Ever since I was in grade school I’ve had a recurring dream. The particulars in my dream change somewhat but the basic premise is always same. I’m not where I’m supposed to be and I’m completely and fearfully unprepared.
The dream made it’s debut when I was probably 10 and our bus stop changed locations. No longer was the bus stop visible from my breakfast table, but now the bus stopped on Charles Ave — a distance that seemed a million miles away. I couldn’t dart outside, mid spoonful. No, I had to plan ahead and trust the bus schedule in spite of it’s unpredictability. I was annoyed to have to place my precious morning minutes in the hands of a stupid school bus. In my dream, in a panic, I am running after the bus, completely disheveled and in my pajamas. And the dream was never very far from reality.
Living the dream
Part nostalgic and part surreal, I dreamed the same dream last night, a mere forty years later. Probably because yesterday, I LIVED the dream. I had to literally chase down Sun Van, and just like old times… disheveled and in my jammies. Sun Van is a resource in our city granted to eligible candidates providing door to door public transportation. This… is a huge answer to prayer and potentially a portion of Ian’s expanding independence.
Our home is tricky to find. If you plug in our address, google maps directs you to a 6 ft. tall stuccoed cement wall that faces our front door. But unless you can scale the wall, or throw the package 50 yards, the map directions do you no good. Fed Ex, UPS as well as friends, have all learned the hard way.
Trust my instructions
Knowing this, I called in advance to alert sun van dispatch. “Ignore what your map tells you, and trust my instructions.” I said firmly. “You must enter our gated community via Coronado.” The woman who answered the phone, indulged me by writing down what I explained, but I could tell the whole time she was rolling her eyes. “Sure maam”, she said. “I’ll write it down because you insist.”
It won’t surprise you, but the driver completely ignored the added instructions. Suspecting as much, I sat perched watching the cement wall at his expected arrival time. Sure enough, I spotted the van driving slowly past. I sprinted outside waving my arms frantically. I ran through our property and then my neighbors screaming for the driver to stop. He did stop, backed up, and predictably said, “this is where my phone map directed me.”
I patiently re-explained (my turn for some eye rolling), “go around the block and enter the gate at Corondao.” When I met the driver at the gate, he confessed, “on my clipboard it does say to enter the neighborhood via Coronado but I ignored it, trusting my phone directions.” ARGH!
I would have done the same thing
As frustrating as it was, the incident got me to thinking. If I had been the driver, I would have done the same thing. After all, he has been driving for Sun Van for a long time and consistently and successfully depended on his phone for directions. He has had years of experience and practice with this reliable method. Some added addendum on his clipboard seemed completely unnecessary …until he met the cement wall and the frantic flailing woman.
We know best
Isn’t that true for all of us. We get into a groove with life. A groove that becomes familiar and reliable. We know best. We’re nice moral people and devoted to our families and neighborly to our neighbors. When it works into our schedule, we even show up at church occasionally. We’re respected by many and clean up for facebook and the world to see.
And then we meet a cement wall and a flailing woman. Then what?
Our groove is disrupted
We’re agitated, frustrated, and unsettled. With a sense of urgency, we strive to regroup. We try to somehow, someway re-establish our comfortable groove. But, without warning, now our experience and reliable resources are insufficient. Fear overwhelms. We BECOME a frantic, flailing woman.
God always ready and waiting
God in His grace and mercy is always ready and waiting. I’m sure it saddens Him that He’s perceived as an added unnecessary instruction on a clipboard, a safety net we call upon only when we’re in a pickle.
Since I’ve been regrouping for some time now, trying to re-establish what I call a new normal, God has been ever present. But often times, if I’m honest, it seems as if He is not cooperating. It seems as if He has little interest in my comfortable groove.
And yet, I’m realizing that what may seem like God’s indifference or resistance is actually His lovingkindness. He loves me too much to make it easy for me to go back to how I was. He loves me too much to go back to His non prominent place as a notation on the clipboard.
You Can Never Really Go Back
Think about a time when you went back to a familiar place for a visit after having moved away. You anticipate your former life. Seeing your old home, your old friends, your old church. Many years ago, I made such a trip to Huntingdon Valley, PA only a year after we had moved to Illinois. I parked in the familiar church parking lot (where Doug had served for 6 years and both Ian and Becca attended their first years of grade school.) A very kind stranger greeted me in the parking lot and welcomed me to her church. She asked me if I was visiting. Her kind welcome took me by surprise. Does she not know who I am? But in that moment, I realized…you can never go back to things the way they were.
True for everyone
That truth is just as true for the new widow as it is for the cancer survivor. Just ask other survivors like my handsome ginger, or my friend who is walking through the mire of a broken marriage. Life marches on and makes an indelible mark on us in the process. Those indelible marks add up to become important chapters of our stories.
In fact, the way I see it… I’m nothing more than a cracked pot. And, I believe it’s true for all of us especially as we mature in Christ. We are all cracked pots.
Not unlike the Sun Van driver, I’m driving along in life, following my reliable phone directions and I hit a cement wall. My groove is interrupted. My fragile exterior is now chipped, or cracked or maybe even completely broken.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
With a sense of urgency, I ask God to patch things up, to fix me and my situation so I can be on my way. I’m eager for epoxy, super glue or maybe even some supernatural duck tape.
Revealed by our circumstances, we see our frailty as flaws. shortcomings, places of vulnerability. He sees them as character lines, His handiwork, an opportunity for the world to see Him through our cracks.
As I’m trying to reconcile God’s perspective with mine, I’ve made a decision of compromise. Instead of praying for God to patch me up and allow me to move on, I’m praying for God to carry me and my brokenness as we groove together.
