The Blame Game

My dad called earlier this afternoon. He was at the ER with my mom who’d fallen at the movie theater and gashed her head open.

Being five hours away in times like this truly makes me nauseous. However, knowing this, he struggled to find the right words so I wouldn’t be on the interstate as soon as we hung up. Unfortunately, his struggle took place AFTER I’d answered the phone.

“Look, I don’t want you to worry…” Pause.

“What?!”

“Hold on. Listen to me,” he continued. Another pause.

I pretty much envisioned the funerals of every member of my family during this second pause.

“WHAT?!” My heart was about to beat itself right out of my chest at this point. “Just tell me!”

“Your mother..” Another pause. Note to parents everywhere: figure out exactly what you’re going to say and how you are going to say it BEFORE dialing the number. Especially if your child has a tendency to overreact.

By the time he spits out the rest, my suitcase is lying on my bed and I’m not sure if I’m packing sweats for the hospital or a black dress for the church.

“…tripped and hit her head at the movie theater. But she’s okay. They’re doing an x-ray and then they are going to stitch her up.”

He then tells me that he wanted to call my sister and me before he sent a message through the family group text. I appreciated that as I would not have taken kindly to reading this hours later in a group thread that, for my sanity, stays on Do Not Disturb. It would’ve been almost as bad as finding out that the call to my sister had already been made. I AM the oldest, after all! đŸ˜‰

All kidding aside, I’m so grateful that my sister lives near our parents. I also have two daughters, a son, a daughter-in-law, and a niece and nephew that live nearby. According to Dad most of them were squeezed into the exam room this afternoon!

Once my Mom was stitched up and back home resting, my dad FaceTimed me so I could see for myself that Mom was okay. He gave me the full version of what had happened: Mom’s hands were full and he’d already gotten to his seat in the middle of the row in the darkened theater. Mom had to go past a couple sitting on the end of the row when she tripped over the lady’s knee and fell forward, landing on her knees and hitting her head on the brackets that bolt the seats down.

I’d heard enough. “THAT MONSTER!” I yelled. Maybe I used a synonym. “She couldn’t move her legs? I hope she felt awful. Did she feel awful? Did it ruin her day? I hope she couldn’t enjoy the movie!”

I was really mad at this woman.

Laughing, Dad said, “You sound like your daughter. And your sister.” Both he and Mom went on to tell me how helpful the couple was, even getting her to the car after applying pressure to her head to stop the bleeding.

Mom insisted the lady had done nothing wrong; she had, in fact, moved her legs. Mom insisted  it was no one’s fault despite my insistence that SOMEONE must pay for this.

“Why is this family so sue-happy?” she asked.

In a moment of clarity, I realized a profound truth. No one wanted to sue anyone. We weren’t really even mad at the lady. We were powerless and helpless and had been scared. There was nowhere to direct all of those emotions so we looked for someone to blame.

Blaming someone when things go wrong helps you regain a sense of control.

Someone has to pay for our misery.

The thing is, Jesus already did.

We’re supposed to take all of our fears and sorrow and lay them at the cross, where He laid down His LIFE for us.

No matter what happens.

 

 

When God Goes Radio Silent

Ask any mother of a three-year-old in the “Why?” stage and she will tell you that silence is golden. But for the rest of us, silence can be a little disconcerting.

I remember having to adjust to the constant sound of traffic when I stayed at my grandmother’s house after they four-laned her road. Soon sleep became synonymous with cars whizzing by. When she renovated her home and added a well-insulated guest bedroom in the back, it was eerie to sleep in such silence.  I hadn’t realized how much the noise enveloped my sleep.

Or how much the sounds of children playing or even fighting can lull you into a comfortably numb stage. But let those same children go silent and you are immediately on high alert.

We need the audible reminders that all is well.

No one wants their world to go radio silent, that time between programs where only dead air is broadcast.

Yet, many times, we feel as if God has gone radio silent on us.

There are many reasons why this may be the case:

  • His words are falling on deaf ears.

I know this one well, both figuratively and literally. I can’t hear out of one ear so I miss a lot of what is being said. But just because I don’t hear it, it doesn’t mean no one is speaking. I’m just not tuned in to that person.

Another thing that happens is that we don’t really want to hear what’s being said. We’ll ask the Lord a question and then stick our fingers in our ears in case His answer is something we don’t want to hear.

Take your fingers out and listen for His plans for us are to prosper, not to harm. What He wants for us may not be what we want, but it will always be what’s best for us.

  • You’ve moved out of range.

You know the saying about when God is no longer next to you, YOU’RE the one who moved? This is true. He doesn’t move to get away from your sin; you move so you can sin more easily. No one stands right next to the Father and easily turns to darkness.

Think of your communication with God as being with a tin can phone. Sure, He can use satellite and reach you anytime, anywhere, but He prefers the old school approach. You can’t hear that voice on the other end of the tin can unless you’re standing pretty close.

  • You’re being tested.

Job had every one of his blessings removed and was told time and again by those he loved to renounce God. Job couldn’t hear God at all during this time of testing yet he still knew He was there. He refused to lose faith.

It’s a tricky situation when you find yourself in the midst of a trial. You wonder if it’s of your own making. At best, you wonder why God doesn’t intervene; at worst, you feel forsaken by Him.

Just because you don’t hear Him doesn’t mean He’s not there. Trust Him. Examine your heart- see if there’s something that may be hindering your relationship with the Creator. If not, you may be going through a time of testing. Be faithful. These tests end with double blessings if you stay the course.

 

It All Comes Out in the Wash

Miranda Lambert has a new song called “It All Comes Out in the Wash”.

I kind of like the song; basically it’s about how all of your problems work out one way or another anyway so you might as well not stress about it.

Of course, we do anyway.

Just yesterday my “laundry list” was getting so full that I was struggling with writing. Or reading. Or exercising. Or really, anything but drinking Coke and watching reruns of Friends. (While okay at times, it isn’t the most productive way to spend entire days!)

I knew I was in danger of falling into a hole, one that practically digs itself every time the numbers on the scale go up and in the checkbook balance go down.

The pressure of gift-buying at Christmas shop-vacs the dirt out of the hole even faster.

So I’m sitting there, half-praying but also a little bit mad because I’m dealing with these things that the Lord could’ve taken care of and He didn’t and I realize I’m in a dangerous place.

Do you ever get there?

I know better, almost like a kid who’s already felt the shock of putting a metal fork in an electrical outlet but decides to see if it’ll shock him again. (Hint: It will!) So I know not to let myself get down or, worse, to get mad at God. Not only is the anger sin, it’s a complete lack of faith.

Yet there I stood with the metaphorical fork in hand.

I ended up calling my middle daughter.

She’s always been the best sounding board, the kind of friend who listens and says she understands without giving advice or telling you where you went wrong yet somehow letting you  know you are completely justified in your feelings.

I went through my list, checking off each item of hurts, frustrations, and fears just like I was tossing the filthy clothes in the wash.

When I was done, I felt better.

I can’t change some of the things- they are beyond my control.

But I can keep hurts from forming bitterness. I can trust God to take care of situations beyond my control. And I can start looking UP and not around more.

Eventually we must give all of our dirty laundry to Him.

But sometimes it helps to let a loved one sort it with you first!