14 January 2017

Broken

I found more glass in the kitchen today. I was sitting on the floor, helping Ellie pick up some beans she'd spilled, and there it was, another shard of glass.

I guess that's what happens when your house falls down.



More than the sound of splintering wood and shattering glass, more than the unexpectedness of your house falling off the wall, more than the helplessness of having to just stand there and watch it happen...what got to me more than all that was the timing.



I was standing right there, not three seconds before. I was standing there, cooking dinner, like I do every night. But there was a toy on my cutting table, and I suddenly wanted it off my cutting table. And for some reason, instead of just brushing it to the floor or calling to the kids to come and get it, I decided to take it into the other room myself. I hadn't gone five steps when I heard it start to separate and whirled to watch it come crashing down. I could hear myself screaming, but I couldn't seem to stop. As soon as I could stop screaming, I started yelling, "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay," for the benefit of my panicked family in the other room.

This is the toy that was on the cutting table.
I have no idea why it bothered me. 

Everybody needed a hug after that.

I might've gone to pieces, but it's a little tougher to just get delivery around here, and people gotta eat. Also, I'd already called a friend to come over and learn to make tortillas...so I wiped away the tears, and I showed her how to make tortillas. I'm afraid she now thinks I'm Wonder Woman. Additional time and interaction will surely correct that opinion.

But the good news is, I'm still here to interact with.

My emotions in the days that followed have been complicated: anger with the person who didn't attach it to the wall better (it appeared to only have six nails without anchors); relief that no one was hurt; sadness over how strange it looks now; annoyance at the inconvenience of storing things elsewhere and the expense of replacing it.

Where our cabinets used to be...
Yet in the clean up, when I realized that there were five toys on my cutting table which had been there for days, none of which had bothered me before...what I felt mostly was gratitude. I believe God protected me. It's in his character, it wouldn't be the first time, and I'm guessing it won't be the last. It's so easy to fixate on the unknowns here: could we have gotten me to competent medical care in time? And that I don't know. But when I fixate on the character and goodness of God, I begin to see it everywhere. I love the quote by C.S. Lewis: "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." 

On that table, I had several things of high sentimental value: one was a gift from my grandmother, a mother and child statue carved from an olive tree from Israel. It could've been a clown carved from a maple tree from Vermont, I'd still love it. It was from her, it had been in her house, year after year. It didn't have a scratch on it. 

In the cupboard, I had some high-priced ingredients I was saving: sesame oil, pad thai sauce, and worst of all, fish sauce. A broken bottle of fish sauce won't just ruin your day--it ruins the day of all your neighbors within a two-block radius. And yet, despite all being in glass bottles, they came through just fine. It would've been enough for me to come through unharmed...but it wasn't enough for God. And that kind of broke me. 

Oh, friends: we have a God who cares. We really do. You can trust me on that.