As I finish writing this blog entry, (days after starting it) I sit facing the same cement wall waiting, watching for SunVan to drive by. I wonder how many drivers SunVan employs and how many pick ups it will take before each driver has been trained, the hard way. But I’m ready. Ready to become the frantic, flailing woman.
Betty Fyffe says
Thank you so much for sharing through your gift of words a picture right into your heart and the application that each of us can make through them. May God continue to give you insight as you share that we may see his grace in our own circumstances.
Thank you Betty. That, has been my prayer… That my readers would see Him in their circumstance. So thank you.
Marcia Salazar says
Debbie, I really “enjoy” and learn from your blogs! It allows me to walk with our Awesome God by reminding me to hold His Hand!
Blessings and love,
Thank you Marcia! I love that it feels practical to you. Love, Debbie
Elizabeth Trythall says
I enjoyed reading your story Debbie (awesome writer by the way). I, too, can relate. I have dreams to where I am in a frustrated frenzy trying to clean of clutter – messes of clothes, household items, etc. Same concept in each dream, but with different characters and different locations. I was up so frustrated because I clean up or organize the messes and those people in my dreams keep messing it back up. I also feel “cracked” and need some supernatural gorilla glue. Thank you for your story!
Glad I’m not the only one with a repetitive dream! 🙂 . Thanks for your reassurance! Debbie
Roxie Walker says
Thank you Deb for inviting me to your blog. Although I have been recovering for several months from a TBI (traumatic brain injury) I read what I could when I was allowed to. Technology was not something I could do or look at for months. You are an amazing writer and your every word is felt and has inspired me to push through my own difficulties and health issues! Your sharing heart and words no doubt touch many many lives. I love your authentic self and love for our Father. You see Him as He is and He loves you just as your are with cracks and brokenness! Our God is an amazing God!! Thank you for sharing all our words and love!
I miss you my friend!
Thank you Roxie, Glad to know about your TBI… I did not know! Take care of yourself. They are complex for sure. ANd thanks for reading along with me! I encourage you to share with anyone you know who could benefit. Miss you too! Look me up next time you’re in the 505. Debbie
Ann Teachout says
This wonderful story reminds me of a time in life where I felt like a “cracked pot”. There is a song about being broken and spilled out “All for love of you, Jesus”. Even when we are broken and spilled out, God’s “super glue'” can work in our lives to mend and fix the broken pieces back together so that we can even be stronger than ever!
Ann you are such a sweet soul. I picture God spilling out of you all over everyone you come in contact with! Love you Ann. Debbie
What a great description of us all—cracked pots and flailing women who keep following our own directions. JEEZ! I’m rolling my eyes at myself. Thank you for reminding us of God’s patient and perfect directions for us. So fabulous you found SunVan. I think ABQ does a good in many areas.
Thanks Dorma. Yes, for SunVan. We will persevere and figure it out!
Marilyn Lehning says
Amen! I am slow to learn and relearn too often. Flailing was how I described my years as a caregiver for my husband as we lived thru his Alzheimers. Thank you for sharing.
I have great empathy for caregivers. It’s the one job that you never sought. Have a blessed day. Debbie
I love the cracked pots analogy! I’m thinking we are also all probably crackpots to some degree! I’m praying for power to all flailing women advocating for their children!
Thank you Cindy! The lengths we go to… Good to hear from you. Debbie
Betsy Everett says
Great job Debbie identifying what many of us experience. Such anxious people we are, forgetting to rely on God instead of ourselves. My dream was going to Junior High without a top on, trying to find my locker and being late for class!
This part of your blog especially touched me today because of recent family conflicts and feeling very bad about myself.
“Revealed by our circumstances, we see our frailty as flaws. shortcomings, places of vulnerability. He sees them as character lines, His handiwork, an opportunity for the world to see Him through our cracks.”
Thank you ,
Betsy, THANK you for sharing how you relate. May He bless you as you embrace your cracks! D
Cheryle Jane Harbaugh says
Debbie: What a great way to describe our daily struggle to take one step forward when things seem so very hard. I am so very thankful for my husband and granddaughters who keep me going through these first few weeks after Mama’s departure for a much better place. The tears flow and then Kayla or Alexis will do something so very wonderful and make me smile from ear to ear. Having to take time to heal is something that I did not expect.
You’ve been on my mind Cheryle. His grace is sufficient. And Rick and your granddaughters are definitely His Grace! Thanks for commenting. Debbie
Berta Pitzer says
I learn things the hard way and often do things my way rather than take God’s instruction. Glad to know I’m not alone in this! Love the way you paint the real life picture! May he bless all of us with a more receptive mind and heart to follow his directions!
Yes I agree it is helpful to appreciate we’re not alone. Thanks for your kind encouragement. Debbie
Thank you for sharing your stories. They are very inspirational and help us all keep the faith.
Audrey, Thank you for commenting. It’s encouraging to me that none of the good or the bad is wasted. I’m delighted you find benefit. Debbie
Nom Johnson says
3rd last paragraph. Stunning. LOVE IT!!
Earlier this evening I read Sharon G Brown’s (Sensible Shoes author) key statement about her 4th book, releasing in the New Year. It’s about Wren Crawford and her battle with depression and anxiety, as well as her art work. Sharon says this of the book’s underlying premise: “At the heart of Shades of Light is this question: If the Lord does not remove the cup of affliction from us, how does he keep us company as we drink it? ”
Thankyou for “I’m praying for God to carry me and my brokenness, as we groove together.”
Well said, and somehow, encouraging to me.
Thank you Nom. Means a lot coming from a fellow ‘writer’.
Deb Kayle says
One of my favorite articles you’ve written. I can relate to chasing the bus, and the cracked pot for sure. You have a flair for writing, and a gift that keeps on giving. Keep up the good work, and God Bless.
Thanks for chiming in Deb. I appreciate your encouragement.