We left vacationland, the lovely condo and a blissful alternate reality early Saturday morning, spent the day at Badlands National Park and headed home later than intended. This due to our own personalities and those we've fostered. Our unstated motto is: squeeze every.single.last.minutes.worth.out of whatever we are doing. A: Because we are curious about the world and B: We want to be involved in it-touching, doing, living out loud. So, we are at a National Park. With the fam. And hiking trails, Ranger Stations and scenic views. Of course, we had to hike and view and read marquees and walk trails and take a million pictures and see if the Prairie Dogs would do back flips and watch the Turkeys roost and go to the top of the spiky trail and go on the fossil path and climb around the boulders at the last viewing turn-off. It's what we do. It was a fabulous day at the end of a relaxing, fun and refreshing week.
We left the Park at dusk, beautiful pastel tinted evening sky, stopped at Chef's Diner to drink pitcherful after pitcherful of refreshing, thirst quenching water, ate hot fragrant food and then reluctantly turned our 2 cars towards home. Within minutes of crossing the Missouri River we lost the transmission in dh's commuter car. Our late night just got later, cause besides great places and faces in our fair state we also have a whole lot of great big, wide open nothing out here. We transferred the luggage and people from the downed car to the working car,called road-side assist and decided they could fetch the car in the morning without us rather than wait the estimated 2 hours it would take for them to reach us and re-started our trek, making our late night a bleary eyed welcome to the dusk of dawn arrival home.
Once home we discovered our Momma cat and kittens gone. Sigh.
Cub and Flower came in from their desperate search for furry felines to tell us that "pictures are flying all over the barn." Oddly, out of the dozens of water-proof, sealed Rubbermaid tubs in the barn only 3 were found with lids off, despite the fact that KB had checked them all before they left on Tuesday; and, of course, they were the picture tubs with the remainder of our dozens of scrapbooks, now full of bird droppings, rain and mold. They were all in different parts of the barn and nothing else was displaced. More memories to sort through and throw away. Argh. Cub threw himself in my arms and cried. Through sniffles and tears he looked up at me and asked intently, "Why is God so hard on us?" And so we talked about Job and how God allows trials and tribulations to come our way. He was better after his cry but still very sad about the kittens gone missing and the pictures that are no more.
It's always something. And, truth be told, we're not even surprised by the somethings anymore. We look at each other, sigh and go, "Yea, par for the course."
We left the kids at home and ran to do some necessary work-related errands yesterday evening and my husband says something to the effect of, " You know, when you don't get a break, and it's relentless, you just kind of keep grinding. You don't expect it to be different or to let up. You just keep plowing through. And then you get a break like we've just had and when the next attack comes, it's a shock."
And I look at him and wonder what is it that we are doing, or not, that creates these incessant, relentless, on-going issues. We just wake up in the morning, cook breakfast and live our quiet lives. We're not breaking new ground, our circle is not that big, we have no grandiose plans for fame or fortune. Just average people here.
KB and I were discussing how the next thing doesn't often present itself until we faithfully complete the task at hand and that this season is preparation for the next. She looks at me in mock horror and exclaims, "Oh, great! A potentially deadly car accident, house burning, young family members dying, failed contracts across venues! This is preparation? For what?!"
I come back to the only thing that continues to make sense; we are in Fight to the Finish. Ephesians 10-12 in The Message states, "And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels."
It was a well-needed rest, for almost a week. Our heart's are full of gratitude for the fun, relaxation, rest and beauty we filled our bodies and minds with. But, today, for whatever reason, we are back in the fray, battling against the Enemy who would seek to discourage us mightily. My constant prayer is this: Lord, we need you now. Show up, provide direction, answers, a well-marked path. We will follow. We are weak, You are strong. We need you now.