It’s paid, the gentlemen told me from behind the car repair shop’s counter.
I looked at him with a cocked head and inquiring eyes.
Says here, paid. He repeated as he pulled out a receipt etched on white cashier paper.
Bella and I climbed into the car and as tears poured down my face Bella asked, Momma, why are you crying?
You don’t always have to be sad to cry, I shared between wiping my cheeks and trying to hold it together. Sometimes you cry because you are so very happy. Someone paid our ticket, sweetie. Like you know if we went to the ice cream shop and we didn’t have money for it but someone all of a sudden paid it? And then you are so happy. You’re so happy you could cry.
My car broke down last week. Technically I hit a cement post that began an all-consuming collapse of my car, but we’ll save that story for a big rainy day.
Then my computer got a virus. This may have come from my attempt to find a free movie online. Such is true, there is no such thing as free in this world.
These were the events leading up to Tuesday, my first day of trial for the divorce.
A migraine taunted and teased me the entire day. My vision was cloudy and my body depleted. The day ended with the trial extending later into the week and left defeated and broken hearted. I made a quick stop at my parent’s house to let out a little bit of the hard of life and then continued my thirty minute drive home, my head splitting.
I pulled into the garage, made my way into the house attempting to settle all that felt unsettled and then slowly lugged my body up the stairs and stepped into the shower. The hot water ran itself over and down my aching body like a river cleansing the rocky tops from its earthy soil. I was just a landscape. The water itself had more movement and life.
I slid into the kind of clothes you wear when your world feels like it’s falling apart and laid myself down beside the warm flames of the fireplace.
Chocolate. my mind announced amidst the fog and pain. Today is a good day for chocolate. I just want a piece of chocolate.
I was too emotionally spent, physically exhausted and in too much pain to drive myself to any nearby grocery store, gas station or convenience store and so I did the most logical next best option. I texted my neighbor. Through cloudy vision and a pounding head I read her response advising that her husband would be right over.
Ding Dong! My heart skipped a beat; the doorbell a surprise even though I knew it was coming. I barely roused myself enough to move one foot at a time across my living room floor and slowly creaked open my front door. There in his hand held a few items.
Grilled chicken with some greens, he announced as he gave the plastic Tupperware container in his hand a little shake. And some little nuts and cheese thing, he shifted the Tupperware as if to accent the little container that sat atop. And then with a jiggle of a little brown bag he added, and some chocolate chip cookies.
He gave me a hug and offered he and his wife’s continued love and support. I closed the door and began my journey back to the fire, tears pouring down my face from such kindness.
I had full intentions to dive first into the cookies, but my body told me to get some protein.
But I don’t have a fork, I thought. And my body was too weak to get up to the kitchen to retrieve it and so there I was, on my knees, my blanket over my back and shoulders draped over me like a superman cape; except nothing in me felt very strong. I’ve actually never felt weaker. I literally picked up the entire chicken breast as a whole and pulled it apart with my fingers to nibble on it. I felt so feeble. So frail.
The chicken tasted soooo good. Like if I hadn’t eaten in weeks, as if I had actually gone on a chicken hunt, caught and plucked the thing myself and was left to indulge in my reward coined as survival. I moved onto the leafy greens. With no fork and no dressing in my house, I found myself literally stuffing each piece of green into my mouth like I was some animal grazing for its livelihood.
It was there in the pitch black of the evening, the only light that of the fire’s flicker, as my little fingers attempted to feed my dying body, that I saw my frailty. Barely unable to lift my limbs, my body so physically worn down. The weeks leading up to trial and the day’s emotional tax having completely wiped me of any fight left.
In our weakness, he is strong. I thought.
I never understood this verse growing up. I always assumed it meant that I was a bad person and that if I couldn’t get it right God would probably eventually bull doze me over to make it right. Like in my weakness the big strong God would come to tell me of my mistakes and mishaps – tell me how small I was.
This verse had always come as shame.
But tonight, it came in love.
That when nothing was left to be found in me, in my complete physical and emotional weakness, HE STOOD. A voice that continuously proclaimed: I am here. I am with you wherever you go. Even here. Even in this spot of nothing. I am here.
Maybe you get this. Maybe you have no fight left. Maybe you wonder how much is too much. How much longer. How much more.
I don’t have those answers. I haven’t even experienced those answers yet myself. I don’t know how much or how long or how much is too much.
All I know is nothing can take away the life inside me. The God in me that is alive, no matter how dead I am inside.
His grace, his strength is sufficient. On Christ the solid rock I stand. Or lay. Or just kneel by a fireplace for a while. Dead but alive in him.
This is my prayer, my wish, my hope for you. That in your weakness, you would never feel him so alive.
May we be the type of people that believe in a God who lives even when we are dead. May we trust he is miraculously and graciously enough. And may we continue to reach out to those around us and say, I love because he loved me first.
To you, who have walked this past week with me:
When I was hungry, you fed me.
When my car broke down, you paid its repairs.
When I had nothing, you showed up as his hands and feet time and time again.
(my heart overflows with gratitude.)