Signed in and seated, the magazine pages that passed through my fingers held no interest. They were a poor distraction to the room that beckoned my anxious attention. Not my first, nor will it be my last blood draw. Yet my heart pounded at the not yet seen needle that awaited.
“Run away. Don’t go through with it,” were my thoughts.
My name rolled off the lips of the phlebotomist as a question. Has she had experience with people who bail at the dreaded image of the needle or the vials of blood that get sucked through the syringe? Maybe her inflection was to ask if I still remained in the waiting room determined to follow through.
Weight! So much gravity to responsibility. My teens and their life, literally, and future, their character and growth. My husband’s relief and support and this thing called marriage. The women and young ladies I serve who ache, are lost, hopeless or even simply eager to learn. The angst of my friends who battle giants. My own character development and faith walk. The hands on the street stretched out while the other holds a cardboard sign. Money, possibly, the heftiest of all burdens for many. I work, more hours than I rest, put have no income. Short list not all inclusive.
A lightened load I seek. God says, “then lay down what I never asked you to carry. I ask that you become like Me, not that you are Me.
My eyes, glued to the scene. The dust of the debris invaded my nose. My hands wanted to prevent the sounds of the sirens and the cries, but I couldn’t move. 1,700 miles away from Oklahoma City, I was there only by the waves of the TV, but I had walked that place, breathed the same air as those people. “Oh God, no!”
Floors dangled, wires sparked, glass fell. “Did I know, by name or face, anyone in that building?”
Often, I reached for the phone but fear would not let me dial. So I stayed, stared and mesmerized as reality sank in.
The aftertaste of sorrow lingers. Still existent but no longer all consumed by its grip I manage to gasp for breath. Moments at a time, life begins its return. Coffee with a friend, here. Date with my husband, there. An unforced smile manages to break through on occasion. The thickness of grief prevented it before. But Light has broken and darkness is not so black as it was. Deep gashes and slashes in the soul begin to merge together again. Because this place is not foreign to me, I have confidence that time will heal. First one step, then another, each stronger than the one before. Though a sense of “why” may never be made, purpose will be found. He promises it. I trust. It’s faint, but there. This pain will be a gift.
Frayed edges, stained center (outdated by American standards,) the throw rug beneath displayed the wear of many feet that had paced before me. Arms crossed and tucked in close, not for the chill in the enclosed concrete room, but an effort to contain the emotions with in me. My third child, escorted by a dark haired woman in a floral smock, was delivered.
Depleted of vices to hide behind, raw and real are all that remain. Perhaps it is where He wants me. My true authentic self, helpless before God. I’m okay with that. For a long period of seasons, I was anything but. Yet now, even a midst the ruins of my soul, the chaos of my existence, there is peace and it is Him others see, not myself. Grateful for that as life seems to be in shambles.
Twenty-five days ago, a moment of anguish that towers above all others crushed my soul. The drive over the pass was non-eventful, even quite pleasant. Which made the endeavor that much more unbearable.
The tone of the tall grass merges with the dirty yellow of his mane. No movement, no sound. None are aware of his presence. He observes. A moment of weakness rises as one prey lets his guard down. Predator edges closer. No cracking of dry grass beneath his feet warns imminent danger lurks. The prey, oblivious to his surroundings, is hit as predator leaps to attack. He never saw it coming.
I relate to the prey, often unaware that a beast hides in the shadows. He detects, more than I, my vulnerability and my doubt. He waits for it, then feeds on it.