Too many times I reach for the phone to call you. I want to hear your voice, your deep, infectious laugh, and I want to hear your thoughts, your wisdom and insight. Or if nothing else, I just want to talk to you, to tell you everything and hear you say that it will be okay. To hear you say that I’ll be okay.
Especially this past week when I received so much bad news in such a short amount of time.
A sister left rehab and was living in a van (now sleeping in a laundry mat), homeless and ill on the streets of San Jose.
I didn’t get the full-time faculty position, even though I was one of the top two. One phone call and I’m right back where I started—an adjunct with no job security, no health insurance, no stability. I don’t know how I will make ends meet, once again, and I just have to trust God. Still, the stress presses on me, and I feel scared and alone.
One of my best friends had to go to the doctor for tests this week, trying to find out why she’s having attacks of intestinal pain.
A brother in law in surgery and a sister with a hurt back from a fall on Halloween.
Laina home from cheer practice in tears from her flyer’s leg slammed onto her forearm, maybe a torn muscle.
One of the family dogs run over. An accident. One of the grandkids left behind. For a moment.
It’s been so hot, even though it’s November, and my electric bill is, again, so high. I get my paycheck, pay the bills, buy gas and groceries, and the money’s gone.
Mizzou, in the news this week, with hunger strikes, protests, threats of violence, and racial unrest.
And then, Friday the 13th and Paris. Horrific acts of terrorism. Hundreds of people enjoying an evening out with family, friends. Now over 100 dead, more injured, even more psychologically scarred.
The whole world in mourning.
What happens when there’s too much negative too quickly? When we are bombarded by bad? Boom, boom, boom.
Are we like a sponge? Do we soak it all in? And expand, expand, expand? So that we are stretched so thin and stringy that there’s no room for something good? Does it become part of us or do we, eventually, explode? And what will that explosion look like? Who will it hurt?
How do we help each other through? Before, during, after such tragedy? So many bombs both personal and worldwide?
Perhaps we need to, every day, put on the armor of God as Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us.
I think of Mandela’s words from Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela, “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
Still, I wish you were here to listen, UD. To share the burden. To help process it all. To remind me that it will be okay. Or that if it’s not okay, that I can handle it.
Imagine that you’re walking through a storm, you’d tell me, but the storm can’t touch you. Or, you’d say, imagine that you’re walking through a pit of rattlesnakes, but you have on tall, heavy boots, so the vipers can’t bite you. They can’t hurt you.
I wish you were here to show me the way through with your spirit of love. To tell me: you’ve got this.