If you've ever seen that poem "What I've Learned", you might remember the line that says: "I've learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people you don't even know".
Last week was beyond bizarre. Not because it was different than any other week, but because I lost sight of keeping a sane perspective on life in general. I usually float through each work week with ease. My job is incredibly rewarding, uplifting, and hugely satisfying. There's not a day I wake up, after taking full ms inventory of functioning parts, that I don't look forward to going to work. In fact, I could think of no better career to have than what I've got.
But last week, I lost it. The stresses of life creep up like my own personal Jenga and, if I don't stay in the Word and keep God first, I can feel the swelling in the back of my neck, the jabbing pains in my face and head, and I know it's coming. I've woken "Alice", who feels as if she needs to throw a five star par-tay in my body. This time, she hit me with a major dose of emotional lability (aka emotional incontinence) that nearly landed me in my local psych ward. Thankfully, a friend of mine from school manages that floor of our local hospital, so she may have let me out on my own merit. Or, at the very least, provided me with a good cup of coffee after the breakdown subsided.
So here's what happened. I had an issue with one of our bank accounts and decided to stop in in person to correct it. It's a very long story, but suffice to say it was typical of our luck and the answer was unfavorable. As I was walking out of said bank, all I could think of was how my husband and I have been having our back ends handed to us for nearly a year straight in all things money, and how we work so many jobs and hours (8 W2's sitting on my desk to file for '09, still ain't anywhere close to what we made in '08, but we're thankful for the jobs in today's economy). And that so much of our money is spent on fees, because we never seem to get paid in time to avoid being late. Like if something's due the 10th, we'll not have the money til the 15th. Over a year ago, no biggie. 2010? Biggie. Wasted money that we don't have, wasted hours that we've just worked...for nothing. And when you're me, virtually willing yourself out of bed on many mornings, due to fatigue? It gets to you. I took a fateful trip down memory lane. It made me then think of how much of ourselves we put into our old jobs and how it just didn't seem fair that we no longer had them. See the spiral into the abyss of "Me Me Me"? I forgot about God and how He closes windows and opens new doors. I was feeling more thrown through the window at that point. Train wreck in 3...2...
As I slowly walked the walk of sorrow to my car, I was overcome. Whatever verklempt is, times that by 10. I began to cry, which is something I don't do. My legs became weaker and weaker. By the time I got to my car, my legs quit. So there I was, kneeling on the curb, hand on door handle, crying hysterically. Not sure what came over me, but I yelled, "MY GOD! HELP ME!" (hello, fancy white jacket that opens in back with pretty buckles!) I then crawled into my car, tucked safely in the comfort of my 20% window tint, and completely broke down. What seemed like hours later, and I still don't know how much time transpired, a knock came on my window. It was just some poor guy who was pumping his gas next door and heard my yell.
He asked if I was alright - I couldn't speak. He said it looked as if I was married (had my hands over my face, he saw my ring) - I couldn't speak. He asked if he could call my husband for me - still couldn't speak. Nothing but tears flying, scream crying, and being completely out of control. But then, out of nowhere...I started laughing. Alice! Not now! Not emotional incontinence! I already looked crazy enough to this poor guy. He then asked if he could call an ambulance. Alas, my gift of speech returned. I screamed, "NO! I can't pay for that!" He looked at me like Pee Wee looked at Large Marge when she made that classic face.
He sat there with me for who knows how long, just talking, asking me if I counted my blessings that day. I hadn't. So we did that together. All the while, I flip flopped from welling up with tears to laughing and back again. So I explained to this perfect stranger that, you see, I've got this medical condition that can do this when I hit a level of stress equivalent to the height of dog whistles. Coincidence that this guy was in the place he was at that exact time? Eh, probably not.
So there it was, a person I didn't even know, changing my course. The emotional incontinence didn't stop until the next day, but the blessing is that it did. It won't be the last time it happens, but hopefully...wait, prayerfully...I can keep my eyes on the Lord and not get swirled up in my circumstances.
"...But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O ye of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased."