It was a long drive home. Stuck in Atlanta traffic, my oil light flashing and my car overheating, a pitiful voice emerging strained from my own panic-tightened throat, "Please, God!" It is a feeling known as desperation, and personally I count it among the cruelest of emotions. But there was nothing I could do, except pray (in truth, "whine" would be a more accurate term), until, one stop for oil and two hours later, the traffic let up.
Such a small thing, really. But I may as well have been on the brink of death for all the anxiety that tore around my insides, as I sat in my car with the windows down and the heat up, sweating off at least half my body weight. Yet, even in the midst of freaking out, it struck me that these are the places where God shows up. The places where we have no control. The places where He is our only option. I had asked for this. I told God I wanted more of Himself, whatever it took. He answered me. And it sucked.
Until later. When the dark settled in, broken only by the occasional flashes of heat lightning that lit the tree-lined interstate in silver for the briefest of instants. I turned off my music and talked to Him. As I spoke, asking Him about my future and telling Him how heavy the expectations of others' weigh, whole worlds crushing my narrow shoulders, my sentences began to fragment, and I started to cry. "I know, I know I asked for this. I dedicated this year to You. I didn't ask for an easy one. I only asked for You."
I don't think He said anything to me in response. Have you ever had someone just hold you and let you cry? Not asking any questions, not giving any words of advice or comfort. Just holding you tight. It was like that.
Most of the time we live under this illusion that we have life under control, but it's not really true. Occasionally, we'll get some glaring reminder of our own helplessness, and that's when the panic sets in. I want to learn to embrace it. Not the panic, but the helplessness. The desperation--mess and misery though it may be. Because in the end, it leads to letting go of all the silly things that we never actually had in the first place. It leads to the weight, melting off our shoulders like dirt in the rain. It leads to peace.