Thursday, February 2, 2012

What a Day.

It started last night, really. When I knew I needed to get to bed, and I also knew that today I would be making the trek to CarMax to hope for the best regarding an offer for my car.

My 2003 Acura RSX Type-S (6 speed manual)
I thought about the first memory of driving it off the lot, when my now ex-husband had the dealership put a giant red bow on the hood when we went to pick up the car… the smell of the leather when it was brand new, the way it handled so tight, the way I thoroughly enjoyed breaking in the engine and spreading her wings…

Over the years, that car has been more than just a mode of transportation. It’s more than just a possession to me. It’s more than a way of getting from A to B.

I’ve always loved driving, of course. It’s a passion for me. But with my Acura being my first brand new car, ever, it does and will always hold a very special place in my world. Perhaps for those of you who view a car as nothing more than a mode of transport, substitute whatever other passion you might have, and you might start to see my point.

I went to bed and ended up sobbing for a little while, knowing that while I am fully willing to let go of this possession, it’s still a grieving process that I have to endure.

I woke up with a heavy heart this morning.

I had a great writing (and talking, and sharing) session with John, who is my guinea pig writing coaching client. He and I have become great friends.

I’d like to share a couple of things I wrote during our time together this morning. It will make this particular blog post long, but no one has strapped you to the chair and forced you to read it, ya know?
I’m tired of thinking about it, but I need guidance. I have asked for help—from friends, trusted mentors, and of course from God. I am with Him. I can feel his hand on me, on my shoulder, even now. But I don’t yet have any answers, and that is what is painful. I have listened—sat in silence in my car, in my home… listening to music is almost too much for my brain and my heart right now. Silence is what calms me… deafens my deep interior.
And still, I have no answers. And still, I am uncertain of what tomorrow brings—let alone next week. I am scared, yes—and still I am finding a way to function, to take care of at least the bare minimum of what needs to be done. I am low down on Level 2 of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs right now. Hunkered down. On my knees… still. In a way I never have before, I am submitting. It’s worse than uncomfortable—it’s painful. And I know why it’s painful: I am resisting.
I am still fighting it in my own way—it’s like I’m that black knight in Monty Python & The Holy Grail. My legs and arms have been hacked off by a sword, and still, I’m arguing with King Arthur as he quasi-gallops away.
“Come back here, I’ll bite your legs off!”
It’s useless. I know. And I get now what it’s about… denial. I am still denying that this is all really happening. I am still denying that I may actually have to lose everything. I don’t feel that’s the case—I don’t feel like I should have to lose everything. Is it a sense of entitlement? I don’t think so, but maybe I’m wrong… certainly wouldn’t be the first time.
I guess what I need is… answers. I have asked questions and certainly not the questions I used to ask (Why me? Where is this God everyone talks about so much? Why do bad things happen to good people?).
My questions are not so universal. Why me isn’t even in my vocabulary anymore.
I guess this feels… personal. Like maybe I’m not good enough for his favor.
I am sad that it's really come to this. That I really do have to sell my car. That I really am that broke, and that out of options.

That last line really stung, though. Even just to write it down was hard. I felt the resistance in my hand, but as tears welled up in my eyes, I knew I had to come clean with that level of honesty.

John reassured me that he saw faith in me. That even though I have these questions, there is still a peace about me that he hadn't seen before. I agree with him.

For whatever reason, I ended up writing the last piece in third person. Weirdly, it’s as if I was writing it as it was happening to me.
Naked. Nervous. Foreign.
She read those words on the page—the page that described her sudden clinging to Jesus, the page that she had written, and suddenly a calm washed over her that she wasn’t even aware she needed. Deeper than peace, and something certainly not sustained or maintained by her. No. Serenity comes directly from God.
And gaining the reassurance she needed, from her friend, and from her own words, from the voice deep within her and the voice in every particle of air around her, in every cell of her body, in her very DNA: God’s voice.
The answer had come.
She felt it then—the understanding that her next step was selling the car, and just as she’d been saying the few days before, she said again: “I can only handle one thing at a time right now. What is the next thing?”
Only the next thing.
It’s the tiny details of all that could happen and all that could go wrong. It’s one thought leading to another thought and then a flurry of thoughts after that—of the worst that could happen, and the striving, the fighting, the resisting of saying, “How do I prevent that worst thing from happening?”.
That’s where she got overwhelmed… when she tried to provide her own solution before it was time.
She got that now.

I wrote some more after John left, I had some lunch, and I finally made my way to CarMax.

I had a great experience at CarMax, and the guy could tell I have an emotional attachment to my car. I got a reasonable offer, and I’m going to go through with it on Monday… I just need my car through the weekend (and I need to clean it out, which I won’t get to do until Sunday evening).

On the way home, I felt the tears streaming down my cheeks and on a whim, I pulled into Bachman Lake to watch planes land and walk around and stare at the water.

I didn’t realize I was in for a little treat… a little distraction, even.

I ran into these four clowns. In a row.
Ducks in a row...
 For whatever reason, they immediately took an interest in me and started following me around.

I walked for a ways and stopped at the most magnificent pecan tree. It immediately catapulted me back to childhood and the giant pecan tree in the front yard of the house I grew up in—the one that was struck by lightning and was badly bruised for a while, but over time, it healed up and kept growing. I often leaned against that tree, marveled at the bark, and gazed up into its branches, wondering what the world might look like from way up there.

I leaned against this tree and felt its power. I let it hold me as I stared blankly out at the rippling water.

The ducks plopped into the water and swam down to where I walked. They swam down farther and then doubled back and got out of the water right in front of me.

I watched them for a while. They watched me for a while. But this one was really stuck on me, apparently. I’ll call him Rusty, because his coloring was a little different from the others. He stayed near me the whole time I was at the lake. He didn’t get in the water when the others did. He stayed on the ground about 20 feet from me. When the others got back out of the water, he came closer to me.

And when I started to leave, Rusty followed me.

And then the rest of the ducks joined him.

They meandered towards a patch of clover, and I stopped, again remembering my childhood and wondering how many hours I’d spent in my front yard, searching in vain for the ever-elusive four-leaf clover.

Rusty was intrigued that I squatted down to his level to take a picture of the clover, and he stood very still, very close in front of me for a full minute, looking at me, as if he was posing for me to take this picture. So, of course, I indulged him.
Rusty, striking a pose
I walked to my car to see if I had any nuts or other acceptable food with me, and I didn’t. I heard some geese making a bunch of commotion. These guys were chasing everybody around, honking their heads off.

Just as I thought about leaving, though, I saw this guy.

A lone swan amongst a bunch of noisy geese and ducks.

He swam right up to me, and for a minute I thought he was going to jump out of the lake. He didn’t… but he did this funky thing with one of his webbed feet, sticking it out straight, above the water. I looked down at my hand and stretched my fingers wide, and realized that his foot was as big as my whole hand.

Yeah. That dude was big!

I realized today that I am taken care of. All of my needs are met. It felt like Rusty the duck was a little angel hanging around me, making sure I was okay. The pecan tree welcomed me, supporting not only my physical weight, but my emotional weight, too. And the clovers made me smile…

And the kindness of the CarMax salesman, and the sweet words John said to me earlier today, and the messages of support and love from other friends… all carried me through this difficult day.

And while I feel particularly emotionally drained…

Yes… I am okay.

And tomorrow is another day, where I will only be concerned with the very next thing in front of me.

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