Traffic, Death, and Yule Brynner

Driving anywhere in Honolulu will test the limits of one’s inner calm.  There seems to be only one way to go and it is constantly under some sort of construction.  The slow and agonizing crawl toward your destination is then almost daily punctuated by frenzied chaos of trying to get out of the way for ambulances–particularly impressive since it is bumper to bumper, 3-4 lanes, and with nonsensical random merges of those lanes.  I spend so much of my time on that road that I now recognize vehicles and bumper stickers.  I resist the urge to wave to the handsome Asian man in the nice suit walking down School Street around 7:56am.  Everything along my route is at once familiar and an inconvenient surprise.  Once I was mindlessly going along as I always do, shaking my head at the silly cars ahead who couldn’t seem to decide where they were going, and almost merged right into a barrier–as they had almost done–because suddenly there was no exit lane where there was supposed to be, and no sign indicating such.  The way is being repaired, expanded, narrowed, and closed as I travel it.  My objective is less than five miles away but it will take me over one hour to go there and come home.

I’ve had a big deal of a decision to make these past few weeks but I keep getting distracted.  There have been crazy work schedules for Sam that put us all back in deployment mode at home, a dear dear friend slowly losing her amazing husband to cancer, potty training for Bella (ask me how that’s going), holiday preparations, finding someone to repair my beloved “Baby Jesus Head”that got ROCKED during the move, “Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera…”  All excuses not to focus.  All totally valid.

This decision is not a difficult one–on paper.  Well, each seen on its own paper.

Page 1:  Do I add another huge responsibility on myself?  Do I really want to be held accountable for a group of people and place myself in a leadership role?  (i.e.: Would I like to now stab myself in the face?)

(IN.  THE.  FACE.)

Page 2:  Can I trust that this opportunity has been presented for some purpose?  Can I believe I’ll be given whatever reserves of strength I’ll need if it truly is what I’m supposed to do right now?  Can I stop being so selfish?  If the signs point one way but I don’t feel like going because it’s too hard or too scary, then I’m a coward.  If I wrap myself in the Wife/Mother flag, can’t add anything else to my schedule, deny the hearing of all possible requests, and am all “So let it be written!  So let it be done!” then I’m closed-hearted.

I know the direction I want to go.  But the route I’m taking is constantly under construction.  It’s slow.  I’m impatient.  Lately I’m always thinking about my two friends.  One is almost home.  The other is sitting in the worst traffic jam ever.  Not that I could do anything, but being on this island, knowing I can’t do anything even if I had the power, hurts.  I just want to hug them.  Distance blows.  Oceans blow.  Not having a private jet blows.  While we’re at it, death blows.

When Sam is deployed (actually it starts weeks before), I war-game how to handle two uniforms at my door.  In every scenario the only plan I come up with is:  God will be with me.  He will get me through.  Again, looks great on paper.  And I believe it.  With every fiber of my being, I believe it.  But through the tears and snot, imagining my friends in the hospital and what they must be feeling, I can’t help but hate the road.  I hate that it hurts so much.  That it takes so long.  That it’s so “stop and go” and is wasting all my gas.

I’m stalling.  I’m giving myself two more weeks to make my big decision.  I’m praying for dreams, signs, certainty.  If it comes down to being still and listening, I’m screwed.  I have a feeling it will come down to being still and listening.

I listen to the radio while we’re in traffic.  Lately most of the songs have had to do with water, waves, oceans.  I happen to be surrounded by an ocean.  The ocean is separating me from many many people I love.  Oceans, waves, water, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera–don’t they symbolize doubt?  (I know I’m full of doubt.  I need You to tell me what to do!)

Today is Thanksgiving.  This year is almost over and I am extremely thankful for that.  This is the first year we will have no guests.  It’s just the four of us today.  We shall be dining from paper plates–pretty, turkey-adorned, paper plates.  I haven’t been able to decide if I’m relieved or crestfallen.  But now I think I’m neither.  Mal and Bella are thundering around in their pajamas exclaiming to each other something about brother and sister baby sea snakes needing rescue.  (SEA snakes…)  I have no anxiety about having food ready on time, cleaning, or finding more chairs.  It’s only us.  And there’s nothing “only” about it.

Our road has been “stop and go” all year.  It’s only been three months since we left El Paso but it feels like years.  None of my plans work out the way I decree them, there has been and continues to be more grief than to my liking, and expectations are constantly needing adjustment.  I hope I’m going in the right direction.  I’m terrified of missing my exit.  Of having to find a way to move over where there is no room to let someone through in an emergency.  I’m crazy with doubt and fear, but I want to be brave.  I want to be able to be still.  And listen.  And reach the destination set for me, even if the route seems ridiculous, frustrating, or terrifying.

We’ve been literally brought out of a desert, and when I think about the ocean all around me now I want to remember a time when it parted.

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