What a day it was!!! Our last day in Florida jam packed with plans. We had been spending the past several days getting ready to leave after being here for almost four months. It’s not just about getting everything out of the house. It’s also trying to figure out what to wear on the long drive home to accommodate the different weather along the way as we stop to visit family and friends, as well as leaving our home ready to be rented in our absence. Lots of work. Lots of pressure.
So we had managed to meet our goal – to be ready to leave after I finished a last dance performance for the residents of a local nursing home. All was on schedule. Yet when Sid picked me up at 4 to get a start on our drive all was not good.
The first thing Sid said to me was he lost our credit card. We put everything on this one card (and pay it off each month) to get flight miles to visit the kids and grandbabies. So this is a crisis on lots of levels as we were just to begin our 1500 mile journey home anticipating lots of charges for gas, food, souvenirs. . .
The good news was he was a little late picking me up so at that point I was deep into work emails which I had started to look at right after the performance. The reason I was deep in was that my assistant had sent something wrong to the client with my electronic signature on it, defending herself that she did so since I hadn’t responded to her emails asking her what to do. This totally unacceptable defense only added to my frustration as I continued to focus on fixing the problem. The whole situation was incredibly stressful, especially with slow thumb typing on an IPhone!
So as I exhaustingly entered the RV after a day of cleaning, packing, multi-tasking generally, rehearsing, then performing, with a work crisis in full swing, as Sid told me of the lost card my response was, “I can’t help with that right now. I’m in the middle of a work crisis. Did you retrace your steps? Where did you last use it? I’ll have to deal with that after this.”
Thank goodness I was so busy with something else! What would have been my actual emotional reaction if his/ours was the first crisis? My reasoning brain rather than my emotional heart said there was plenty time after I dealt with multiple work emails to talk with Sid.
So how did my conversation go when I finally turned my attention to our personal credit card crisis? I surely wasn’t perfect. I expressed my frustration, my fear of the card being used by someone, but thankfully there was no “How could you?!” or worse.
Checking our account on line, in fact someone was using our card – a lot! Hundreds of dollars of purchases had already been made. The situation only worsened when I called Chase to report the fraudulent charges. After three hangups by the auto system, I finally got through to a person, only to have Sid give me the wrong address of our daughter (where the new card would be sent hopefully while we’re still there in a few days). During all of this my office emails kept pouring in as I tried to unscramble the mess there.
It’s easy, well not as hard, to act godly (better appreciation for that word now!) when life is easy. What a different challenge on days such as mine was on that day! Yet isn’t the test of the depth of our walk with Him just such times? Given my state of exhaustion I’m not sure my emotional responses would have been what they were when Sid dropped the credit card bomb had my mind not been so focused on another problem. Pondering that thought is what gave me pause. That’s why I’m writing this encouragement.
No matter how much we work to stay close to Him in our walk, that day’s experience was a reminder of how much harder we have to try to do so. For life, and these times, are challenging. They will have their unexpected twists and turns that are unavoidable even with the best of planning.
There are the mental/rational ways to cope, but here’s what really works: in the moment, just say the word “love”. That’s it. And try to do that. Just love. No matter what. For when you do so you will be able to step outside of your own natural reaction and feel Him, then and there. No analysis, no rash emotion, just love. Introducing the word “love”, the challenge to love in a situation where it would seem so paradoxical to do so, completely shifts the paradigm.
I didn’t feel love at that moment. I forced myself to think “love”, and therefore to be able to receive it, my human emotions for the moment disabled. Yeshua’s unconditional, steadfast love took over enabling me to overcome my human reactions, beyond my understanding. I became able to overcome my natural inclinations and see Sid through His eyes. Imagine how our Abba must do this countless times to love us unconditionally while watching all of us mess up so often!
Saying that, trying to feel that, repeating that at the most illogical time to say it may seem crazy. But it worked! Having a mental distraction as I did at the time he first told me helped in my initial response to Sid, but love was the clincher. I just said to myself, “I love this guy” which led my heart to a place of forgiveness, a place recognizing we all mess up.
I am so grateful judgmental words never even came to mind which given the tiredness and stress I was feeling could have been a very real possibility. Without Yeshua’s presence within my heart I would not have had that “godly” love beyond love to remind me of the fragility of each and every one of us.
Through our times of difficulty, and how we are guided through them if we let Him in, we are given a glimpse of His Divine Mercy.
That evening when I went to bed I told Sid I probably wouldn’t have a Shabbat encouragement to share this week since they don’t come when I’m busy and/or stressed. Yet as the morning birds greeted us the next morning in our cozy Winnebago (the Pugabego n/k/a the Mitzvah Mobile), the sun streamed through the little windows, our one remaining fur baby gave us kisses, and I felt so rested and peaceful, I knew what I was to share, once again. . .