Please bear with me. I'm very tired but I felt like I needed to write a follow up to my posting from about 12 hours ago. If you have read that entry, well, you know that I have found myself in a very dark place, a very lonely place, a place that finds me unsettled. But, just as all of my friends have assured me, God will find me, even when I'm lost - literally lost!
Earlier this afternoon, after some rather emotional conversations with dear friends, I decided that rather than going home, I'd go to the park for a little while and just enjoy breathing in the fresh air. My first thought was to go to Columbian Park. I definitely know where that is. Then I thought to myself, no, I'll go to Happy Hollow Park. I'm 97% sure where that is. And then it hit me. I wanted to go back to Earl Park, to a place I would go with one of my closest friends a little over 12 years ago when I wanted to sit back and enjoy God's creation. I was 85% sure I could find "our spot" again. So, I headed out, set the cruise, cranked up the music and started my journey to a place that is about 30-35 miles west of Lafayette (I think?). When I saw the sign for Earl Park, I made my turn off of US 52. And I didn't recognize anything at all. But I was still sure that I could find my way there because I found it in 1999. I mean, come on, how hard could it be? I'm a smart girl! I started down a road that led to another road that led to another road that dead-ended at a corn field. The road just stopped. There was a cornfield to my left, a cornfield in front of me, and some water to my right (a branch of the Wabash? a stream? No clue.) I had been driving for about an hour. Far enough away to cross into another time zone and there I was, in a field. No bathroom in sight. I forgot to go before I started out because the place that I was trying to find had a bathroom. And now...I had a little problem.
I got out of the van which I parked at the edge of the field and started for the corn. Even though I was somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, west of Swarmington, Indiana, I started wondering if I should roll up the windows and lock the car before wandering off. Because my iPod was laying on the front seat. And maybe, just maybe, someone could be lurking behind those dried out corn stalks, waiting for their opportunity to snatch up a free iPod. Didn't think about that for too long because...I had a more pressing issue. I walked far enough into the field that I was pretty sure I couldn't be seen from the road and yet I could still see my van. And I had a dilemma. Many know that I'm just a little particular when it comes to restroom facilities. I won't even use an outhouse or Porto-potty. But I had to go. Sorry for any visuals this creates, but I've already bared my soul so...I kicked off my flip flops. And lost the pants and the pink boy-shorts. I balled everything up and tossed it a good 10 feet away so nothing would get wet. I figured out how to stand so that I wouldn't pee on my legs because that would just be gross. And after a few minutes spent convincing my body that it was OK to let go, I...yeah. Putting my pants back on was more of a challenge because I can't balance at all on my right leg. And yes, the surgeon did mention something about having difficulty walking on grass. He didn't say anything about cornfields but he probably didn't think he should have had to. Dried up corn stalks are not very sturdy for those city folk friends of mine. So I grabbed onto three of them and bunched them up to make one strong one to hold onto while I worked my way back into my pants. Got my shoes on, headed back to the car. The car keys were not in my pocket. I had to go back to find them, somewhere in the vicinity of where I marked my territory. Found them. When I turned around, I noticed that there were a couple of logs floating in the water. There had to be at least 20 turtles sunning themselves on the logs. And I had to smile. If you've noticed, my blog picture is of a turtle, sitting on a log, in the water. I do not believe that that was a coincidence.
I started out on a journey to find something, anything to bring just a little bit of peace to my heart. I thought I knew where I was headed. And I got lost. Maybe it's hard to find what you're looking for when you're straining so hard to see something you want to see? I thought I needed to be at Earl Park. God thought I needed to be lost amongst the fields somewhere in rural Indiana, next to a couple of logs floating in the water, and the turtles basking in the sunlight. I was out there, wandering around, lost and a bit nervous about my ability to find my way out of there, and God found me. He came out there after me, turned me towards the sun, and said "Here I am, silly girl!" As I got back in the car to leave, I noticed that the leaves had changed colors. Yellow, auburn, violet, orange, brown. I hadn't even realized that they had changed colors, even though fall has always been my favorite time of the year. If I hadn't gone searching for something to restore my hope, I would probably not have noticed that the leaves were brilliant in the sunlight. I do believe that I could have laid down and fallen asleep right there in the corn field. I immediately felt the tremendous load I've been trying to carry lifted off of my shoulders and I felt light, free, loved. I felt peace. I turned the music off for the ride home. I let my hand hang out of the window and felt the breeze blowing through my hair (I haven't had hair long enough to blow in the breeze since 1997!) and I could breathe. I could breathe!. And I know now that I am going to be OK. I'm going to be more than OK. I'm going to be able to start moving forward again.
As I entered back into the West Lafayette city limits, I turned on the radio. This is what I heard:
"Somewhere in this darkness
There's a light that I can't find
Maybe it's too far away...
Or maybe I'm just blind."
The next verse starts like this:
"So hold me when I'm here
Right me when I'm wrong
Hold me when I'm scared
And love me when I'm gone
Everything I am
And everything in me
Wants to be the one
You wanted me to be"
Even though I was "gone" for a while, quiet a while, God kept looking for me and when I was so sure that I was lost, he found me and he led me home.
I debated about sharing this experience, worried that I wouldn't be able to convey what I felt this afternoon. I had even briefly lamented that I didn't think to bring my camera to take pictures. No picture could have captured what was laid out before me. And I don't need a picture to hang on the wall in my living room because I have it wrapped around my heart.
Thanks for not giving up on me, God. And thanks for bringing back my smile. (Not sure I'm so thankful about the peeing in the field, but maybe that was a good thing too!)
And the song was "When I'm Gone" by 3 Doors Down. Funny thing is that although I've heard this song many, many times, and liked it, it was not on my iPod. It will be soon.
Thank you friends for your patience, love, and understanding. And for believing God wouldn't walk away from me, even though I couldn't seem to find him.