Several weeks ago, one of my Sister-Friends extended an invitation to her house for dinner. Her friendship is good medicine for my Spirit. I really wanted to spend time with her. I was honored to be invited into her home. I adore her, but she lives in the back roads of a small town in Connecticut. No street lamps and strange roads on an icy New England night. Insert anxiety attack.
To some people, being lost is just being lost. For me, since I was a child, being lost is being separated from God. It stirs the instant belief that I am lost from God and He does not know… or care. Kind of hard to explain to people that you will not come and see them because you are afraid you will fall off God’s radar as you drive. So I agree to go, even though I have to immediately go to the bathroom and vomit to release my anxiety.
Driving to her home, I tried to imprint the route in my mind. I try to ingrain the course into my mind. I look at everything, but alas after dinner, even before my car was done heating, impending doom is boring a hole in the pit of my belly.
It is night. It is cold. It is the wilderness. I do not know the way home. I am lost and all alone.
My GPS displays, “Us sho is lost!” in plantation slave narrative, or so it seemed. The gas tank tells me I have only a quarter a tank of gas to get home and with no money, there is no fuel for wandering. There is barely enough left to get me home and then back to the job that pays just enough to leave me in this tight place over and over.
I breathe out a sigh that sounds a lot like, “f@&#”. It is not an outcry. There is no volume to it. I am just tired of the cannonball of fear dragging me under.
When is this great life I am supposed to be having going to show up? When is my peace supposed to arrive? When is MY change gone come? I am twisted in fear and full of questions and exhausted so I do the only thing I know how to do. I go to the Source.
I turn off the music and continue to drive. I ask/pray/murmur my truest thoughts as I crawl slowly along the darkened New England road. As I shake my head, all I can muster is, “God? Don’t You care?” Even though I am just shy of 40 years old, my voice is that of a child. It was my question at 4 years old and here it is again all these years later. “God, don’t You care?”
I am not even angry. I am just tired. I exhale and I continue. “Don’t You care that Your child is wandering and lost? I know I will get home eventually, but don’t You care that my heart is at this moment being strangled by fear? Don’t You care that I am afraid and my soul feels faint? I feel like a star that will collapse into itself. Does that matter to You? Does the meantime matter at all?”
It is more than being lost. It is more than being low on gas. It is more than being broke. It is more than getting divorced. It is more than joint custody of my child. It is more than being newly sober. It is the weight of all of it at the same time. As I pass under a bridge on the highway, I imagine myself carrying as much pressure as each of its pillars.
I ask those questions to God the entire ride home. I apologize for not having more faith. I apologize for not being able to trust, “But if You and I are going to have a real relationship, then I need to be able to talk to You – as my dad says I should – like I am talking, straight up, to a man.”
After arriving home, exhausted, I collapse into my bed. It would have been a perfect opportunity for the “Burning Bush” to appear in the midst of all that icy darkness. I would have, taken it as an omen… and promptly checked myself into a mental hospital because let’s face it, we say we want a sign from God but most of us would faint if we got one.
Days later, the conversation takes over my mind. A voice inside me says, “I cannot be the only person who loves God but feels this way. I know I have heard it before.”
A scene appears in my mind. I see Jesus walking down a road and Mary is running to meet Him. When He sees her coming, He stops in the midst of the road as if bracing Himself for a tidal wave.
As she runs towards Him, tears stream down her face, she yells out to him, “If You had been here, my brother would not have died.” She wants to be angry, but she is too heartbroken. Her eyes say, “I believe in You. I love You. Don’t You care?” It is the same sentiment from a few nights before, “You are the only One Who could have saved me. Does it matter to You that my heart is shattered and torn apart?”
I stop getting dressed and go get my bible. I need to know His reply to her and to me. Mary asked my question for me, “Don’t you care?” and now I go in search of His reply.
The next passage reads, “When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her [also] sobbing; He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.]”
Wow! He saw her crying and even knowing He intended to raise her brother, her tears still moved Him. It says Jesus was “deeply moved.” Knowing the beginning and the end, Jesus was still “deeply moved.”
I finally have the answer to a question I have been asking for almost 30 years. “God, don’t You see me down here, wandering, with my heart broken and feeling alone? Don’t You care about the meantime between the miracles?” My answer: Yes… and He is deeply moved.