This morning I read a blog post by a young woman who had facial reconstruction on Thursday. She writes:
"So, I had a lot of plans for my days off. I was going to finish writing my book, enjoy some comfy time on my couch with snacks and movies, and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Or, what I could really be doing, is nothing. NOTHING."
She goes on to say that, "But as I am learning more and more, I plan, God laughs. Maybe this is what I needed. Time for reflection. Time to be trapped in my head a little bit. Time, for once in my life, to focus on absolutely nothing but me, and just process. I can't say that I have ever in my entire life had time to focus on just me."
Her words resonated deeply, when less than an hour later, I was sitting in church singing "If you follow and love, you'll learn the mystery of what you were meant to do and be." (I Am the Light of the World, by Jim Strathdee)
And of course, a scripture verse came to mind, from 1 Kings 19:11-13:
[The Word of the LORD] said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (KJV)
Her words resonated deeply because on Wednesday, I spent thirteen hours sitting in an emergency exam room, watching my youngest, who was zoned out on Atavan and codeine, as they tried to figure out why he had suddenly changed from a good-humoured but autistic young man into a raging demon who literally broke down walls (and other things). They did x-rays, and ultrasounds, and urine and blood tests, and...
Everything came back normal. The best we can figure out is that he MIGHT have an ear infection, which was what the emerg doctor said Monday morning. But the antibiotics hadn't made any noticable difference by Wednesday, which was why we ended up back in emerg. With a police escort, I might add.
At any rate, while he was lying zoned out on the bed, I had time to sit and think and read.
And to contemplate where I had been and where I was going to go. Those thirteen hours of being mostly alone in my head constituted a watershed moment for me.
First off, I finally came to accept in both head and heart that I would never, ever be able to take a job outside the home again. While this behaviour is definitely not normal, even normal events mean that someone (meaning Mom) has to be home. If the weather is bad and Robin can't go to work. If he's got a cold, or a dentist or doctor appointment. Even if he does go to work, I need to drive him there at nine, and pick him up at 3:30, and be on call in between those hours in case there's a problem.
My head knew this, of course, but my heart was saying, "But I've got these nifty degrees, and I'd love so much to work for a non-profit or a church or something. Maybe even just part time? Please?"
Reality? I've had trouble this week finding time to deliver my papers. And sleep. And do the dishes and the laundry.
So, in the silence, God was with me. "What are you doing here, Ruth?"
And out of the silence, a new seed was planted. Reading two recent books on how to make both a life and a living, and thinking about my real mission in life. About why I am where I am. About what I am doing here.
I am, of course, here to help myself, my family, and my brothers and sisters around the world to live a better life. I have particular skills that I have developed over the years, and some innate talents and passions that have always been there.
I can write about these, and help others develop them. I can speak, and preach, and do other things.
Partway through, I realized that I have family members who might be willing co-conspiritors, most notably my sort-of ex-husband ("sort-of" because we're separated, but not divorced, and we work together to raise our family and keep things running smoothly). Sitting in emergency gave us time to talk about that, too.
He read the first little bit of the book (Be a Free Range Human, by Marianne Cantwell) while I was at lunch, and remarked when I got back that he now had a clearer idea of where I was trying to go. We talked about some ideas I'd had, and even though he has no plans to quit his job (he loves it, even if he does complain about it daily), he's on board to help out as he can and encourage.
Out of the silence wisdom, and a fledgling idea that just maybe will lead to a better life for myself and others.
And a lot of work. I have no doubt about that, but I'm up to it.
I just need to remember to take time every once in a while to listen in silence, to hear God speaking, so that the path and the purpose will remain clear.