"So, what did you do to piss Satan off?" My friend asks casually as she starts the car. I glance back at the children who are happily devouring Dairy Queen ice cream, which happens to have been the parking lot we broke down in. But let me back up. Past the fibroids, the car wreck and the broken air conditioner.
It started, at least this round, with the latter. I love a good warm house so I was oblivious to the issue as finally I woke up comfortable instead of freezing. When I talked to my husband for the first time that day I launched into the latest office drama that was going on and had I been listening to him I would have heard the worry in his voice, but I did not. Originally we had planned for me to man the boy child for the evening so hubby could take Kaiya on a daddy-daughter date but I remembered a little too late that I had to get my sonogram done.
You see I've been having this weird bleeding issue, and don't worry, that's all I'm going to say about it, but for all the world I have been grasping at Jesus' feet for weeks now trying to catch the hem of his robe. It's only been a few months of this latest medical drama, so I can't even imagine what it would have been like for the bleeding woman. Who literally bled for years. If it had been me I would not have stopped at catching the hem of the robe, nope, I would have tackled Jesus. And lately I have been doing all the prayer-tackling that I can squeeze into one day.
Just when I was set to dash out the door to my appointment someone had an impromptu meeting that apparently couldn't wait which set me back fifteen minutes. Now, I know it's silly, especially because I rarely have them be on time for me, but I hate being late to doctor's appointments. I don't mind when I have to wait fifteen or even thirty minutes but if I'm so much as exactly on time instead of ten minutes early it drives me nuts. So I dashed out the door and proceeded up the highway like I was heading home, thus missing the convenient East-West cut through.
Instead I had to turn off on quite undesirable road that has these gigantic square-shaped speed bumps that I like to call Satan's brownies and the road winds and curves like a creek bed. Not to mention that it's not in the best part of town and I was getting funny looks in my business clothes. Deciding to change to a different road I ended up back-tracking a bit and at this point decided to call the office and let them know I was running late. I got put on hold for eight minutes and then the line disconnected. I turned down another road thinking it would be quicker but the entire two mile stretch was a school zone that I was inching along on. Then the next road I tried was having construction work and was down to one lane.
I finally got through to the doctor's office and they graciously told me to just call back if I was going to be more than fifteen minutes late and I told them that at this point anything could happen so even though I was five minutes away I would certainly call if the Earth happened to swallow me up or an anvil dropped down from the sky.
Then the car in front of me hit the car in front of it and the car in front of it hit the car in front of it and so on for a good four cars. I, thankfully, was far enough behind the last car that I was able to stop. I whispered "thank you Jesus" and eventually wound my way around the fender bender. I pulled up and walked in, just five minutes late. I then enjoyed a good ten minutes of waiting where I got to calm down and browse a lovely magazine. I also enjoyed the art on the walls. This has been something I've been doing lately, as for various reasons I can't take a vacation this year I've been trying to see little moments as "little vacations." So I whip out my phone and start taking pictures like I'm at an art gallery and not at the hoo-hoo doctor. (Yes, that's what we call it in my house. You get to name private parts silly things when you have small children. It's the law.)
Then a technician comes out and walks me to the separate office to get my sonogram. I make awkward conversation during it because that's what I do, but it was seriously odd to be getting one and not be looking for a little peanut head, two arms and two legs. I could tell by the immediate way she started clicking on the screen and marking off "x marks the spot" on something or other that she had obviously found something. I was also fairly certain there wasn't the slightest chance it was a baby.
A few minutes later as my OB sat down, tired and ready for her day to be over, she asked if we had discussed the fibroids before. The what? No. OK, well you have two, they aren't serious but likely were what was causing the bleeding, we can't really do anything to remove them because of where they are. Then she asked where I was at with wanting more kids. Truthfully that answer is, I'm quite done, but given this context I wanted to keep my options open thank you. So when she explained that if the treatment that had already been prescribed, a stronger dose of birth control, doesn't work, we would have to do more drastic measures like get my tubes tied I suddenly found myself desperately wanting to give the Dugger woman a run for her money. What do you mean I might "officially" not be able to have any more kids??
