And the questions never end....
It's been a DAY!!!
A LONG day. Full of appointments, job site visits, and the general stress of working commission sales in the construction business. I rush out of work into the dark parking lot. The few homeless men that usually congregate are asking for change. All I can scramble together is an apple and a bag of almonds. Unfortunately one man has no teeth...so it's obviously not the best snack for him...but the other men thankfully accept the provisions. I jump in my car...lock the doors....turn the key...nothing....turn the key...nothing...WONDERFUL...not now Lord. Ok maybe one more time...turn the key....nothing... UGhhhhh!!! I glance in my rear view mirror and see our installer's van getting ready to pull out. THank you Lord!!! I jump out and sprint across the dark chilly parking lot in my heels. Our installers are sweet old men...a little rough around the edges...but always willing to help. So they turn their van (circa 1970) around to help me. I'm half way wondering if their van can handle jumping my car. Finally the car starts...Praise GOD!!
Now I need to rush to the car shop... before they close....without shutting the car off...and I have to get Addie and Little C...and I'm LATE again!! Phew here we go!!
On the way my mind races and spins..... from the man with no teeth "should I bring something for him to eat tomorrow?!" To how I'm going to get the kids in the car without turning it off...and how am I going to explain all this routine change to Addie. And how terrible the kids are going to be at the car shop with all the noises...and lights. All this while answering phone calls from work about this job or that...installation schedules...and taking flooring orders from customers while flying down the highway. I was hungry and exhausted....and wishing I could just pray this day would end soon.
Picking up the kids...Addie is confused and upset that the car is still running. This is not in her routine. "Why is the car on mommy? Why is the car on?" Over and over we explain why the car is on...and still she persists. "Why is the car on? Why is the car on?" When something dramatic rocks her routine...she comforts herself with repeating phrases or questions. Over and over and over. No matter how many times you answer...she keeps going. Sometimes it's not to get an answer...it's just to comfort herself. And sometimes she's so focused on the asking...that she doesn't hear the answer.
Addie and Little C do NOT like to rush...but we had to. It's life and sometimes we have to pull them along kicking and screaming. With a little help we surprisingly get in the car with little trouble. Then the chanting questions continue..."Why is the car on?...Why is the car on?...You turn the car off when we get in...and then we turn it on....You turn it off when we get in...and then we turn it on." "Ok Addie...We had to do it different tonight...We have to go get a new battery." About 3 seconds later...the same question...Then I give the same answer. Over and Over and OVER and OVERRR...She asks me...and I give her the same answer again and again. After about 20 min into our drive...and I can feel the stress of the day boiling under my skin. I say "Addie...that's enough....I've told you why...no more questions" I was trying to be patient and understanding...but I was so DONE with this crazy day. So she stopped for about 1 min... unaffected by my frustration..."Why is the car on?" AHHH! I felt like slamming my head into the steering wheel. But I held my cool....and calmly asked "Addie what was my answer last time?" She repeated me word for word. Then she began asking and telling herself the answer in robotic fashion. "What's wrong with the battery? The battery is dead we need a new one...What's wrong with the battery? The battery is dead we need a new one....."
Finally we make it to the shop...and the battery is replaced...we are going home at last. Hallelujah!!!
But of course the chanting does not stop for Addie. All the way home..."What's wrong with the battery?...The battery is dead we need a new one....What's wrong with the battery?" I can tell this is going to be one of "those" questions that is going to be asked about for the next few weeks or months. Anything out of her routine...and her mind simply does not compute.
It's like when the smoke alarms go off...or she has to sit at a different place at the table...or we forget her socks. "Why don't I have on socks? Why don't I have on socks?" Over and over and over!!! It's enough to drive someone crazy...and it does some days. But I just keep reminding myself it's her way of comforting herself. So many times i look at Addie and I wish I could give her calmness and peace...her anxiety seems never ending. I wish that I could just step into her world for just a moment...and then maybe I would be able to understand how she thinks...what would help her...what makes her tick...
Well...I got my chance....
I was driving home from work...or maybe heading to another appointment. And I'm thinking and praying about what God wants us to do in our lives. Praying my usual prayer...Lord please help us to know your will...where you want us to go...please help us to know your will....please please please blah blah blah. Then a little while later...Lord please be with me today...please help me to know your will...blah blah blah. Then the next day...the same prayer...maybe throw in a few more words...or switch up the order...but basically asking the Lord the same thing. Over and OVER and OVER. All the sudden I felt like the Lord put His hands on my shoulders...and said "I know...you ask me every day over and over....and I already gave you the answer." As I sat their in tears. I just stopped and listened. All the sudden I felt like Addie...I was in her world. I didn't know why I kept asking. I felt totally confused and full of anxiety. Either I was trying to comfort myself by asking for God's will or I was so focused on the asking that I couldn't hear his answer. I wanted to seek His will so badly...I wanted to know where he wants J and I to be. I don't want to miss what he has planned for us. But I think somewhere in my mind...I got so focused on the asking and seeking that I forgot to listen to his answer. Sometimes he doesn't give us the big picture...sometimes it's only just the next "baby" step. Of course that's not what I want to hear...with my schedules...and my planning...and my "to do" lists. I want answers...I want to prepare. I want to know what the final destination is. But maybe the Lord knows exactly what I need to know...and that's not it. Giving me one step in front of the other forces me to rely on Him and not on my own efforts.
So maybe your car battery dies...or you have no socks...or you are fervently seeking God's will and don't hear an answer. Maybe just stop asking for a minute...and listen. And maybe the Lord has already given you the answer...maybe it's not the one you wanted to hear...or maybe you were too busy and anxious in your asking and seeking to notice.
The Lord teaches me so much through our journey with Addie and Little C. And everyday I realize that we're not quite as different as we might appear.
I think we all experiance their butterfly world a little more than we might believe.