I’ve always had dry skin in the winter time, and it has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older and moved to different regions of the US. I noticed in Texas that my elbows should be registered as weapons of mass destruction. With the humidity lower than Georgia’s, my skin could dry out in 2 seconds outside in the winter time.
Colorado is just as bad with the altitude making your skin and everything else dry out. It’s easy to get dehydrated a little, and then you notice that you can write words on your hand or use it as sand paper. Now that we’re eating better and getting more fat from fish and other good places my skin is not as dry as it used to be, but I still need a good lotion to help me out when the temperature changes rapidly.
We were in Texas when I noticed that my soul felt as arid as my hands did, dried out and unused; no longer jiggly or full of life. We buried Andy’s mother, and we got the news that my Dad had a congenital heart defect and needed surgery, but the insurance company wouldn’t pay for the surgery until he got much worse.
My dad told me at Andy’s mom’s funeral that he would soon be joining her, and though I tried to say positive things about how the doctors were going to fix his heart, I feared he was right, and I ran back to Texas trying to figure out how I could cope with losing the person who loved me the most, my dad.
Literally, I ran. I bought running shoes and starting running for miles every day. I guess I was trying to outpace the news that we’re all mortal. I’m not really sure, but I spent hours spinning through scenes of life trying to make sense of it all. Why are we here? I ran and felt the burning in my calves and the pain in my shins, and I kept on running because that physical pain was way easier than the gaping hole that was burning in my soul. What am I supposed to be doing here? I kept pulling jagged breaths into lungs that still smoked a pack a day, and I didn’t care because obviously I deserved this pain, the shin splints, the blisters, the jarring, bone breaking impact of every step.
I wanted to run until I found the answers or until I left the questions far behind me.
I contemplated the meaning of life every single day. Why bother with this thing called life if there is no point? No end game? No thing bigger than ourselves that gives life meaning? I was almost to the point where I was going to take Morgan and run like a scalded cat back to Georgia as if I could save the day or make magic happen when God smacked me upside the head.
I was minding my own business. Oh all right, fine, I was moping in the parking lot walking Spritely when I hit rock bottom. If there was no greater meaning in life, what was the point? I looked up at the sky and shook my fist at God, still angry, and I childishly demanded a sign. Are you there, God? Because I don’t see the point to this life anymore if you’re not.
Then I laughed at myself for being so stupid as to think that God would show me a sign, and I turned the corner to go home. I slipped a little and looked down. I bent over and picked up a postcard that someone had dropped. It was from Calvary Church announcing their shiny new Saturday services that would be starting Easter weekend. I laughed uneasily and went back to our apartment a little creeped out, but also feeling a little egotistical and stupid to think that I’d asked for a sign and gotten one. I tossed the postcard away without bothering to see where Calvary Church even was.
A week later I was bringing Morgan home from gymnastics practice, and I was getting off the same old exit that I always used. There off to the right was a huge church that had just been renovated. On the side of the church was one of the biggest signs that I’ve ever seen announcing Calvary Church’s Saturday services. Oh, so that was where this church was, only about a mile from our place.
I decided to go because I just knew I wouldn’t find God in a mega-church and because Saturday afternoon was the only time that I could go. I worked every Sunday morning. I did not find God in a mega-church. God found me. As it turns out, God does what He wants to do in His own time, and He knows exactly what we need and where we need to be.
God has a plan for each one of us, and we are all part of His story. Everything happens for His purpose and for His reasons which I think are to bring us closer to Him or just to bring us to Him. Everything that happens to us makes us who we are and glorifies Him even if we need to have our ears boxed to see the light. Sometimes, it’s impossible for us to figure out the why, and you just have to have faith that God’s got this one, too.
When you’re feeling all used up and at the end of yourself in an arid waste land, remember John 7:37-38.
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture have said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’
Have a blessed day!