Imagine eating a sweet and sour lemonhead. The candy's sweetness wears off slowly in spots to reveal bursts of the the lip puckering center as it twirls around your tongue. Except for the first and last taste, it is never "just" sweet or "just sour." Instead, it's an amalgamation of the two.
This is me. One emotion starts, then is tempered by another until neither is pure enough to let myself completely fall into it. How is it that a single human being can experience simultaneous, conflicting emotions? I don't understand it, but I live this irony every day.
My husband can provide way too much proof of how my sadness, loneliness, and hurt bubbles over into anger before simmering down again into an even deeper sadness and penitence for that anger. It seems I can never "just" be sad...or "just" angry without the two weaving themselves into an Chinese knot that'll take me a good bit of time to untangle.
Now, once again, I've fallen into the well of conflicting emotions.
For the past five years, building our house has been on hold, plans gathering dust on the shelves. When the project stopped, I was devastated. All the furniture had been chosen. A huge folder housed books and lists with all my selections from fans and light figures to counter tops and paint chips!
But when our "worst case scenario" happened, God gave me a Bible passage just for me, one that gives me comfort even now when I read it: "Though the fig tree should not blossom And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation" (Hab. 3:17-18).
House or no house, I would praise and serve God. And I have done just that.
But I have also day dreamed, visualizing my new house any time I needed an escape from our present house's problems...and also any time I needed to be reminded of God's promise to me that this day of restoration would come: "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you" (Joel 2:25).
My visions have been my faith walks. In them, the house is always bathed in light. It's never too hot or too cold as I step from room to room. The colors and furniture placement never change. I don't trip over any toys or shoes out of place. Beautiful. Spacious. Airy. Holy. Perfect.
I've been flitting in and out of this dreamworld for the past 5 years, just waiting for the happiness to break forth into reality.
And one week ago today, it happened.
Before I was even out of bed, the slab for our new house was being poured. A cool, God-given day dawned perfect for pouring and drying concrete and a short shower overnight to finish the process.
Seeing the house's outline traced in the dirt with wood boards brought fresh tears of happiness to my eyes. Watching the concrete poured in the forms by swirling mixer trucks. Watching the skeleton walls rise like a Phoenix. Knowing with each board, with each nail--I am seeing hope in action, seeing God's word made flesh--it's just been too emotionally overwhelming to write about.
To my husband and me, this structure has come to symbolize so much more than a house. It symbolizes God's promise to take care of us, to bless us for obedience within a trial. And it also symbolizes restoration, that we are finally getting back some of what we lost when the woman destroyed his career.
Such happiness...but would you believe it's been mixed with such unexpected sadness? Yes, sadness! And I have felt too guilty about it to write and share the "joy" about our new house.
I want to weep with joy over the progress. But I have also wanted to weep in sadness over the structural changes we had to make from the original plans, the light fixture that's no longer available, etc. And then this same week, my husband ran into someone from his old job and also got a letter in the mail dealing with his disbarment.
We've literally spend months without giving more than a passing thought to the past. And now several things all at once? What was going on?
At my aunt's house on Wednesday, I was nosing through her bookshelf and saw a neat-looking cover. She suggested I take and read Randy Alcorn's Lord Foulgrin's Letters. Inside the pages, I found fiction based on Scripture concerning Satan's demons.
In one passage, Alcorn suggests that while we readily accept that each person has a guardian angel watching over her, we don't consider that each person might have a guardian demon assigned to watch over her, too. Not a comforting concept.
But weren't my conflicting emotions just a problem with my processor upstairs? Or was it really something more.
Yesterday evening, Doug and I sat down and realized this week, we had both been individually feeling assaulted by the past.
Was it someone whispering reminders to me and Doug of our losses and reinforcing those thoughts by arranging the happenstance meeting with the old employee, and by perfectly timing the letter's arrival in the mailbox. Was it all ordained by Satan's minions to temper my enjoyment of God's blessing? To keep me silent in shameful guilt for being a bit sad versus bubbling over in praise to my God?
It makes me wonder.
So prepare for weeks of bubbling in the future. God is good. Good keeps His promises.