I admit it – I get a bit nervous about any cosmic event. Read the post in the link above.
I watched as Nik Wallenda walked on a 2-inch-thick steel cable, 1,500 feet above the river on the Navajo Nation near the Grand Canyon without a harness or a safety net. I can’t count how many times I held my breath when the wind blew or he would seem unsure of the next steps. My friend and I texted as we watched, wondering how much longer it would until he would reach safety on the other side. The faces of those on either side of the tightrope were filled with apprehension and concern. While viewers watched around the world, many questioned his reasoning for taking on something so dangerous without the aid of some type of safety device.
I think most of us have felt that we were walking a “tightrope” at some point in our lives. That’s where I am right now. One year ago, in July, I took those first steps out onto my tightrope. I walked out in full confidence that I was prepared in every way for the journey. I believed this was the path I was supposed to take. I had a harness and a safety net in place. I was afraid, but most things in life don’t come without some risk and willingness to follow an unknown path.
The thing is, once you are out on that rope, looking back can cause you to falter or even fall. You have to focus on each step and keep moving toward safety on the other side. When I stepped out, I couldn’t really see the other side. I just knew I couldn’t stay on the edge of the cliff any longer. Somewhere along the way, I lost my harness and my safety net. I am out in the middle of the tightrope today, and I still can’t see the other side. Things I had planned didn’t go the way I believed they would go. John Lennon’s song says, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
The part time job I counted on fell through and a second part time job did the same. Several months of being ill ended in a short visit to the hospital. Medical costs, paying for COBRA (health insurance), unexpected bills and car repairs depleted the savings that would take me until mid October when I would begin collecting Social Security Retirement. For the first time in more years than I can count, I am without health insurance. Safety net and harness are gone.
This morning I had the oil changed in my car. The service person came out to tell me that my windshield wipers were separating and I needed new ones. They would be happy to replace them for me. I asked how much it would cost. He shrugged and said, “Not very much at all. It would only be about $30.” I forced a smile and explained that I couldn’t afford that right now. I stopped at the grocery store and spent a long time trying to decide what I could afford to buy today. I am trying to eat healthy foods, but Twinkies and canned foods loaded with sodium are much less expensive. A friend invited me to meet them at the water park today. I had to say no. I came home and tried to figure out how to budget for the rest of the month since I have car taxes and a parking ticket to pay. Just as a sideline, the parking ticket was very unjust but that will be another blog post. I wonder if I will be able to afford my books when college classes start back mid-August.
Long ago, I promised myself that I would never be in a place like this again. My friend JanF. was filled with wonderful saying. She would remind me to “never say never because if you do, life will surely teach you a lesson about that. ” Much like Nik Wallenda, I have people in my life who question my decision to step out on the tightrope. They are the ones who believe I won’t make it to the other side and they are waiting to be able to say, “We told you so. ” Like Nik Wallenda, I pray and believe that God is going to protect me and be with me throughout the journey. And like Nik Wallenda, people ask, “How can you ask God to help you when you put yourself out on the tightrope?”
I sometimes say the same things to myself. Yet, I am very grateful to now have a job. It is part-time with no benefits (at least for now), but it is helping me maneuver this tightrope. I am blessed to have family and friends who are cheering me on. My daughter and her husband have opened their home and allowed me to share it with them. My health is good, for now. Someone is helping me with a plan to get my medications at a cost I can afford. Right now, my car is running well with the exception of the windshield wipers. Perhaps the tears I cry from time to time help keep the tightrope free of dust and debris, just as Nik “spat on his hands and rubbed it on the sole of his shoe for grip” when the cable gathered dust.” Nik carried a 43 pound balancing pole. Faith and prayer have become my balancing pole.
Maybe I was wrong in saying that I have no safety net or harness. When the ones I had in place failed, it seems God provided new ones. His may be much stronger and better than the ones I counted on to protect me. I can’t let fear stop me from moving forward, one step at a time. Nik talked about an earpiece that allowed his father to talk to him and encourage him as he walked across the tightrope. I don’t have an earpiece, but if I listen closely, I can hear God talk to me and encourage me. What better harness or safety net is there than that?
