The other day while shaving my legs a thought struck me, and just like all epiphany strikes, crying ensued.
It was in the shower I first noticed that overnight several more tributaries of spider veins had formed and were now marching down the front of my left leg looking to conquer my kneecap. (Men get little blue pills. We ladies get stuck with little blue lines.) I then noticed that the hair on my legs was long enough to impede any attempts of pulling my jeans over my calves later when I was dressing, so I grabbed that Foamy Mess in a Bottle we women lather all over our legs before shaving, and when I began spraying the foam, the tears started coming down my eyes.
Darn it, God. Seriously. In the shower? Shaving my legs! This is when you are going to speak to me?! Moses got a burning bush. Samuel got a nice whisper in the middle of the night. Balaam got the talking donkey. Saul got a great and blinding light, and he was a bad guy. I mean a reaaallly bad guy. I’m a not-so-horrible middle aged female who cuts her own grass and uses her CVS card to her advantage. Throw me a bone, here. Mary got an angel…AN ANGEL! Yes, I know Mary was the mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but my point here, God, is that it would be nice if you stepped up your game with your Epiphanies for the Irreverent Sister. I know, I know. Still.Small.Voice. Who am I to decide whether the still small voice is heard on the mountain top or in my bathroom shower, which by the way has an overhead fan inhabited by squirrels. (The former Mr. TIS discovered this when he came over to fix it. The Former Mr. TIS is turning out to be a great Former Mr. TIS, and for this I am grateful because too many women in my position cannot say this.)
My epiphany had to do with fear. Like many humans I struggle and have struggled with fear and doubt for years, and growing up with a family of geniuses who just get things done has only exacerbated my conflict because I look around at all their accomplishments and wonder what the heck is wrong with me? Why do I put hurdles in my way? At 40 something I should be some kind of accomplished something or other, but I’m not. I’m a woman with spider veiny legs along with a stretch marked riddled abdomen trying to shave her legs while squirrels are well into their 3rd game of Bowling for Nuts right above my head. Also, I switch between 1st and 3rd person a lot when I write.
Somewhere in the middle of hoisting my second leg up to the side of the tub in order to not pass out while bending over to reach my ankle, a memory shot threw me.
It was the memory of my father joking with someone, I don’t know who, but they were talking about my getting married, or not getting married as the case was, and Dad said, I don’t worry about Priscilla running off and getting married just yet. She’ll have to find someone who makes more money than I do.
I knew immediately that this memory was important. Why now? Why here?
Simply put, it was a God Thing.
My dad wasn’t a sexist patrician who believed a woman’s place is in the home. He never once said that because of my sex I’d just have to rely on the menfolk. He didn’t relegate me to the pretty girl who stood around at parties flirting shamelessly with monied males, laughing at their gawd-awful jokes. He just knew his youngest child had some pretty expensive tastes. He was also quick witted with the driest sense of humor this side of the Mississippi.
I came along in the 54th year of his life. He’d practiced medicine for 30 some years by then. He’d become pretty good at buying and selling real estate. The struggles most dads have to work through while their children are young, he’d already conquered, and I was on the receiving end of his triumphs. I never wanted for lessons or activities or educational opportunities. I did want for a car, but Dad thought Mom’s Suburban was just fine for me to drive…and this was before SUVs were cool. The only people who drove Suburbans were contractors, ranchers, antique dealers and mothers with eight children.
But sometimes Satan, or evil or whatever you want to call the spiritual force in our world that likes to fill our minds with doubt, uses seemingly insignificant jokes or moments long forgotten to plant a seed: a seed of doubt, seed of fear; and in that tiny moment, what I heard instead of a joke, was the message, This girl needs a man to make the money for her because she is not capable of doing it for herself. I don’t for a minute believe that’s the message my father intended to convey, but that is how my soul received it…and that is the lie I’ve held onto for over 20 years.
Many of us face enormous fears while slogging through divorce. Maybe it’s the fear of losing companionship. Maybe it’s the fear of dying alone. Maybe it’s the fear of feeling you will never be happy again. I think for a lot of women who worked for years, then gave up the career for the kids, it’s a fear of having to start all over and not having the money to live out the rest of our lives.
Right there in my shower, as I stood crying under the shower head using up all 50 gallons of water running through the hot water heater, I faced my fear. I realized where that fear originated. I recognized who authored that fear, and I cried with relief. Jesus was right, the truth really does set you free.
In these past weeks the fear of not knowing what I’m going to do to make the money I need to survive, is fading and the truth is emerging that I don’t need a man to do it for me. My heavenly father/mother has given me all the resources I need for this exact moment in time. God has given me the mind, the education, the contacts, the skill set and the chutzpah to do whatever it is I was put here on earth to do. Sure, I may have to go back to school and retrain my brain in certain areas. Yes, my days now start much, much earlier in order to accomplish all the tasks I used to share with the girls’ father. Yes, it’s going to be hard, but who out there doesn’t have a hard life?
So, here’s the deal. No more fear. No more living in fear. No more listening to fearful voices asking What if? or whispering You are never going to make it. You can’t possibly. Mark Batterson writes in his book The Circle Maker, Pray like it depends on God. Work like it depends on you. I’m going with this.
Today, I’m telling fear that what my father said all those years ago is not my truth. It is not my destiny. Maybe in the future based on my big dreams, bigger prayers and hard work, this irreverent sister will be in the same place financially as her father was at age 54. Anything can happen in 11 years. Anything.