Monday, February 13, 2012

In The Desert

I watched as his face lit up. It was great to be able to be a part of such an extravagant, well appreciated gift. The whir of the blades got louder and more fervent as the copter lifted straight up in the air, masking the squeal I gave out as my stomach did a loop. Shane was grinning from ear to ear, watching out the panes of glass that separated us from the air we were flying through.

As the chopper ceased its vertical climb, the pilot eased the stick forward and the glass bubble tilted dramatically forward, gathering speed. Flight in a helicopter was so very different than that of an airplane. It was incredible to be able to see so much. From the bubble above us, to the panels at the nose, it was like flying without a plane at all. The Strip of Vegas, always bustling and full of people, gave way to neighborhoods. There were sleepy little homes, and shopping centers, and soon it got sparser. The homes got larger and more extravagant, the lots got bigger. And then, like we had crossed some invisible threshold, we were flying over desert. The desolation such a contrast to the oasis of the city, with its sprinkler systems and its million dollar landscaping.

This terrain was deserted, nothing for miles as far as we could see. It was craggy and empty, barely any vegetation to be seen save a few cacti and scrubby looking bushes here and there. The rest looked like I would imagine the surface of Mars. There were ravines, miles of duney looking mounds, and sand forever... How did anyone come upon this barren land in the early '50's and imagine anything but their own doom? The flight was incredible, a gift unimaginable for my husband's 40th birthday. We talked about the images we both saw from the helicopter. We agreed it was akin to being dropped on the moon's surface: barren, foreign, unrecognizable and frightening to think about being left there alone.

Without trying to sound terribly dramatic, that's my life right now. Barren, desolate, dry, sparse, unrecognizable and terrifying. I can't say that much has changed, except me. I have changed. And I am not sure I like it. In fact, that is a lie... I know I don't like it - I don't like me! I don't recognize my reactions, I don't recognize my own voice... It is humiliating and frustrating and unconquerable - and lonely. Oh yeah, is it lonely.

I don't like the sound of my own voice. I can't stand the complaining, the bad attitude, the lack of gratitude. I have retreated from the interactions in my life because I can't take another moment of hearing that self serving, whiny voice of mine. I open my mouth to answer a question and crap falls out.. Whiny, narcissistic crap! If I look puzzled when I am talking to you, it is because I am! Who the hell is this chick? A friend of mine was having a "discussion" with her husband not too long ago about the very same attitude issues when she blurted out, "Well, at least you can get away from me!" That is exactly how I feel right now. I can't get away from me!

So how do I cope? Honestly, I haven't got a clue. I was hoping maybe you would let me know... (wink, wink) I wish there was a place that once the roller coaster hormones set in, a bus rolled up to your house, a lovely man-person escorted you aboard for a short ride and you were dropped off at a spa-like venue. You would be handed a martini, given a plate of something yummy and told to go relax while they got your crazy attitude all straightened out. Once it was all resolved and you were once again among sane and desirable company, you would be returned to your life, given an in-depth tour and a month's free tech support. Wouldn't that be heavenly? (sigh)

Yeah, don't count on it! As part of His desire to see His people grow and mature, God seems to have another plan. Not that He's telling any of us about it - Oh no! That might come as a little helpful and not at all aggravating... (See? That's the chick I am dealing with! Pain in the tuckus, isn't she?) As it is, I have only a few tools in my arsenal to deal with this monster I am calling pre-menopause (although "crappy-attitude-ed-ness" may be a better diagnosis...). I have my bible, a few inspiring devotionals and prayer - which thankfully, I am never without. So, in that spirit, I start looking for answers and some very irritating things come to light. I can't seem to get away from the tried and true concept that God will not give me more than I can handle. Seriously? Is that it? That is all I get? Wow. (Rolls eyes like a 15 year old girl, "So gross!")

But then, if that is all God is willing to say to me, I guess I need to take a good look at it. First off, I must be buff! If God thinks I can handle raging hormones, crappy attitude-ed-ness (I swear it is a condition!), and lack of friends because of it, I must have muscles I didn't know anything about! It's a virtual Woman Vs Wild around here. But if it makes me a bit leaner (hopefully not much meaner), if my water comes directly from the hand of God and even if He asks me to crunch a few bugs for sustenance, I have to believe that I can do it. I can do it because He says I can. I can trust that God sees I won't break from this, I won't have to be here forever, and I am actually not alone in this desert. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Phil 4:13 And for those that like the Message translation like I do... "Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am." (Emphasis mine... all mine!)

I am an all-or-nothing kinda gal. I can't seem to make my mind take pieces-parts of much of anything, so if the Bible is true (and I believe that it is), and God is truly God (and I believe that He is) - Then I have to believe that no matter what it looks like on the outside, God has it all handled and He won't leave or forsake me - even to myself. He promised ... He says I can handle it, and He says where I am unable, He is absolutely equipped... And I am going to believe Him... (gulp)

My hope is only that I don't have to spend everyday in the desert. I hope that I can listen a little better than to have to wander around here for 40 years. (OMGoodness! Can you imagine 40 years of menopause? *shudder*) I pray that if you are in a "desert" yourself, whether hormonal or situational, that you can also look around and know that you are not alone. God is there. He is reaching out to you in ways that may look very suspicious. Trust Him anyway. Just because we don't understand it, doesn't mean it won't have incredible value.... Someday.

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If you are going through a time that you don't like yourself, share... We can encourage each other. If you have made it through a time like this, share as well - I could use the hope!