Narrator: Chicken Little was in the woods one day when an acorn fell on her head. It scared her so much she trembled all over. She shook so hard, half her feathers fell out.
Chicken Little: “Help! Help! The sky is falling! I have to go tell the king!”
I have written about my Grandmother in previous posts. Her ideas on religion and life in general would give even Freud cause to wonder. I became her “child” through adoption at age four so her impact on my life was significant. In fact, it has taken two amazing, determined therapists and many friends to allow me to move past her influence. Yet, there lies trapped in my brain those tapes and fears that can be triggered without warning. My rational mind understands the illogical fears that still haunt my “little girl” inside, yet the fears are real.
I have been fighting bronchitis since my Christmas gift of the flu. One round of antibiotics and prednisone seemed to work but the bronchitis came back full force. I am now on more antibiotics, double the prednisone, and breathing treatments/inhalers filled with albuterol. They tell you to rest, yet the medications make sleep improbable if not impossible. Last night I managed to fall asleep and stay asleep for four hours. I woke at 3:00am and turned on the TV looking for something to lull me back to sleep. The story of the Carnival cruise ship stuck at sea for several days captivated me. I watched the passengers finally disembarking from the ship in Mobile, Alabama as the newscast played “Sweet Home, Alabama.” Yes, it was corny, but effective. It made me laugh.
Just as I got comfortable in my fortress of sheets and pillows, the scene switched to breaking news. I saw what appeared to be a bright light go across the sky. Perhaps there was a plane crash, I thought. Then I heard the words, “meteorite hits Russia injuring more than 500 people.” The picture looked just like something from the sci-fi movies that have become so popular. I fumbled to find the remote and change the channel as quickly as I could only to find the pictures on the next channel as well. I quickly turned off the TV and tried to lose the images from my mind.
My Grandmother’s stories of meteors hitting the earth and Russia being the center of all evil came crashing into my mind much like the meteor hitting the earth. Her interpretation of the book of Revelations may leave Biblical scholars scratching their heads, but as a child, I only knew her words. She warned of the moon turning red, stars falling from the sky, loud noises, and more as God destroys our evil world. There was something in the story about good people disappearing into heaven before that, but I knew I was not good enough to be among them.
I decided to turn my mind to more productive thoughts. Where the h*** were there those radar things? I mean we watch planes on radar all the time. We can see tornadoes, hurricanes, and even thunderstorms forming. Was someone asleep at the big screen at NASA? Don’t we have plans in place to blow up a bunch of rocks falling from the sky? Or, I have I just watched Bruce Willis save the world in the movie Armageddon one too many times? Luke Skywalker or Captain Kirk would be appalled to see this.
This morning I told my daughter about my middle of the night wake experience and before I could say more, she laughed and asked if I saw the meteor news. She wanted to tell me about the “Left Behind” books and Moscow, and meteors, but I reminded her that I don’t like to talk about those things. People who know me well know that I don’t like to hear, see, or talk about such things. Maybe we are facing those end days talked about in Revelation; I don’t know. I do know that today I can walk outside my house, look at the sky, and know that I have faith in a God who is in control. I have a mortal body. One day it will die. I just hope it isn’t from a cataclysmic event like a meteor falling on me, however.
I have a friend who reads my blog and from time to time will tell me, “I can’t believe you shared that in your blog for everyone to read.” There seems to be some fear that I may have a future employer reading my blog posts who will quickly file my application away and send off the polite “we will call you if we have anything” letter. Perhaps some overly cautious suitor will check out my online profile and decide I am far too complicated to pursue. He would be right. I am willing to take that risk and continue to share my stories. Humor, sharing my stories, and prayer are the best weapons I have to fight those lingering fears…………. and stray meteors.