Dispatches From the Desert

I woke up from a nap the other day feeling more normal than I have in years. I was afraid to get up. But children call and if I don’t make dinner, people will starve. And they’ll wait until bedtime to tell me that they were too stupid to feed themselves. So i got up. What was missing, I realized later was the sense of hope and dread that has been my constant companion for quite some time. See, everyday, sometimes all day if I’m not careful, I’m waiting for something good to happen. Like a game changing something good to happen. A turning the corner something. Life has been so miserable for so long that all I or anyone I know can think is, “something’s gotta give soon.” But nothing ever does. I try things that fail. My husband waits for months on end for a promised raise. My kids swear they’re doing school work that never gets done. A spiritual deluge to bring peace back to my poor, starving heart would do the trick. I’m really not that hard to please. Day after day, I wait for something good that never comes. It’s an awful way to live life. The only thing worse, I suppose, would be giving up hope altogether.

The bible says, “hope deferred makes a heart sick.” My heart isn’t just sick – it’s in the desert with no water and no food to sustain it. This was yet another really tough week. The best thing I can say about it is that my husband finally agreed to get back into counseling. The worst thing was what it took to get to that point. So tonight, I decided to do what any sane person in my position would do and go out to get a bottle of rum and some diet root beer (it’s our house drink – yummy) and get snookered out of my gourd.

It did occur to me on  the way to the liquor store that this may not be the healthiest coping mechanism in the world. And my eyes were trashed from hours of crying, which was threatening to start up again. So, I decided to stop by the prayer labyrinth behind a local church. I mean, Jesus said to be like the widow who harassed a judge so much that he gave her what she wanted just so she would shut up and go away. Maybe if I keep hounding God day and night, begging for him to DO SOMETHING, he will, right?

So, I walked the labyrinth and sat in the center praying for quite awhile. And when I looked up, there was a very young doe standing not 30 ft away from me. She stood there looking at me for a minute or two and cantered off a little ways to eat – still in sight. It seemed like one of those things that should mean something. You know – you’re in prayer and something unusual happens and it speaks some word of comfort or wisdom to your heart. So I sat with it for a few minutes and got . . . jack shit. I looked over to where the doe was eating and noticed a rabbit sitting even closer to me than the doe had been. And still . . . nothing. That if you sit really still, animals will not pay attention to you and come closer than they normally do. I guess that’s it.

Finally, I got up, walked the labyrinth back out and drove to the liquor store for my rum. When I got home, before I could even put down my purse, the baby reached up onto the counter and pulled the bottle off. A full bottle of rum and a lot of broken glass spread across the kitchen floor means I’m left with what I’m always left with these days . . . nothing. I knew it was a mistake to get up from that nap.

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7 thoughts on “Dispatches From the Desert

  1. I’m sorry to hear the discouragement in your words. I really hope things look up and that God uses you in ways that make you passionate for Him again, in all areas of your life. Hoping the best for you..

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  2. It was good of God to break your bottle for you, yes?

    When my wife was arrested in civil disobedience in Philadelphia during the war… She was the last person released; in fact she was alone in her cell when a guard noticed & asked: “What are you doing in here?”

    She was kvetching to the 2nd-to last on their way out, “They took all my cigarettes!”

    “Oh! I hid a couple! Here!” This too, was divine intervention.

    And it’s nice to see your sense of humor intact; it would be one hell of a life without it!

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  4. Your honesty and transparency are refreshing Rebecca. I love your writing.. it is rare to find someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and can write about a life of faith with a sense of humor..

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