Photographs have become more than themselves in our social-media driven culture. If you are at all on social media (and you must be at least a little if you're reading this) you probably have noticed how lots of people in our culture take zillions of photos of themselves and post them everywhere.
Images are powerful and deceptive, can be misconstrued and are full of meaning that often the poster didn't intend. Every single person who looks at a photograph reads it differently.
Why am I even talking about photos?
Part of it is that my last post about idols (which is a very good one and one I think is super necessary for people to read. If you missed it and want to read it, click here) wasn't well received. I can tell how interested people are in a certain topic by how many hits a blog post gets. This isn't a sure science by any means. Maybe a post doesn't get many hits because people aren't reading much while it is posted. Or, maybe all the readers are sick. Or who knows. But usually if a blog post is on the homepage for a day or two, if it is going to hit home in people's hearts, it will get a lot of hits by the third day.
The other part is that I haven't posted for five days and I feel a responsibility to post.
So I'll tell you a story that happened recently. Saturday my husband and I (and Hawk who reclined in the back seat wondering why he couldn't stay home) took an hour and a half drive to buy a 2004 Suburban. It was very much needed. We needed a second vehicle because:
-- I gave my car to my daughter in college and needed something to drive.
-- I needed a 4 WD drive vehicle because the roads we live on are gravel in name only. They probably haven't gotten gravel for a couple of decades (so they get to be mud often).
-- I have been borrowing a dear friend's extra 4 WD pick-up since after Thanksgiving. I really need to give it back!
-- And I need something to drive when my husband isn't here (which is often).
So, we headed to Philip, South Dakota (which is named after one of the men who saved the buffalo -- great story) to purchase a 2004 Chevy Suburban. Here is a picture of it:
After we purchased the Suburban, my husband drove back home and I drove the Suburban to Pierre. I did some needed errands that I couldn't do on the Reservation and then headed to a dear friend's house who I hadn't seen since August. We had a great visit.
And then I got back into the vehicle and headed for a home. I left in plenty of time so I could get home before 6 p.m. our time to watch Doc Martin on PBS (love this show).
To my surprise it had been freezing rain while I talked with my friend. The roads were covered in ice. I am a pretty fearless person when it comes to dealing with people and life and struggles, BUT that fearless persona disappears with vehicle/driving difficulties. I turned onto the highway and the suburban slipped a bit. Fear started welling up in me. And then it slipped back and forth a few times.
Okay, I was SCARED! And I still had over 100 miles to go!
I gripped the steering wheel and prayed and cried and begged God to get me home safely. I drove about 40 miles an hour to the next town -- Agar. I pulled off and called my husband. I begged him to pray for me.
Okay, I was pretty much hysterical on the phone. He said, "Do you have it automatic 4 WD?"
"No," I told him.
"Put it in automatic 4 WD," he said. "You can do it. Just take it slow."
So, that is what I did. When I stopped at Bob's (a gas station right before the very long bridge over the Missouri and Cheyenne River Reservation) a man offered to drive me all the way home (see, it wasn't just me).
I called Shannon a couple more times. When I got about 30 miles east of Eagle Butte I felt the worst was over. And I could relax.
After I drove through Eagle Butte, I turned onto 63 south and was hit by snow that was falling in the perfect slant to make me blind and dizzy if I kept my eyes on the road. I had to watch the side of the road to keep myself driving straight. Miraculously I found our road. By the time I got home, I had tears streaming down my face.
Shannon asked me how I liked driving the Suburban. I couldn't really tell him.
Sometimes life is scary even for us middle-aged folks. And God can't zap those scary parts away. They're part of life. But He'll get us through them if we let Him, if we hold onto Him. When we believe in Jesus and trust Him we become children of God, children of heaven, but we still have to live this life here on earth. That means we have to deal with icy roads and blinding storms just like everyone else. We will have pain. We will have heartache and disappointments and a whole lot of unknowns. Jesus Himself said, "In the world you have tribulation (or trouble), but take courae; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Take two children: the first one has no loving adult in his life. The second one has a loving parent in her life. Both get scared when it thunders outside. What does the first one do when it thunders? Since he has no loving adult in his life he will stay scared until the thunder is over (and might think -- I hope that never happens again). The second one will run to her loving parent and that parent will hold her. That child will not be afraid of the next time it thunders. Or if she is she knows her mom (or dad) will hold her and it will be okay.
I choose which child to be. Will I be the child who goes through a thunderstorm scared and who will always have a fear in the back of her mind that says what if it is worse next time? Or will I be the second child who will let her Papa in Heaven hold her when the thunder comes?
That choice is yours too.