May 03, 2013
Nearly everyone in the universe knows the Bible story of Noah's Ark. We're all familiar with the pictures of animals going up the wooden ramp two by two, or floating about on the water with giraffe heads sticking out the top. We discuss whether dinosaurs could have been on the Ark, and seriously, why were cockroaches allowed to board? If I were Mrs. Noah, I think I would have accidentally forgotten to watch where I stepped!
It isn't very pleasant to think about the people who didn't get their heavenly cruise tickets. but just imagine with me, for a moment, what it must have been like when the clouds rolled in and those first drops fell. See, up to that point, it had never rained! And Genesis says the skies "broke open"! What did they think? What did they say? Someone invented the first umbrella that day. Too bad they don't get any credit!
Now let's switch scenes to the floating zoo. I can't even begin to fathom what those first couple days were like! The noise, for one thing! Did the animals wander around freely, or were they penned into stalls? Where did Mrs. Noah do her cooking? How did they keep the animals out of the people food supply? (There's that cockroach question again!) And who got the honor of "pooper scooper"? The chaos must have been overwhelming! At first.
Eventually, however, things must have settled down. Some sort of routine developed, and the novelty began to wear off. After all, it rained for forty days and nights. And then they floated around for another year waiting for things to dry off. What did they talk about? What did they do? They didn't even have Monopoly or Full House reruns! Even in the midst of a mighty move of God, surely there were thoughts of, "Are we there yet?" and "When I get off this boat, the first thing I'm gonna do is..."
We are in the forty days and nights stage. Since AIDS became a part of our life, there have been specialist visits, a hospitalization, applications, phone calls, interviews, and out-of-state company. Most of that has tapered off, and we are left trying to find the balance between pretending it all isn't there, and letting it consume us. And I have to confess, I'm feeling a little whiny. Is he gonna feel this way forever? Do you even know how long it's been since there's been any bedroom action? Am I destined to have my home decorating theme be "pharmacy"? I'm ready for it to stooopppp rraaiiinninngg!!!
As weird as this sounds, I am proud of myself for feeling this way. I know, I need to explain! See, as long as I can remember, I've always worn rose-colored glasses to look at life. My mother used to say I was her PollyAnna baby. While this outlook is nice in theory, the yang to the ying is that I end up developing expectations. This is the way life should work. This is the way I should feel. And since life doesn't often take my opinion seriously (what's with that anyway?), I'm left with two choices: bitterness or denial. I've opted for denial, ignoring or minimizing unpleasant emotions. So recognizing and allowing them is kinda grown-up for me!
I guess one lesson God wants me to learn right now is: Wherever you are, be there. Don't dance around the pain, or paste a plastic smile on your face. Find a way to acknowledge it all, and don't be afraid. It will pass. In fact, it WON'T pass unless you DO experience it! Respect your soul by listening to everything it has to say, and somehow, somewhere, find someone else who will listen. It's only by leaning into the wind that we weather the storm. I think that if we minimize pain, we are limiting God. Telling Him to use His "nice" voice. His "inside" voice. I never thought of it that way before, but it makes sense.
I don't want to end this with some wise, superior words of advice. I just want to open my arms and heart to whoever is reading this and tell you that you are beautiful. Every part of you, even the parts with scars or open wounds. I see the beauty in you, and slowly, I will learn to see the beauty in myself.