While I'm waiting for the police, I thought this might be a good time to write my blog...
This morning my husband had to wake me up with these words: Cathie, someone went through our car last night. He said that when he went out to go to work, the hood, the trunk, the glove box and the back door on the passenger side of the Malibu were standing open. I was the last one to drive it yesterday and although I normally lock the vehicle, yesterday I didn't.
Phil wasn't upset with me, just running late for work and sorry he had to hand this situation off to me. He couldn't see anything missing although everything was jumbled around. He asked me to check and see if the papers in the glove box were there, which as near as I can tell, they are. Still, identity theft was at the top of both our minds and so I called the police to make a report, just in case I needed a formal record down the road.
However, before I did all that, my first reaction was to stagger out onto the porch, still half asleep, and wonder "Why?" and "Who would do this?" My next was to make a quick run to the bathroom ala nerves. And then I called the non-emergency number to talk to a police dispatcher.
Then, and only then, did I stop and think, "What's next?"
It was at that point that I remembered a saying from my study Bible, "Because God knows everything, I will go to Him with all my questions and concerns." I realized it had never crossed my mind to go to Him with this problem when I first learned about it. My next thought was, "God allows difficult things to happen to us.. but, really, did He allow this event, which in the whole scheme of things, is pretty insignificant? Does He watch over us that closely? And if He did allow this, why?"
As I knelt to pray, I just told Him frankly that I understood Romans 8:28 - that all things work together for good to those who love Him... But that I really didn't see how anything good could come out of this. Yet, I affirmed that His word is true. I realize I may never see anything good in this - at least until I get to Heaven. But if His eye is on the Sparrow, then His eye is on us as well and in everything, He has a purpose. As Corrie ten Boom liked to say, God has no problems, only plans! So I have to trust that He has a plan, a purpose, even for something as irritating and senseless as this.
And then I began to think about all the phone calls I will have to make today and all the things that could be taken from us. And of course, I dread going through all the bureaucratic nonsense, the interminably repetitive phone recordings that start off, "If you want this.. then press this..."
But then I thought about how in the the last couple of days, I have felt impressed to set aside the mystery novel I'm reading - which is top notch - and focus instead on an autobiography that I bought 15 years ago. Obviously, it's been a while since I read the book and I don't remember much about it Honestly, I can't even remember when I last touched it; it's just never been one of my favorites
However, this time as I've been re-reading it, almost every word on every page has resonated with me, like it never did before. The story is of a woman, Amy George, born into Stalinist Russia in the mid 1930's and as I've been reading it, I can't believe that I was untouched in the past by the poignancy and the suffering this woman endured as a small child.
In fact, I can't even begin to paint an accurate picture of the poverty they went through. Her mother must have been amazing to have held the family together through things I can scarcely take in. For one thing, her father, a very creative man as well as a full-fledged lawyer, stood up for their rights and for this, he was sent to Siberia - it would be 40 years before his family ever saw him again. All he did was tell a communist official it was illegal to do net fishing in the local pond because it was a breeding pool - only pole fishing was allowed. And for that, he was torn away from his family and forced to do hard labor in Siberia while his wife was left with a 13 year-old, a ten-year-old and a baby to care for. Amy was the baby.
This poor mother, Maria, was allowed to come to the local prison as long as her husband was still there - but she could only come one day a month and when she arrived, after standing in line for hours, she was always denied visiting privileges. Also, each month she stood in line for hours at a local government office, applying for any jobs that had been posted. She was a certified bookkeeper but the officials denied her any and all available positions - and often humiliated her in the process - because her husband was an "enemy of the state". So she worked at back-breaking jobs like shoveling coal onto trains, 11 hours a day. In addition to this, in the summer she dried all the fruit that she could from their orchard by laying it out on top of the roof where her youngest child, Amy, as a three and four-year-old would climb up there and try to keep the flies away from everything.
Because her husband was persona non grata, electricity was cut off to their house and so the mother put a wooden shelf over the stove so that she and her children could sleep on that shelf in the winter time and get a little of the heat that still hovered above the stove after the fire had gone out. By the time Amy was three-years-old, she was staying inside the house all day long during the long winter months - totally alone - because everyone else in the family was working. During the snowy months Amy had to stay in bed under a goatskin rug to stay warm. Once she fell asleep with her hands outside the covers and when she woke up, she had frostbite on her fingers. This caused her to suffer pain and tingling in her fingers first thing every winter morning for as long as they lived in her small, essentially unheated home.
These days were incredibly hard but later would come to seem idyllic after WWII broke out because, unfortunately, this small family was living in the Ukraine, right in the path of the German advance. Eventually they would be transported to a labor camp in Nazi Germany which would make their Ukrainian village seem like paradise. And yet, somehow, the Lord preserved them and brought them through to better times.
For several days, as I've said, I knew the Lord was drawing me to re-read this book but I didn't know why. Nor do I know, even now, why the story has resonated so deeply with me this time round.
But I do know that in light of what I've been reading - in the face of this glimpse into such horrible poverty and suffering - it's a little easier to keep my balance this morning as I deal with what, to this family in the 1930's and 40's would have been nothing - a blip on the radar screen.
Everything is relative.
Acutely aware that I have much to be thankful for.
And for the fact that God is good all the time, even when we don't understand His ways. That is the theme of Amy George's book, Good-bye is Not Forever. ANd that is the song of my heart this morning as we pray for whoever broke into our car, that God would turn their life around.