God and I are in a power struggle. So far God’s up, three to zip.
First, it was Herb’s diagnosis with mold toxicity- a disease that was dormant in his body for years and triggered by a perfect storm of unfortunate misdiagnosis, bad meds and a horrible condo rental in Costa Rica. His pneumonia in January signaled an abrupt change in our world, providing a new opportunity for education and adjustment that we’d just as soon have avoided.
Then came the systematic dismantling of our home and forced exodus to squatting in a hotel for a month.
Like two Hobo’s we carried our clothing in sacks, bad food, and longed for the comfort and safety of a place that was our own.
Soon the day came when we could move back home. The remodeling had not yet begun but the mold tests had come back negative which meant we could move home, even if our house was still torn apart and our furniture, neatly stacked in piles to provide a pathway from kitchen to bathroom, made us feel like hoarders.
It didn’t matter because we were home and we had a kitchen and we had a shower and most of all, we had a bedroom- our last refuge, where, at the end of the day, we could fall into bed, watch tv, rest, and simply be together.
The simple things are magnified when your life is a shit storm.
Three days after we’d moved back, on a sunny Wednesday morning, a swift and fierce gust of wind uprooted our neighbors 120-foot Oak tree, toppling it with all the force of a train, onto our house and through the roof of our bedroom. I kid you not. A fucking tree came straight through the roof of our bedroom.
I was in the back of the house when I heard the crash.
I was sure a transformer had blown because there was no storm outside to warrant the thunder. I went out back to check on my dog Jack and we just looked at each other. I looked around the backyard. All good. That was strange, I thought, as I turned to go back inside.
When I glanced towards the front of the house, the front window was completely dark, blocked by branches, of course. Stunned, I opened the front door to discover my home buried beneath this giant tree. I was also surrounded by curious and concerned neighbors who’d gathered due to the crash. It was a neighbor, in fact, that pointed to the roof; I’d walked outside before discovering the damage to the bedroom.
Somehow, I’d missed the air thick with dust, the door blown off its hinges, the mangled metal air vent, and the gaping skylight created by the limb which now pierced our roof.
The bed, our last oasis, was destroyed.
I was in shock. I only managed the necessary tasks with the insurance company, etc. because the situation was so surreal. But by Friday I’d come out of the ether and was in an extremely hateful mood. I was angry and indignant and begging someone to knock the chip off my shoulder just so I’d have the excuse to clock them.
I cussed and swore at stupid drivers on the road. I glared at strangers in the grocery store. I flipped off a bus driver and honked at an old person.
I was rude to a friend of mine on the phone. This was entirely too much to handle and God was an asshole.
Later, I got a text from the friend who I’d been rude to. This is what it said:
” I attended a charity event last night (to support orphaned kids/families in Rwanda, because of the genocide that occurred there several years ago), and heard a story about a Rwandan woman who watched her husband, kids, and entire family murdered. She was raped, had her teeth macheted from her mouth and barely fought back to life and lived. An American dental surgeon came to her village, and when he “restored her smile” with new teeth, she told him she couldn’t wait to go to the village where that savage lived, and smile at him, to show he could take everything that mattered to her, but he couldn’t take her smile.”
This got my attention. Nothing like a well-timed (and meaning) text put your indulgent insolence into perspective.
A tree fell on my house. It did not fall on me, my kids, or my husband. I woke up on a Wednesday morning, a tree fell on my house and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to prevent it. Random shit happens. Lack of control and vulnerability is what scared me and made me angry, not the damn tree.
By this time in my life, you’d have thought I’d learned that control is mostly a myth, highly susceptible to abuse and always overrated.
So what do you do when God gives you a swift kick in the pants to remind you? You can tell him to GFH, or you can exhale, let it go, and, yes, even smile.
I’m pretty sure that’s what God was doing when he heard me tell HIM to GFH, anyway.
Like he doesn’t hear that all the time anyway, right?