hallway blew through my hospital gown making my back tense up even more than it usually was. Distract from the fact that at the end of this long winding hallway, tucked into the back of the hospital was a hidden away room. A room that held the MRI machine.

I laid inside the machine for twenty minutes, or so the MRI tech claims. I counted songs. I attempted to envision wide open spaces. Standing on the shores of the ocean. Feeling the waves beat upon my feet. Watching the wind whip through the tall weeds of an ever expanding field. My mind tore back to the here and now. Slammed me back into that machine.

I could feel the walls of the machine squeezed against my arms. I knew the ceiling was mere inches from my face. I held my eyes shut tight. Don’t open them, I told myself over and over again. I tried to focus on my breathing. Tried to remember that the machine was inside of a room. A large wide open room. That the tech was only a few feet away watching me. That I was okay. Inside my head I talked to God. Talked to myself. Counted songs. So many songs.

I was relieved to hear it was only twenty minutes. The last MRI I had was an hour and a half. That is a long time to be in that dreaded machine. Unfortunately they only MRI’d my neck. I know that they will need further testing on my back. I know that I will have to question my doctor about this. I know that I will have to ensure the proper care of my health. Whether or not I want to is a different story.

All in all I survived the MRI. I know, we all had our doubts huh.

Truth be told, I survived middle school too. Doesn’t mean I want to go back again and again and again.

In all my whining and moaning and pussy footing this whole MRI I did learn a thing or two though.

God only spoke to me once. Only comforted me once. Granted, I could react in anger. He left me alone. He wasn’t there with me through the MRI. Let’s be honest though. There was barely room for just me in that MRI!!

I doubted Him. In MY need, in MY desperation, I called out to Him. And He came. He spoke to me. He asked me why I doubted Him. With love He told me in not so many words to never doubt Him that He is always with me. But I still didn’t believe.

I could give countless examples of how He is here for me every day. The biggest though, He kept me and my loved ones safe through an accident that should have killed us. The very emergency personal that were called to the scene even stated that it was nothing short of a miracle that we survived that car crash, let alone without any “serious” injuries. By serious I mean none of us are laying in a hospital bed in a coma with no true hope of waking again. Yet, I doubt that He will keep me “safe” through something that logically I know is harmless, such as an MRI.

Later yesterday we took the kids swimming. This is nothing out of the ordinary as we’ve done this every day for the past week.

History back track: When I was a teenager a good friend of mine drowned swimming. From what I know of the situation he was swimming across a river and got caught in an undertow. His best friend and girlfriend nearly drowned themselves trying to save him. He was a good swimmer.

I am not the best of swimmers. I used to be. But over time my desire, confidence, and ability slowly dissolved. I hate to swim past where I can touch with my feet. I hate to go under water. These fears I completely believed were ingrained by my own thoughts when swimming in the months and years after my good friends death. None the less, they are there.

History back track take 2: My great grandma, I call her Grandma K, passed away days before my seventh birthday. (note: my knowing her was from the age of 6 and before) When Grandma K was a young thing herself she came upon an accident one day. A car crash. Rushing to help she noticed that trapped inside the car was her best friend. The car exploded in flames. My poor Grandma watched helplessly as her best friend clawed at the windows burning alive. She took the sound of her best friends screams to her grave.

Do you know what she didn’t take to her grave though? Her fears. My biggest unknown fears for the longest time were car accidents and fires. I was absolutely terrified of either one, especially after I had children.

Now to backtrack to where we were. Swimming with the kids…. My daughter is cautiously scared of water. Of drowning. She does not like being splashed. She does not like going where she cannot touch. She does not like going under. I can’t imagine where she developed her fears from.

Just as I gave my children better health care decisions than I gave myself, I do not want MY fears to hold back my children. I try to gently guide my daughter to overcome her fear of water.

So there I am yesterday swimming in waste deep water. Of course I was down on my knees so the water actually came up to just below my neck, but at a moments notice I could stand and be waste deep again. I held my 6 year old daughter in my arms as though she were an infant once again. Her life jacket pushed up against me awkwardly.

Over and over again I told her,” Momma’s got you. I won’t let you go.” Every time though she would flail her arms, crying, wanting to go back to where her feet could touch bottom. I would set her down, stretching her leg out myself, showing her that she in fact could still reach the bottom where she was.

It hurt me a little that she didn’t trust me. That she doubted that I would keep her safe. There’s nothing in this world I could ever love more than I do my children. I would die before I let any harm come to them. Not for all the world would I ever let her drown. I merely want the world for her and most the time to have the world you have to cut the ties that hold you back, break the fears that drag you down.

“I’ve gotten you through this before without harm,” I whispered to my terrified daughter,” Why do you doubt me now?” The words echoed through the pond with a deafening magnificence I cannot even begin to describe.

Is my own Father not capable of loving me far deeper than I, a human capable of sin, loves their own child?

As my child flailed her arms and kicked her feet in an attempt to save herself from her own perceived danger I realized that God isn’t the ground beneath our feet that she could easily touch if she calmed down and tried. God isn’t the life jacket that keeps her from going under if she relaxed and let it. God is the arms of a parent so filled with love for their child that He will never let go. Not if the ground is gone. Not if the life jacket fails. God will always be there. Always holding his arms out. Always loving us.

Yesterday…. I did allot of kicking and flailing.


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