My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Friday, April 20, 2012

A few verses and Peters Woods

Will you indulge me a few moments of inspiration this morning? My friend Sharon (whose dad and my dad have been friends for 30-some-odd years, we grew up in the same little church) sent me this passage last night and I said, "yes... thank you!... exactly! .... amen!" all the way through it. 

Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; 
Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion:
In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me:
He shall set me high upon a rock. 
I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

Psalm 27:3, 5, 13-14

I don't want to preach but I do want to just offer up that selection of verses as my themes for the day:

no fear
hidden... yet....exalted

At least those are the themes that reach out and grab me. 

I mentioned yesterday how exhausting it can be to stay positive when the pause button has been pushed. It's a season - a brief season - of uncertainty for us and we know that we can't continue to exist under our current circumstances, any more, truthfully, than we could have expected to continue to exist under the circumstances I was living and working in before. There is a quality of life issue involved. The constant pain... constant feeling of being unappreciated... inability to do even the basic things in life at the end of a work day... we were surviving but we weren't really living what I would call an abundant life. 

I don't know what lies ahead. As I was messaging with one of my dear mother hens this morning, there are many variables and moving parts and potential outcomes for my situation. Will I win the appeal over unemployment? Will I be able to find another job in this area? Will I be physically able to continue full time employment in perhaps a more conducive setting for me? Would it be better for Austin and I to NOT be living on our own? Should I pursue other passions and interests that, although they may not pay as well, would be more fulfilling? Should I file for disability? What means of income would we, could we have in the interim? 

I'm trying to reconcile the concept of being hidden yet exalted. "In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me"... and... "He shall set me high on a rock". It means one thing to me but I'd be interested to hear what you guys think. I see it as... being safe and secure, tucked away from harm (like when Trouble gets under the bed)... yet, although I'm not in the spotlight, although I'm not receiving fame and fortune and human accolades... in the scope of God's kingdom, I'm important and valued and, well, special. 

Can you imagine how easy it would be as an unemployed, single, almost empty nester with chronic pain to feel like you don't matter? Yet. Maybe I have a falsely inflated sense of self-worth but I do, definitely, one hundred percent, without hesitation or reservation, feel that my life makes a difference... that it has in the past, that it will continue to in the future, that even when I am alone I am not forgotten... hidden in the tabernacle, set high on a rock. 

And without getting too "theological" here... because that's not really my strong suit... for me, the "tabernacle" is the place where the Holy Spirit was. There are all these rules and regulations set forth in the Old Testament about how, when, why, who, etc can go into the tabernacle. It was portable - unlike the temple, which was a permanent place. It was only for the most special of Godly people. Jesus Christ, of course, by his death, burial and resurrection, I believe, granted us, as believers, entry into the tabernacle and even into the Holy of Holies, the most sacred place. Like the cat under the bed. 

And the rock... for me... is the firm foundation of faith. I'm 5'1 or 5'2, depending on whether I'm standing up straight. Not very tall. And since I've lost some of my mobility and flexibility, I can't really jump or climb like I used to. And... thanks to fifteen months of bad combinations of medicine and lack of movement and lack of discipline... I'm not exactly featherweight. That's a pretty big God to be able to haul my chunky self up on a rock, even if it is figurative and not literal. Even if it IS just figurative, the things that are weighing me down are a lot to drag up "high on a rock". I'm carrying a heavy burden, y'all. So it's precious to me to know that He can and will tote me up on a rock, exalted, even. 

I would have lost heart unless I had believed... this is all so overwhelming and could be, if I let it, discouraging and frightening and ... well, all of those things that we feel when we don't know where the pathway is taking us. 

When I was a kid there was this place near us that we called, "Peter's Woods". And in Peter's Woods there supposedly lived a colony of what we referred to as "water heads". I wasn't entirely sure of why "water heads" (a horribly, politically incorrect term for people with hydrocephalus)... why they were so scary or why they would be living in some group encampment out in the "vast wilderness" of south Fulton county / Fayette County, Georgia. I guess it was our version of zombies. Not really sure. At any rate... some well-intentioned but totally misguided youth pastor had this overnight "spook hunt" for us and took all of us out (riding in the back of pickup trucks, if I remember correctly) and made us get out IN PETER's WOODS! IN THE DARK! WITHOUT FLASHLIGHTS! Looking back... it was a liability claim just waiting to happen and it was during the time of the missing and murdered young people in Atlanta so it's not as if we were living in Mayberry!  

So this group of us is huddled together inching forward through the woods trying to figure out the path just by the moonlight. Maybe this was some evangelical effort to have us give our hearts to Jesus before our bodies were sacrificed to the water heads. I don't know. I just remember it was terrifying as we walked along. You would hear a scream from someone nearby and not know what they were screaming about. I should also point out that my sweet brother and his friends hid in the woods and jumped out and grabbed me and scared the dickens out of me. When I die before him, at least part of the reason will be because he took ten years of my life off that night.

That's what this season of life feels like for me. I'm surrounded by friends. None of us really know where my path is leading. It's dark. It's unfamiliar territory. There isn't a flashlight. There is just a little moonlight and a little faith. There are pitfalls and scary things out in the darkness but I have to keep moving despite my uncertainty. 

Time to get a shower, see if I can figure out how to style my hair. I wasn't thrilled with the cut yesterday, I think I could have done a better job with a bowl and a pair of my coupon cutting scissors. I don't really have any big, exciting plans for the day but I'm not going to lay around in my pjs with bedhead and no makeup. Hope you have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!


Red*Hot@52! said...

Wow, Peters Woods. I haven't heard many mention that in a very long time, and I totally forgot about the "waterheads" that supposedly lived there.