Thursday, 11 October 2012
By Tom Zuniga
I’ve experienced some bad days in 25 years. Moving from Pennsylvania to Georgia as an innocent 12-year-old kid was pretty sucky. My dog’s sudden death left me in pools of undying tears. Now, add this past Monday to the Worst Day of My Life list.
Monday was horrific.
I took my car to the mechanic because of a check engine light and some rattling under my hood. Turns out Mitsy had just enough juice in her battered soul to travel the 3.9 miles there, because as soon as I parked, she was done. Wouldn’t even start up anymore.
And so began my second most hellish day in 25 years. The second worst day of my life.
With seemingly every passing hour the news of my car, the bill, and the emotional damage rose astronomically. My car would be out of commission for the morning, the day, and ultimately for several days. I cried with my dad on the phone, I cried alone in the back parking lot, I cried to God that this made no sense. This wasn’t fair.
This wasn’t right.
I’d just gotten a total tune-up before driving across the country. I had two exciting interviews scheduled that day and two more the following day — all four kernels of hope, wiped out with no transportation. Just like that.
I cried a lot yesterday. (Did I already mention that?) I went to bed that night, my soul exhausted, my eyes literally bloodshot and sore from all the tears.
This isn’t why I drove 2500 miles back across America.
I’d found a doable place to live with relative ease. I’d garnered four interviews with similar speed. I’d even prayed courageously that one of those interviews would translate into a job by week’s end. That I’d be climbing the financial ladder again.
Instead, I slipped from the first rung and crashed hard onto the concrete below.
It remains to be seen why God “did” this or “allowed” it, or whatever proper theological word belongs in this sentence. I certainly saw a perfect vision for this scary new life in California.
And that scenario was dashed. Erased. Drastically modified.
I still don’t know what’s going on. This isn’t exactly a cheery optimistic post from some Christian Writer Guy. I think lots of people have problems with “Christian” blogs and “Christian” music and “Christian” art in general because it just paints too rosy a picture.
Life is messy. Life sucks sometimes. It sure did yesterday.
It’s annoying to be without a car this week. Annoying to reschedule my four hopeful interviews to some unknown, less hopeful date. Annoying not to be able to pay a car bill as a guy in his mid-20s. Annoying to call friends to pick me up from the mechanic or take me food shopping.
Annoying to burden so many people.
The introspective Christian Writer Guy I am, I frequently ask and analyze why something like this would happen — what God is trying to show me. Was I foolish to drive 2500 miles back here? Was that a huge mistake? Was I arrogant or cocky or proud in any way? Was I just not meant to secure any of those four jobs? Was I stupid to pray such a bold prayer?
What did I do wrong?
Regardless why this crater in the road occurred, one thing is certain: I’m blessed by such a supportive network of individuals. Support that many people simply do not have. Parents to strengthen me in my weakness. Siblings to make me smile in my brokenness. And yes, friends to pick me up from an isolated car shop or drive me to a grocery store.
I don’t want to be a burden on others, but I don’t want to retreat into solitude either. As an introvert with an affinity for me-time, I battle this seeming paradox daily. Since reentering California, I feel led into a distinct season of reaching out.
Asking for help when I need it; offering help when it’s needed.
What’s the purpose of all trials and tribulations? Is it just to “build faith” or is there something deeper beneath the surface? Maybe this is a not-so-simple test of faith. Or maybe there’s something more. I don’t know. Not yet anyway.
All I can do is have faith. Faith that God didn’t lead me 2500 miles just to die in the wilderness. Faith that the heralded Promised Land is perhaps just one phone call, one email, one life-changing new song away.
What’s been the worst day of your life? Have you seen any fruit blossom from that day?