I walk into the house and smell gas.
I imagine it wafting blue through the air and irrationally fear a flame flickers somewhere within these walls.
A scene from an action movie flashes. It’s the one where a peripheral character doesn’t know the danger lurking and enters a gas-soaked room while smoking a cigarette, and he is thrown across the room by roaring flames, through a door and a parking lot and against the side of a car.
I look around the room and turn off the stove knob knocked into the simmer position. I open up the windows and doors. The wind blows hard outside.
I think how good it is that the natural gas company adds drops of scent that make the odorless gas smell bad and wonder how many parts per million they add so we can detect it.
I’m sure I could google it, but I just want to wonder.
Lala hops down from the swing in the backyard and asks me if the rain is coming.
Looks like it is, love.
We decide to swing for a few more minutes before water drips heavy through branches.
While I push her, my mind drifts in and out of uncertain and misty while I go about hands-on-stuff living.
These past days, I fold underwear and sort papers, and I try to make order and still the swirling. I hope for solid done to make its way inside — to a sense of competence, confidence, ability. Instead doing only seems to stir the pot, and vapor voices keep swirling.
Why can’t I stay organized? What a disaster. I have got to get it together.
I need to find time to sort these photos, make baby books, create a better system for our office. I’ve got to stop piling my clothes all over the bedroom.
Why can’t I just do it right? Why can’t I seem to complete anything I start?
I know the answers, and I know grace lives there, but it doesn’t stop the questions coming, and they seem to have a life of their own.
Yesterday morning, I awake early, and I want to write, but my words aren’t ready. So I read longer. I journal, and I pray. I sit with Love, and it is good.
But amidst all that love, fear still swirls.
When will I find time to write, if not now? Do my girls feel my absence when I write? What if the words just won’t come? What if I’m never able to write again?
Now that I’ve begun to open up my hands to release experiences and thoughts and my heart like onion layers, fear of dried-up words swirls about me like brown leaves in wind.
I am insecure. I am afraid. I feel weak.
And it is good.
Oh, it doesn’t feel good, and these are not the words I wanted to share today. But they are the words I have to write.
I need to remember I am weak, and that you are, and that we are together.
I need to remember that each of us is crafted — imperfections and weakness included — by One who is infinitely strong and shines through imperfect places. One who invites weary ones, who blesses hurting ones, who loves each one.
I need to remember that underneath the swirling vapors of failure voices and not-enough voices and fallen-short voices, and I-should-have-done and why-didn’t-I and why-did-I voices, is the One who reminds us of what is true.
The One who enables us to know that the vapors live there at all, that those voices of fear and worry and despair feel true, but they are not truth.
Knowing means that the struggle and the truth hold a shape and a scent we recognize.
Knowing certainly does not pluck the struggle from us.
Instead, knowing reminds us the vapors are just that — vapors.