I called home, and still when I heard the nervousness in his voice I assumed it was because I was explaining my new reproductive development. So when I pulled in to the driveway and saw an air conditioning repair truck I naively assumed the neighbors were having theirs worked on. One step into our sauna straightened me out. I braced myself for the news as he wrote down the several thousand dollar figure it was going to cost since we needed a whole new system installed. How on Earth are we going to pay for it, and when we need to get our SUV fixed? We have multiple friends offer to let us stay with them until it gets fixed, which is the first sign that we are well-loved, but then it gets fixed relatively quick and since our friend owns the company he says we can pay for it on a payment plan. Second blessing of community.
Our neighbors that are expecting a baby text us, joking, "Can Courtney deliver a baby?" So we ham it up and I grab salad tongs and put on some latex gloves and go running across the street ready to spring to action. We settle down to bed, to the hum of a new machine, and get up for another day.
I call home, ready to tell of more office drama and the tiny ulcer it's starting to give me that might just be located in my eyeball, and he launches into a tale of car trouble. Yes, I think tiredly, I know the car has been acting up for months now. But then it hits me. He had taken my car for the day. MY CAR IS ACTING UP TOO? I have a mini panic attack about having to deal with two broken cars and a broken ac unit in one week and then I see the verse I scribbled that reminds me to pray instead of the worry and so I do, I pray. I tackle the Almighty in my cubicle.
It's after lunch now and my day is quickly coming to a close when I get a text from my husband telling me to get a ride home. So I text my first round of friends and just as I'm about to go to round two I get a call from one of them. Chipper and excited to help she informs me that it's no trouble at all as she was picking her son up from school not far away at all and that she had to go all the way up to the Antarctica part of the city we live in anyway. My instincts are to be suspicious, but then I remember that maybe something crazy happened: maybe when I prayed it got answered! So I thank her profusely, finish my work-out and then wait for her call. As she is medically inclined I launch into my new fibroid issue and it is quite an encouraging conversation.
We get home and my husband explains that he learned that the issue might not be that bad and he wants to try and make it to church tonight for our art group meeting, so we said good-bye to the friends and we all pile in the car. Arriving in time for the dinner we dine on hotdogs and peanut butter sandwiches and have a fantastic evening herding cats. Because that is what discussions with artists are like: herding cats or sweeping flower gardens.
A friend comes out to chat with us as we head to our car, the same friend that happens to live in our neighborhood. She also had similar car issues so she gives some advice while he pours coolant into the engine. We then start home and soon there is this horrible sputtering sound. He asks if there is white smoke behind us and at first I can't see anything and then our car looked like a little row of mushroom clouds was shooting out from its butt.
Just as he's barely able to turn into the Dairy Queen parking lot, as the white smoke splays out like it was the fantastic climax to a theatrical performance, he says to call the neighbor friend. Just as i pull out my phone to get her number she pulls up beside us.
Getting out of our cars and waving away white, smelly smoke she explains that she saw the smoke from a ways back and so she carefully followed us and she was just about to call us to tell us about it. We decide that the kids and I will ride home with her while my husband waits with the car for the tow-truck driver and then I call another friend to see about getting him a ride home. Meanwhile the details get worked out I decide to go inside and get some icecream. For the kids of course.
Just before we leave we work out a plan for this same friend to pick me up in the morning and I'm relieved I don't have to scramble around calling people at eight o'clock at night. Talk about true community in action, but it didn't stop there.
So I had just gotten the kids settled in bed and was sitting down with a slightly bewildered look on my face when my phone rang. It was the other friend who had picked me up earlier and she explained that they were going to loan us one of their cars. I about sang.
When my friend asked me: what did you do to piss Satan off I had no answer at first. My other friend said that she believes that when Satan throws crap at us, trials like car trouble and health problems and work tension God sometimes allows it so we will trust more in him. That sometimes he wants us to call a friend and humbly ask for a ride, and then have our socks blessed off when they offer one and then offer their car as well.
Maybe Jesus knew what he was saying when he said the kingdom of God is here. Maybe he meant, all y'all go out and bless the socks off each other when you're having cruddy car-junky days. Maybe I'm just stupid enough to glare down at the floor, cause I'm quite certain heaven is up and hell is down, and taunt: "Is this all you got?" Psssshh. Bring it. I got a kingdom behind me. And I done tackled me JC and I'm gonna cling to his robe for forever.