Yesterday I was supposed to go to Florida to visit a friend I haven’t seen in 14 months. But my car keeps randomly decelerating and the mechanic can’t figure out why, and I’m not keen on breaking down in 95-degree heat, especially with two dogs. So instead of Florida, I’m going back to the garage later today (for the fourth time this week). That’s one thing.
The next thing: Yesterday I decided to eat my lunch outside, under a tree. I think maybe ants fell out of the tree? At any rate, I ended up with bites on the back of my neck, on my upper arm, on two fingers (making it fun to type), and on my toes. I have at least 14 of them.
And there has been a major disappointment, a breaking of what I believed were three years of promises from God about something really important to me. Now I don’t trust anything: not the words, not the feelings of peace and love. Nor that there is a plan for my life that holds anything but more betrayal, broken faith, and isolation. I don’t know when or if I will be able to pray again. This has been desolation, anguish, sleepless nights, and I can’t wrap my brain around it.
There are some bright spots. I’ve been to the garage so many times because the mechanic is trying to identify and fix the actual problem, not do a bunch of unnecessary and expensive repairs. In fact, he’s put a lot of effort into figuring out the issue and hasn’t charged me for his time or even for some of the repairs he’s tried. Frustrated as I am about the car, I’m beyond grateful that he is so honest and is putting in such a good-faith effort.
I acquired the ant bites while I was eating lunch across the field from the garage, and when I returned, I mentioned the bites. And the very kind woman who runs the office immediately offered me rubbing alcohol. I think that helped neutralize the venom, because I feel human today, which is not the norm for the day after fire ants do their stinger dance on my skin.
Last night, when I mentioned to a friend that I couldn’t find my Benadryl cream (purchased a year ago after two fire-ant encounters within three hours), she informed me that a DoorDash driver was headed my way with Benadryl. She will kill me for saying so, but I think DoorDash is her love language. Between that and the rubbing alcohol, not all of the bites have blistered, and most of the swelling is already gone.
So I am thankful for the small ways people are caring for me. But this week is tough. Nothing is going the way I planned, which is the story of my life so much that I barely make plans at all anymore — but then I feel caught unprepared. I’m trying, as I have spent my adult life trying, to figure out how to live in this space of disappointment and confusion and doubt. I keep hoping someday life will be good. But it never really is.