Updated: Feb 14, 2022
“So you’ve been hit by a Mack truck; why are you laying in the street refusing to get in the ambulance?”
“Because I SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN HIT BY THE MACK TRUCK!” was my completely transparent, honest answer.
The question was posed by a good therapist. I was having a conversation about trying to move forward through painful life events that had all piled on top of each other. They were challenging me to think about how anger and resentment (laying in the street injured, refusing to be put in the ambulance) was keeping me from letting God give me healing. To be frank, I was stuck in the street.
I knew the right answer: GET IN THE AMBULANCE. But I couldn’t make myself let go of the anger and resentment; I felt so justified.
That was about 12 years ago and I still struggle with that question. The assumption of control is such a pervasive lie, isn’t it? (Psalm 139:16) It’s way too easy and comfortable to obsess on the things we can’t control and ignore the things we should be controlling. (Titus 1:8, 1Cor 9:24-27)
My struggle with that question and more importantly, what is too often my answer to that question, came into a bit more clarity this mother’s day.
It was Saturday of mother’s day weekend. My guys had just gotten home from an overnight dad and me camping trip (yes, it was an awesome mother’s day present for all of us) and something was off. Seriously off. Instead of just being tired, but glad to be home, my ten year old was looking downright upset. And he wouldn’t talk about it. At all. His dad was obviously totally aware and completely fine with how things were. He specifically said, “Everything is fine. Don’t ask.” I HATED that I couldn’t connect with Josh’s pain, whatever it was. He’d accept hugs, but he wasn’t letting go of whatever it was. (He was staying in the street. Triage was okay, but getting in the ambulance, nope.)
Sunday morning Josh came into my room and gingerly handed me my present: a coffee mug. (I love flavored coffee with creamer!) Now it all made sense. The mug was shattered, partially glued back together. Pieces were missing, there was a jagged hole. It sat level, but wobbled when put down.
“Do you like it?” Josh asked.
“Oh yes!” I replied. I felt captivated. Because he was all over it: the colors, the designs, the flowers and butterflies, the hand written “I love you” in 10 year old script…Oh yes, I really, really like it. He thought about me. He took time. He created, he played, he made me art and shared himself with me. Pieces of him just for me.
“You really like it?” he asked me again. Josh didn’t believe the gift could be worthy when it was so far from what it was “supposed” to be. When he’d gotten out of the van at home the day before the mug had shattered. It fell or rolled or something. So his dad picked up every piece he could find, took them to the garage and between 6pm on Saturday and 5am on Sunday painstakingly glued the pieces back together into their original shape.
“You’ll never know how much. Really.” And I just hug him to try to show him how much I really, really like it, for real. The care and done-by-a-10-year-old beauty in what he created gives me so much pleasure to look at. It is him given to me.
Then I got it - this is what getting in the ambulance looks like.
There are times life leaves us shattered and feeling completely ruined. There are times we get hit by a Mack truck and feel like the pieces of a broken mug. There are times we think we’ll never be or do or look or function the way we were intended to. BUT GOD. Our God who is rich in mercy WILL glue us back together; He looks at us and sees what He created; and thru His power we will do what He has designed us to do (Eph 2:4-10, 2 Cor 4:7-11). Even more, He will find pleasure and joy in our nearness and surrender (Luke 15:20-24, Zeph 3:17, Jer 31:1-3, Matt 11:28-30).
Bring your whole broken self to the One who wants to glue you back together.
Get in the ambulance; don’t lay there in the street.
Don’t deny or hold on to your brokenness, your anger, your resentment, your fear.
See you this weekend.