Last week was rough. I feel less like I’m on a roller coaster now and more like I’m on a seesaw. Still up and down, but not nearly as exciting.
Re:generation is hard. Inventory is hard. I thought I had knocked it out. On the first week of inventory, I got a hotel room and plowed through it. I even wrote insightful little summaries about each category. Then I found out I had skipped an important step. I had to face some hard stuff–stuff I didn’t even want to think about, let alone share with my group.
I hadn’t knocked it out. It had knocked me out.
Back to Start
Inventory again. Not where I wanted to be. Instead of getting another hotel room, I visited my childhood church, intending to approach my new problem using an old, trusted method.
There used to be these huge cement tables behind the building. Once when I was young, I spent hours lying on my back on one of those tables, asking God for help. I had nowhere to live and no idea what I was going to do. I think back to that day when I’m at my lowest, and I remember feeling like God met me there. So it seemed a great place to visit.
After packing up all my re:gen stuff, I drove to Providence, Texas. I needed a date with God, lying flat on my back. I brought a plastic table cloth, because the last time I had seen the tables, they were covered in weird fungi and droppings from the trees. Nothing was going to stop me climbing up there.
And this is where the tables used to be.
Now I’d driven more than an hour to lie on a table that didn’t exist anymore. I stood there and cried about it for a minute, feeling rejected. The same way I felt the last time I was there. I showed up for my date, but where was God?
Not knowing what else to do, I went around the building, searching for a place to sit that might mean something to me. But I’m allergic to wasps, and they seemed to be in all the cozy places. Alone, no EpiPen, hardly a signal on my phone, I wasn’t risking getting stung.
I took a few pictures as I wandered.
I love taking pictures, but it wasn’t what I came for. So I kept walking, eventually into the cemetery. Providence is a small community, so I knew a lot of the names on the headstones. It was nice, and a little sad, to think of them. I loved this broken headstone that used to say GONE HOME.
Reading Into Things
I wondered if God was telling me to go home. I couldn’t do what I came for. I wasn’t really trying to accomplish anything specific anymore. Just reminiscing, trying to make some use of what felt like a pointless trip.
And then I came across this, and it brought me to my knees. I knew Carolyn and Buddy were there, because I had been to their funerals. But this was the first time I saw their headstone.
They were the answer to that prayer I prayed the day I was on the table. Carolyn came and got me and took me home with her.
A New Perspective
Maybe not completely new. I’ve come to the conclusion many times that my story isn’t one of abandonment, but one of rescue. It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re listing every horrible thing that ever happened to you.
This was the reminder I needed. I’m not doing this alone. I can’t see the full plan yet, but there is one. God showed up for our date, just not where I thought He would. His plan was better than mine, as usual.
I wasn’t supposed to lie on a crusty table, focusing on feeling lost and alone. He wanted me to remember that when I’m flat on my back, I should be on my knees. Still looking up, but also forward, because there’s something good on the way.
I made a little wildflower bouquet for Carolyn and Buddy, and then I spent some time right there, thanking them both for what they did for me. And I’m still processing why I also felt like I needed to apologize to them. I’ll be working on feeling like a burden for a while yet, I’m afraid. But at least I know I need to work on it.
Leaving it Behind
The last picture I took is a reminder to myself to put the past where it belongs. I have to dig some stuff up in my recovery process, but I don’t have to dwell on it. I certainly don’t have to relive it. It’s time to let it go.
Rachel, thank you so much for your vulnerability and your insights about God in the journey of recovery!
And thank you for the encouragement! I always want to delete seconds after I post.
beauty from ashes