I once went spelunking in Carlsbad. Did you know there are 119 caves in Carlsbad National Park? If you are lucky enough to find someone with the skills to explore them, who is also crazy enough to ask you to come along, you should go. If you do, you might find yourself dangling from a rope 30 feet off the ground before realizing if you have to google the word spelunking before accepting the invitation, you have no business being there.
There I was, 30 feet off the ground and completely gassed.
“Bring me back down,” I smiled cheerfully down at my companion. “I’m too tired.”
And that my friends, is when shit got real.
It went something like this:
Him- “Take a break”
Me- “I don’t want to take a break I want to come down. Bring me down.”
Him- “You can’t come down, that isn’t the way the gear works.” (Side bar: probably a discussion we should have had beforehand but okay.)
Me- “I don’t care how the gear works, I know how my arms work and I need to come down”
Him- “You can’t come down, you need to go up”
Me- “I can’t go up. Call someone.”
Him- “We’re in a cave”
Cue dramatic music and crocodile tears. Cut to adventure Barbie dangling helplessly 30 feet in the air while whispering expletives at no one in particular. Her companion making vain attempts to reassure her she is strong enough to save herself while simultaneously attempting to fashion a very dangerous method of coming to her rescue.
Me- “I CAN”T DO THIS”
Him- “You can, because you have to”
And then I did.
I’m writing this at home in my bed, pajamas still on, it’s Monday 5:30 AM. Waiting for a conference call that starts in an hour, I could have waited until 9, but what for, I’m awake. In the past several days I haven’t slept much, eyes glued to a screen bringing new news every hour, while the same words spin on a loop in my mind:
Flatten the curve.
We are a country displaced in our own homes and we are afraid.
And I’m reminded of all the times I’ve been afraid and heard my voice outside my heart saying,
I can’t do this.
But then I did.
I’m watching my daughter asleep in my bed. Her collection of inhalers, O2 readers, and thermometers scattered like books on the night stand. My son sleeping soundly alone in his room. In a few short hours they will awake to day one of a spring break that is not what we planned. But the craziest part is they will not complain, not today anyway. They’ll be happy to sleep in, watch movies, and make messes. They will smile and laugh the way that kids do, and I will carry their burden of uncertainty along with mine. This moment feels lonely and I can hear my heart beat in steady rhythm the thing I fear the most, that I. am. not. enough.
But then I will. Because I have to.
Sending so much love to whoever is reading this. You are not alone. It’s in the times when we are least assured that we can allow space in our hearts to become something more than we were the day before.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7