Move Over Gloria Gaynor
“I Will Survive“…
I hope I’m not dating myself with that reference, but I did survive so, of course, I’ve got to blog about it.
My tale of survival happened yesterday. I figured God was done teaching me about fear and that I was to meditate on that last lesson for a while. Shows what I know. It also goes to reinforce that I can make all the plans in the world that I want… but it is the LORD who determines my step. Yesterday my plan was to go to KMart and buy some pants. Little known fact about abdominal surgery: your abdomen swells as your body tries to heal. People over on the hystersisters.com website call the phenomenon “swelly belly.” Since they slice into your abdominal muscles it kinda makes sense that they’d need time to heal. The swelling can last for months and generally results in the need to wear loose clothing, dresses, or pants a few sizes too big.
I opted for bigger pants which were great after surgery #1… they even sorta fit after surgery #2… but all bets were off after surgery #3. The one pair of pants that still fit me are taking a beating after daily wear to work, so my plan was to buy two more pairs. I hopped in my car (it starts now) and I lifted up a prayer to Jesus (I do that now that my car starts)… and I drove into town (for whatever came next). MY plan was to get to the store before 7am when it’s nearly a ghost town. I still have to use one of those motorized scooters they have for seniors and disabled people. I can walk… but shopping usually ends up with me in a whole lot of pain. Just when I think I can handle shopping, I try it and then the resulting pain makes me kick myself. Trying to get around a crowded store in one of those scooter deals can be stressful, so it’s best to there early and execute my plan like a military assault — in and out in under 15 minutes.
I’d just driven past the post office when I saw it. All the blood in my knees, feet, and legs seemed to have evaporated for, there… right by my knee…was a cane spider. I don’t think one has ever been that close to me before. I always maintained that if one actually crawled on me I’d have a heart attack, pass out, and hit my head. 911 would need to be called and people would wear tasteful clothing at my funeral. None of this crossed my mind as blind panic gripped me. I was DRIVING!
Not like I could afford to have a heart attack OR pass out. I looked for something to kill it with… my red water bottle caddy? Ew. Where the heck was my fly swatter??? Yes, I keep a bright yellow flyswatter in the car for just such an occasion… but where the heck was it??
If I’d been any later the scene might have ended badly. The road that I travel into town is really tight with stores on either side. Parked cars make it even tighter and crazy tourists, unconcerned surfers, and crazy hippies (who all like to jaywalk when you least expect it) make it seem like an insane pinball machine with human targets. It can take 25 minutes of waiting bumper-to-bumper to get through this stretch of town to the intersection… whereas when it’s empty it takes about 3. Praise GOD the road was near empty because I did the only thing I could do: I swerved.
…Off the road to the nearest open curb space. With one eye on cane spider and shaking hands I tried to undo my seat belt. Where was all that mastery of fear I was talking about the day before?? I found the flyswatter and thrust open the door and jumped out as if I were passenger #96 on a downed commuter flight. With weapon in hand, I was ready to smash my eight-legged foe into oblivion… but it was gone! In my haste to get out of the vehicle it didn’t dawn on me that my frantic movements would have scared the spider. I started waving the flyswatter under the steering wheel and down by the break and the gas pedals. I banged it loudly so as to flush my prey out into the open.
One hour later and the parked cars, tourist, hippies, etc would all have been there and in my fear I would’ve hit a parked car, taken out a tourist or maimed a family of hippies… or all three things combined. I probably would’ve been rear-ended in the process. As I hunted the spider traffic started picking up. Car after car kept passing me. I had to stand up and shut my driver’s door. With the steady stream of cars building I could feel my anger rising. Didn’t they know my life had been threatened?! Anger erupted out of my mouth in a cross between a strangled yell and a grunting roar. Clearly, spider hunting by the side of a busy road was NOT part of my plan… but hell would have to freeze over before I attempted to drive my car into town.
I guess the temperature in hell has dropped significantly.
The longer I tried to out wait the cars, the more cars seemed to be coming. I hopped into my car and drove to a nearby parking lot where I could open my door as wide as I could and look for the spider.
SERIOUSLY, Jesus?? THIS is how you want to treat me first thing in the morning??
You KNEW that I’d planned to go to the store and then to work???
Hadn’t I gotten the lesson about acknowledging your fears while accepting that it’s actually God who needs to deal with them?? I couldn’t get was the point of terrorizing me first thing in the morning. I kept looking for the spider. No joy. A cop car actually pulled up… maybe it’s because I was dressed all in black in a bank parking lot. He didn’t even ask what was wrong, let alone offer to help. I kept hunting, but found no spider. Since I couldn’t go back home, I accepted it. I would have to drive with a spider on the lose in my car. I prayed about it all the way to town.
I was able to drive to KMart. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the pants I like. Fear and anger had me stopping off at the beach before going home. I haven’t stopped at the beach in eons. I probably wouldn’t have stopped had I not been playing the role of Little Miss Moffet this morning. I sat on my rock and prayed… and pondered the object lesson:
Fear: It does not work according to my plan. It just happens. And Jesus does not follow a formula for confronting it. Sometimes I will have to deal with my fears, but only in his strength. Other times, like with Spot, I just need to acknowledge my fears and watch to see what Jesus does. And other times, like with the spider two inches away from my body, I need to be prepared to confront the fear with a clear head. It made me think of that part in the bible where Nehemiah was helping to rebuild the wall. Facing discouraging words from outsiders and possible attack, Nehemiah told everybody to be prepared: and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.
The point is: they were afraid, but they had a work to do. Their swords at the ready, and they never stopped working.
and neither will I.