I’m swimming in blue, inundated, drowning. Bright blue on the walls and a blue flowered bedspread suffocate me when I walk into my room. Mom almost growled at me when my mind froze, as it usually does, trying to come up with how I wanted to decorate my bedroom after we built our house, so I shut down and let her decide. For me decision making is kind of like struggling to dig my way out of a hole and then having someone come along and stamp the dirt back down on top of me; I don’t know if I’ve ever known what I want. My Granny’s favorite color is blue, and as a little girl I always agreed when she asked if mine was the same…sometimes willingly, sometimes nodding in silence. When you are a kid you do that kind of thing. I’m sure that is why Mom assumed I liked blue. Here I am a teen, and I’m still doing it…nodding my head when someone tells me what they think they know I like. It’s much easier to give in.
There is one place in my room I think I like. My closet. Its walls are covered with bright orange, yellow and green flowers. The paper was put up by me, myself and I. No one helped; no one else decided. I painstakingly cut around the brackets and became a contortionist to glue that stuff up. In spite of being laughed at (which always happens), I did it. I’m proud of it, and nobody can take it away from me. It’s also not so scary if I just see it once in a while, so putting it in the closet works out very well.
For the second time this year I have brought home a bright orange, red and gold flowered quilt and accessories to update our bland bedroom. Funny thing…the second time our reaction was the same as the first. The colors and pattern still seemed to shout and assault our senses when we spread it out on our bed, hardly creating the environment our quiet introvert souls crave. OK, said I to myself, why have I repeated the same mistake? Then I remembered the above story. Definitely a connection, don’t you think? My guess is part of me is stuck back in that blue room and bright closet. How do I get out? What needs to change? Do I need to forgive? Does a pattern need to be broken? All of the above?
Right now I want to slam the door (interesting wording considering I am talking about my bedroom and closet) on this process and walk away. I have had it up to my eyeballs with past pain. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I haven’t written for about 2 weeks. And, why life has felt so dry. But avoiding never brought healing. It’s like putting off necessary surgery; the problem only gets worse or the infection just festers.
After almost a week of slogging through life as though partially immersed in a quagmire, this picture went through my mind when I lay in bed reflecting on the day. I was running on a small, oval dirt track set in small, slightly unkempt grassy field. Directly across from and facing each other on opposite long sides of the oval stood my Grandmother and my Mom; my racing feet were carving the elliptical pathway as I frantically sped round and round from one to the other. Along with that image came interpretation. I was surprised to find I was still living life trying to please them, torn by each one’s demand for loyalty, their extreme dislike of each other and the fear of losing either if I did not conform to their needs. It was clear I would never reach my goals while continuing my hopeless circular journey. I needed to break away from the gravitational pull that kept me in their orbit; then I would fly on a straight trajectory toward the dreams of my choice.
That visual then morphed into a slightly different take on the same theme. The track changed to an old fashioned firefighter’s life net with my grandmother and mom holding either side. As I sat in the middle, they jerked the rigid oval frame up and down making the inside canvas behave like a trampoline. There I flopped and bounced at their whim, completely under their influence; the only thing I could do was feel nauseated, disoriented and miserable. Again, understanding came. At alternate times in my young life I experienced each as my safety net. This was essential for me when they separately functioned as my care givers, but I no longer needed them in that capacity. Now God is my safety net. After this realization, I saw God reach for me and lift me from my unhealthy status and draw me to Himself. Holding me close in an upright position, my feet and legs dangling, He hugged me and as though assimilated through osmosis, His power calmed me. Gently and slowly He set my feet on the rock on which He stood. My weak legs wanted to collapse, so He supported me, but I was sure the longer I stayed the stronger I would become.
I was reminded of Psalm 40:1-2:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”
I have long considered these my life verses (except for the waiting patiently part; that I have not done well). Time and again I have experienced God lifting me “out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire”; always I assumed I was placed on the Rock. I may have been. But, I have never before been given a clear indication that it actually happened. Now I know; it is done. I am on the Rock. And, I will learn how to stand.