Tuesday, February 1, 2011

She's Cold As Ice: A Story of Surrender

Just when you thought my life couldn't handle another metaphor, THIS arrived in the mail, addressed to one third of U.S., c/o of Columbus, Ohio:

In case there's any doubt in anyone's mind, I am, indeed, referring to the ice storm that turned our parking lot into a skating rink (and not a nice skating rink, either - one of those really awful ones where you occasionally get run over by the zamboni or fall through the hole in the ice and are eaten by a killer whale).

Before anyone skims the rest of this post skimming what could very well just be me, ranting about the worst weather in 40 years (which I, being 41 in spirit, can vouch for), I'll reassure you. This is not that post.

I lived through the Great Salmonella-Water Crisis of '08 (if you don't know what I'm talking about, you OBVIOUSLY weren't ALIVE then or you...you know...didn't live in Alamosa, Colorado). That involved waterless showers and the Red Cross and National Guard and brushing our teeth with bottled water for weeks. This ain't nothin' nohow. (My apologies to the 10,000 Ohioans without power right now...obviously, my flippant little blog post can't be bothered with YOUR crisis right now - I'm getting philosophical here). Side-note: the lights in the house are flickering and I'm expecting to get shut off at any moment.

And I'll be honest with you, I spent the better part of today feeling sorry for myself. A workshop I was supposed to attend was cancelled. Kyle called at the end of his shift to inform me that the gear shift on the car was stuck and he couldn't get the car out of park (and I immediately began anticipating the hundreds and hundreds it was going to cost to fix whatever was wrong with our eleven-year-old car). On top of that, Kyle has a bad cold and has lost his voice (and is now experiencing other more serious health problems). I tried to take Madigan outside and only made it a few steps before I fell hard (forgot my skates) and had to crawl back inside because it was too slippery to stand up. Progress on my thesis seems to have grinded to a halt thanks to my complete inability to concentrate on anything for more than fifteen minutes. And as I type this, more freezing rain is hitting the ground outside. Freezing rain that Kyle has to drive through to get to work, where he will stand outside for the majority of the night, driving 60-foot trailers around. It's not fair. It's too much.

Whine, whine, whine. Here's the thing, though...

I prayed. I had nothing particularly nice to say to God, either. "I'm angry," I told Him. "I'm really, really angry. I feel out of control. I don't know where to put these helpless, terrible feelings. I hate that I'm so angry. Just...please....do something with these feelings. I don't know what else to do with them. I'm asking for an easy way out," I said (I was feeling brutally honest). "I'm asking for you to take care of all of this for me even though I don't deserve it. Please help me." I was so upset. And I looked out the window.

And I was just so totally struck by the ice all over the trees. I had been watching news reports with footage of cars crashing and people slipping and falling on sidewalks and pictures of terrible blizzard/freezing conditions around the country. Schools shut down. Businesses closed early. It's like everything froze. Still, halted, arrested, even. I can't even make it out the front door. I have been halted in my tracks.

Why does it take an ice storm to remind me that I am not in control of the universe?? Shouldn't that already be apparent?

I spent the day, freaking out, googling car dealerships and WebMD, like I could somehow fix our car and heal my husband and make everything okay because it has to be okay because I have to make it okay because I am in control all.the.time.

One of the worst feelings is that sick, lunging fear you feel in the pit of your stomach when you slip and fall on the ice. And then the painful thud. And then the weird embarassment. Like, if you'd been paying attention, maybe you wouldn't have fallen. Because you don't want to fall. So you try to control the situation. You wear shoes with traction. You tread carefully, arms extended to help keep your balance. You look for patches of snow or dry pavement. Today, despite my best efforts to account for every possible contingency, I fell anyway. I went back inside, muttering rude, angry things under my breath.

Nothing like falling hard to make you surrender. So tonight, God, I surrender. I have been halted, arrested, frozen in my tracks. As metaphors go, this is one of your best.


Janet Thimell said...

Good, Baby Girl.
Job 38:22-30.
And - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
And - 2 Thessalonians 3:16, 18 - Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Jenni said...

This made me all teary, Elizabeth. You'll be in my prayers tonight. You work so hard, and I admire you. Hope everything turns out ok with Kyle.

We are so, so not in control, are we?

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