WHACK - that is the sound of something thunking me upside the head.
Some people are tree people. They stop, notice, ponder and admire every single tree they come across – but they never notice the forest. Other people see the big, immense forest. But miss all the individual trees along the way. I’m a forest type of person. I’ll blunder along in the woods tripping over downed logs, getting smacked in the face with branches, and on occasion running face first into a tree (well, okay it was a rock wall at a very nice resort, but hang with me for metaphor’s sake).
People talk about God leading them and sensing God’s direction in life. Tell of a time when God spoke to them. I have no doubt God exists on a big-scale, forest type level. There are times when God has reached down through the forest and placed a big tree in front of me and said, "(name) - meet the tree. This is Me. Have no doubt about it." Leaving law school and moving here to take my first full-time job was one time. It was an out-of-control, makes no intellectual sense, yet have such a feeling of something being right, feeling. I knew it had to be God. Other times, I’ll be part-way through the forest and feel a bruised sensation. I’ll realize that God whacked me with a tree limb awhile back - I just didn’t notice for awhile. I think it is one of those "hindsight is 20-20" type things.
I have told other people, in a joking way, that I’m pretty dense sometimes. I have trouble backing up and seeing where something is going. I tell people that I need an Old Testament type message. Where is my burning bush? Parting of the sea? I need God to whack me upside the head. I’ve prayed for God to "whack me upside the head." WHACK. God took me up on the offer. Only it took more whacks, and harder whacks, than I expected.
I’ve had a lot of time to think over the past few weeks. And to reflect over the past year or two. The "experts" say the hardest times in life are when you go through school, get married, have a child, change jobs and other such events. Those were challenging. But they didn’t cause a huge emotional upheaval in my life. In the past eighteen months, none of those things have happened to me. Yet it’s been the most difficult time of my life.
My daughter turned 1 in January 2005. She was developing into her own person with her own set of ideas, demands and expectations. Her personality began to shine. WHACK. I was diagnosed "officially" with TMJ. I started with appliances, then was told I’d need extensive jaw surgery and be out of work at least 6 weeks. WHACK. I went to the state dental school and discovered a new "experimental" procedure which was less invasive, but more expensive. Ultimately, while still the best choice (I think) this procedure took me out of work several days, required two pretty major (although comparatively minor) surgeries and braces. WHACK. My daughter started being involved in activities, like dance and preschool choir, and both wanted me there and I felt a burning need to be there as well. WHACK. My husband and I struggled with our roles in the family. We found things lopsided from the way we think God intended them to be. WHACK. Our heat and air-conditioning pump went out and required replacement. WHACK. I started having issues and being uncomfortable with my mother. WHACK. I began dealing with my abusive childhood. WHACK WHACK (that deserved two). I also began dealing with what I did as a result of the abuse - my control issues, my fears, and other things. WHACK WHACK WHACK (that deserved three!).
A simple little comment today made me see that while I’m in the middle of the forest, God has been whacking me upside the head for a LONG time now. Hey, who am I to complain? I asked for it (ouch). I’m picturing God up in heaven shaking His head in that fatherly fashion. Saying, "this hurts me more than it hurts you." WHACK. While I have been down here ranting and raving to God, questioning where He was during all the abuse (okay I still don’t have an answer there - but I’m letting that one go for now); wondering why God is making me go through this; and complaining that it’s too much — God has been answering my prayer all along. WHACK.
Today, a colleague half-jokingly said to me, "why don’t you just come work with me?" Normally, I would have dismissed that comment and not given it a second thought. Today it registered. Which prompted a discussion in T. Which prompted a discussion with DH. So...... a very long story, discussion and prayer-time later..........it all comes down to control. WHACK. Or rather, the giving up of control.
I have been trying to manage everything and to be the best at everything. Best Mom. Best Wife. Best Employee. Best Christian. I’ve been failing at everything. One little comment and one LONG ride home, made me re-think lots of things. I say that my priorities are God, Family and then Work. But I don’t live that way. I am working to make money. To pay off my school loans. To get ahead. I keep telling myself that I need to suck this up and deal with it so that I can live better in a few years. Only those few years have turned into several years. And the sacrifices have been much more than I expected. Also, they keep getting worse. And I’m losing myself in the process.
Maybe, just maybe (and I have no idea how I feel about this yet, except that frankly when I actually allow myself to think about it, I suspect I’ll be totally pissed), these past eighteen months have been about my falling low enough - getting WHACKED enough times - to see that it’s not about me being in control. That it is about giving God control. If, and only if, that is the case - then I GET IT. Stop the WHACKING. (Okay, give up suspecting, I know I’ll be totally pissed when I think about this).
Dealing with the abuse, jaw problems, daughter getting older, my fall at the resort, dealing with the abuse (yes, I know I said that twice - it warranted repeating) has totally knocked my socks off. I’ve had to admit, yelled it at times, that I can’t handle this. I’ve carved words into my leg as a visible sign that my life is out of control. Let’s face it - I’ve been knocked on my butt. It’s taken two jaw surgeries, a whole slew of medications, controlled substances, cutting, missing out on a huge job promotion, multiple panic attacks and a whole host of other crap for me to see it. WHACK.
So, IF I admit I’m not in control. IF I am willing to give up control, then what? An off-the cuff remark today made me think about totally changing my life. Changing jobs, housing, lifestyle. Agh. In T and then with DH, I talked about things a long time tonight. DH & I prayed together. I’m not sure where this is going. But I know that I’m going to be watching out for the trees along the way.