Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Edge Of Loss

I sit here typing away on a laptop, currently warm and sheltered from the cold outside. It may seem that all is well, but reality is a... Uh... Well, let's say that reality is not nice. Reality is a harsh wind in the face of a soft hope.

I could say a great deal about reality right now. I could rant and rail, which would be fitting for this blog I guess. I could complain, but who'd actually read the whole article at that point? No. Though I have one hundred and one things to say about reality, I'll stay quiet.

The truth is that reality has two edges. With one edge it cuts us deeply. With the other, it clears a path for us to walk. God's Word is indeed a lamp unto our feet, but I have noticed that God uses reality to make sure we're awake.

Wasteland Of Desperation

night in the desert
Courtesy of Freely Photos - Credit: Mohammad Alizade
As I sit here typing, I have a few tabs open in my browser. One is a job search. Yes, I have been placing applications. I average about five a day. I also call the companies where I've applied if I don't hear from them within seven days.

The rule I live by when seeking work is simple: "My future in God's hands, my resume in everyone else's." This is a great rule. It has worked well in the past. It is not working right now. In fact, I haven't worked steadily in over two years. That means that the rule hasn't worked for me in over two years.

I have worked some odd jobs here and there. Most have amounted to day labor. Due to God being good, my family has never wanted for a roof, food, warmth or transportation. Until now. Until this moment. This night when I stare total loss in the face and wonder what comes next.

Death Of The Faithful

My wife and I have had a faithful car for as long as we have been married, some four years now. It was her car before I married her. It has been a good car to us and our baby.

Last night, I lost reverse. Then I began losing speed. Our car sits outside tonight on life support. She is able to start. She is able to run. She is unable to keep going for much longer though. She is certainly unsafe for the daughter that so loves car rides. She is too wounded to be trusted with my wife.

Tomorrow, I will likely take her on one final drive. We will ride slowly with her hazard lights blinking away. I may or may not be crying. I know how silly that sounds.
Courtesy Free Images - Credit: Brian Tan

I will think of all the fond memories we have made with her. The night my wife and I made our way to the hospital. The day we returned with our daughter. The long road trip to New England to visit my family. Visits, long talks, earnest prayers, rehearsed lines for opening night... All within this faithful car.

Our destination will be the local Junk Car Medics. They will put money in my hands, and I will walk away. She will have made one final sacrifice for her family. I will feel like Judas.

Sour Hopes And Sick Hearts

My family lives in a studio apartment now. Two adults and one infant in an apartment the size of a modest motel room. We wait for red tape to be cleared elsewhere. At some point, my phone will ring. A friendly voice on the other end will tell me that my family and I can finally move. That we are finally fully funded.

Yet we have waited and waited. The phone does not ring. Our savings account drains and still the phone does not ring. I write articles to sell. I write more than I sell. Still the phone does not ring.

I forgot, I'm afraid. I forgot what it felt like to have hopes and dreams go sour. I forgot what it's like to have my heart become uncomfortable. Then spiral from discomfort to discouraged. From discouraged to agonized. From agonized, to sick.

Hopes held too closely ferment. When they are not kept properly, they grow old. They begin to wrinkle, peel and stink. At the height of their souring, they begin leaking. The toxin of the once promising hope begins to poison the heart. Naturally the heart grows ill.

Bait And Switch

Yesterday I was finally able to get a job. Sort of. It's on a day to day basis. Weather tends to affect the schedule. Temperature is an issue also. If things get too cold there can be no work. Yet income is income. I cannot afford to be proud.

I spoke with my future employer yesterday afternoon. I was on a hands-free device while driving. I was able to tell him that I had transportation. Then last night she began to die. Now we have to sell her for scrap.

Will I still have a job? I was supposed to start on Tuesday. I don't know what the day after tomorrow will bring. I hope to be working. I just have to get there.

The Meeting Place

Many paths meet on a dark desert night. That night is now. Will I be working on Tuesday? Will they buy our car tomorrow? Will disaster be avoided for another week? Or will rent go unpaid? Will we be sent over the edge of loss? 

I simply don't know. I know we are here in spite of all I've done. I know we still cling to hope. I know that dreams never really die. They mutate perhaps. Sometimes they become zombies and return to bite us. They never really die.

The biggest thing I have to remember is that more than problems meet here. This is the hard place where God's power crashes into the rock of troubles. When all is said and done, I know we'll be all right. I'm just convinced.

We'll be together in the meeting place. No more rock. No more hard place. No more blind curve in the road of life. We'll be beyond this trouble. There will be others to be sure. Each time, I know that we'll be there again. 

At the meeting place on the edge of loss.

[The second installment in what is becoming a series can be found HERE.]