On Faery Tears and Pity Parties…
Just a few days ago I woke up from a cold and restless sleep, emerging from our tiny tent to find our camping gear drenched, skies leaden, and snow forecast for the High Sierras.
Our two week nostalgia tour wrecked.
The plan had been to road trip our way through the mountains, landing at Lake Alpine for an extended time. From there we would hike and fish and I would spend time writing while tucked away from the craziness that had kept me from finishing work on a proposal long overdue.
As I heated water for my tea over the camp stove, I mumbled and groaned under my breath about everything going wrong that could go wrong.
Just two days before, the little device that enables me to hear (called a cochlear processor) had inexplicably quit working. In the middle of nowhere, so remote I couldn't find a town near enough to warrant a weather report on my IPhone, how would I get it fixed? What would I do? Must I submit to this turn of events that had, thrown me into involuntary silence?
I couldn’t hear the rain pouring on the tent, couldn’t tell if I was talking too loud or too soft because I couldn’t hear my own voice, couldn’t hear Phil. All I heard was just silence—
A silence that felt isolating, frustrating, and in truth, for a while sort of menacing.
Phil built a fire with the wood we’d stacked under the table the night before, trying to cheer us up with a campfire to warm our shivering selves. I huddled as close to the fire as I could get, a mug of tea in my hands, feeling cold, forlorn, and… forsaken.
That’s when the lie whispered insidiously in my soul:
You needed this time away… you’re tired… weakened… you needed refreshing and rest… and look at this—
God sure isn’t taking very good care of you… hiss, hiss, hiss.
And the lie felt true.
Truer than anything else. All the work to get here, the long drive, the sadness that my parents no longer lived just twenty minutes down the mountain, that dad wouldn’t be there to rescue me…
And God couldn’t keep one storm at bay after four years of drought? hiss hiss
I stayed in my self-pity styled funk as the sun broke through, flooding the world with a freshness that can only be seen in the aerie heights of the Northern Sierras.
Beauty sparkling like crystal ornaments on tall pines, dripping faery tears on my pity-party.
My soul responded with that leap of joy I have come to know as God drawing near just when I need Him.
I know better than to blame God when life doesn’t line up according to my wishes. Lessons learned from my long ago dance with despair over my encroaching deafness came flooding back. I heard words from the One who calls Himself The Word:
Don’t go there, Di. It is your dangerous place, beyond your power to crawl out of.
For the rest of the day I pondered God’s message to my spirit as we put away wet gear and packed up what we’d need for a dry night at a motel down the mountain.
How had I come so close to blaming God… again?
Why do I feel entitled to a perfectly pleasing vacation? Am I really that tired?
I was beginning to suspect that my attitude of I need, I need, I need was wearing me out far more than the reality of my circumstances.
Before long, I began to thank Him for:
… the blessing of good health (so many of my friends suffer)
… happy relationships with each of my children (so many women I know walk on eggshells, feeling alienated and judged by the ones they love the most)
… restful friendship and vibrant connection with my husband (how many women do I know who can say that after 37 years?)
…all the things we take for granted until they’re taken away.
My own entitled expectations began to sound spoiled.
Did God really have to give me sunny skies and a perfectly served up vacation in the mountains in order for me to feel blessed?
Geez Louise, get over it Di! Go out and have a fun adventure in this storm!
And so I did. We did.
The rest of the day was filled with wonder and delight at the swiftly changing sky. We watched an eagle— a bald eagle— circle and swoop and dive to the surface of the lake, emerging triumphantly with a fish in it’s beak.
Later that afternoon we drove a ways down the mountain to pick up the package from Cochlear that had been Fed Ex’d to the small town hardware store. A quick change out of the misfiring cord and…
Voila! Sound rushed back into my world.
This morning I am relishing clean sheets, fluffy pillows (we forgot to bring pillows camping!), a couple of hours just to myself while Phil goes fishing… and then back to camp. Blue skies are expected for the rest of the week, but we’ve been duly warned that weather in these high Sierras is unpredictable.
And I’ve been warned in that beautifully restorative way of the Spirit of God, to…
Cling to Me even when you do not understand.
From a heart that is still learning to cling after all these years,
P.S. Is there something you are moaning and groaning about that is keeping
you from seeing and hearing the beauty of God’s presence in your life?
The surest way back to joy is the relief that comes with confession.
My go-to sin is self-pity, what is yours?