Monday, August 23, 2010

Airline Life Jackets

It is really hard for me to blog right now.  It is just difficult to not be able to say what is going on because there is a lot of things happening.  It feels like crisis after crisis hits and we can't recover from one before the next news hits.  The best description I have is like being tossed in the pounding surf against rocks.  We've been knocked off our feet, and we can't get up before the next wave hits.  It is hard to find which way is up, and we can't always reach the bottom.  Wave after wave tosses us in their merciless grip.

Then besides being in the waves, other things have been happening.  We had a long drive yesterday, so I was able to think a little more and sort out how I feel.  A few hours from home, I finally figured it out.

An airline life jacket.

That is the best picture I could come up with to describe how I feel right now.  You know those lovely things that hide in a plastic bag under your seat that you hope you never have to see?  That little scrap of yellow plastic that the flight attendant smilingly puts over her head and exaggeratingly shows us how to pull the straps to tighten, and right before existing the plane to pull the red tabs to inflate the jacket.  Then, as an extra back-up, she smiles and without effort leans to the side to blow into the tube "in the rare event that the vest does not inflate properly".

You have confidence in those things, don't you?  That if we ever landed gently in water and were able to get out, that this little thing would help us keep our heads above water, right?  It even has a light to attract rescuers.

Because something else happened in the middle of all the crisises, too.  Someone we would have counted on - that we would have said, "this person will be there no matter what" - isn't.  The effect is like being tossed into the rolling surf, and right before you exit the plane, you pull those red tabs....  and nothing happens.


The second option, of course, is those little tubes.  But first the shock of being thrown in the water hits.  The shock of what you always counted on, suddenly being of no worth.  Then, what the smiling flight attendent with her gentle head turning demonstration does not prepare you for is that it takes AIR to blow into those tubes.  How can you blow up a tube when you can't barely breathe?!  So we tumbled in the surf, now under, now in the air, now being bruised against rocks, now back out in the deep.

This is how I've felt in the last weeks.  In a crisis, a bigger crisis involving large groups, but also in personal pain.  Both hitting just days apart.  And I'm struggling.

At times I want to cry, but I haven't done that yet.  I am just stunned.  It is the type of pain that it hurts to draw a breath, and to blow it out makes me want to sob, but I'm too sore to cry.  Besides, I have to swim.  Now, I'm a decent swimmer on most days and rely on my incredible ability to float... but in these pounding waves, there is no floating.  We only struggle.

This is where I am right now.  Aching at the pain of some crisises, desperate to do something about others, cautiously watching others, bruised by the constant pounding, tired of struggling, and then confused and hurt by the actions and words of friends who we expected to be there as much as we expect our life jackets to inflate at the pull of a cord.  Let down, feeling abandoned in a difficult time, but perhaps more than abandoned, feeling like an unwanted burden that they were glad to get rid of.  And that personal hurt in the middle of crisis saps the will to keep swimming.

I am still swimming, but my eyes stare a little blankly and glaze over at times.  Thankfully, my husband swims alongside me in the pounding waves and his voice encourages me to keep going, to kick back up once more.

The problem is, there seems to be no change on the horizon.  It will likely only get worse.  We can only hang in.

Yet in it, we have confidence in God.  Not the confidence that He will makes all things wonderful and fine... but that He'll be there in the pounding waves.  His voice can still the storm.  Yet He doesn't always chose to do so... difficult at times to go on in the face of that knowledge.... but I know His eye is on each one of us and He has promised to keep those who come to Him for refuge.  I won't drown...  but no one ever said it was going to be a relaxing day on the beach sipping margaritas, either!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Whispering a prayer!