instruments

Sometimes it takes a long time to understand what lies beneath the surface, what the thing is that needs our focus until it waits no longer, it gives up being a gentleman or woman and pushes through the surface, lava out of an erupting volcano, crying out for attention, unrelenting and turning you to face it and pay attention. It corners you somewhere and says, I’m here, we are going to work this thing out.

This moment comes for me on a cold afternoon in March, holding a baby in my arms, standing on our green grass and waiting for Assistancekåren to come and re-charge our dead car battery.

Music class is the most highly-anticipated event in our week. We started attending a few weeks after we moved to Sweden, Little Boy could barely let go of my leg when we walked into the first class, everything was new and scary for him.

But not the guitar and the strumming of his teacher, Dale. He’s always loved the guitar.

Most weeks he started by sitting on my lap, refusing to stand or do any actions, but he watched guitar and all the instruments that came out from time to time. In a new place, in a new stage of life, music was one of the few things he could understand and trust. In the spring we had the second semester of the class, and now he sings along, does the actions, runs around and is still devotedly in love with his teacher. Almost every day of the week, he asks me, Is today for music class?

One of the best parts of my week is when he wakes up from his nap on Tuesday afternoon, and I get to tell him, We’re going to music class now, quick let’s get in the car!

Basically, music class is a big deal.

Several months ago on a Tuesday afternoon, I woke him up from his nap for the class, it’s the only time I can interrupt nap time and get away with it because he’s thrilled to go. We got in the car, it was a beautiful sunny afternoon in late March, I turned the key and the car did not start. I turned it again. Nothing. Checked if it was in Park, put it in Drive, and put it back in Park. Still nothing. I tried everything I could – including laying my hands on the car and praying for it – and nothing happened.

You can imagine how this went down with Little Boy. He’s logical enough to hear the car not starting and see the key turning with no result.

Mommy, can we walk? Can we take the stroller to music class?

No, my sweetie it’s too far to walk.

Can we take the bus, Mommy?

We will be late if we take the bus. I’m sorry kiddo. I’m so sorry.

He got it. He knew he was not going to music class, and my son was devastated. He hugged me as his little frame shook with sobs.

We found out later than the battery died, and in the week that followed it died a few more times, so we knew we had to buy a new one. The place where I needed to go to get it done was five minutes away from the music class, and it was supposed to take 15 minutes, so when the next Tuesday arrived, I had a plan perfectly in place.

I was going to call Assistancekåren (the local equivalent to Triple A or RACV) to come and restart the battery, drive with the boys to the car place to buy and have the battery installed, then off to music class we would go. I left myself about two hours of buffer. Nothing could go wrong. We would go to music class.

Mommy promised a music class. It would happen this week.

I woke Little Boy up extra early. I wanted to make sure we had spare time. Then I called the car assistance people, and we stood in the yard and waited. They will be here soon, I promised. The last time I called they came within 20 minutes.

Twenty minutes passed. Then 30. Then 45 minutes. I’m starting to feel the pressure building inside, We will get to music class. There is no way we are missing music class again this week.

I called them again. You’re at the top of the list, the man says, We’ve had a lot of calls.

I’m praying, Please God, please make this work. I don’t want to miss music class. I’m watching the time, the class starts at 4pm, it was now almost 3:30. I didn’t even care if we would be late. We would go if there was only five minutes remaining.

One hour passed by. Fifteen more minutes and nothing. I realized that I had no idea what time the battery place closed, so I called them. It closed in 10 minutes for battery repairs and replacements. There was no point in the car assistance people coming anymore. I called them to cancel.

By this point I don’t think Little Boy believed we were going to class anyway.

But I was devastated.

I made promises. I made a plan. This Tuesday afternoon was going to be our redemption after last week’s heartache. And now again through events I could not control, I’m holding broken promises and undone plans.

Baby was in my arms, I turned away from my todler playing in the yard and walked a little bit so he couldn’t see the tears falling hard and fast down my face, but I didn’t hide the swelling anger inside.

How could you, God? It’s his favourite thing. How dare you? Fixing a car is nothing to you. This class is everything to him. We’ve been standing out in the cold for almost two hours now waiting, believing, expecting you to come through. How dare you? HOW DARE YOU?

My broken soliloquy continued until I was shaking so hard and so cold that I knew it was time to go back inside. Little Boy had moved on already. I put a video on and hid in the kids’ play corner of the living room.

I was shaking because I knew – this wasn’t about music class disappointing though it was, this wasn’t about the car, this was about me. And four years of adjusting to a new continent. Three years of sleep deprivation and stretch marks and hormones and nursing bras. Three years of no time for marriage, for myself, for the life I thought I would have. Four years of almost no community, four years of feeling ripped from my friends and family, four years of having no frame of reference. Four cold winters, cold springs and colder-than-normal summers, four years of feeling lost.

How dare you, God?

The words I felt in my soul for too long, finally making its escape.

The only thing I know to do in these moments is reach for my battered blue Bible and ask God to speak to me, anything. I hear Isaiah and turn to the middle and start to read, after a few mintues, I reach these words.

I know your sitting down
    and your going out and coming in,
    and your raging against me.

I know your raging against me. 

I know your raging against me.

No words of comfort, assurance or hope, only the Truth.

I know you, I know what you’ve experienced, I know that it broke you in every way, I see your broken heart, I know you lost everything. I knew you were angry before you knew it. I knew you were angry at me when you thought you were surrendering it all. I knew you didn’t trust me. I know your raging against me. I have heard your raging against me.

It’s tempting to tie these stories up with a bow, a happy ending, but there is none today. I’m walking this path with God, rebuilding our relationship one day at a time, looking deeper to see what happened to simple trust, holding fast with what little strength I have to what I know to be true, enjoying the now surprisingly warm summer days in Sweden, taking my vitamin D pills, talking things out with a counselor and finding alone time when I can.

Perhaps you’re reading this, holding your own disappointments and anger in your hand and wondering when The Good Part of The Story Arrives. I’m sorry – I don’t have it. I walked away from that couch and made dinner for the boys and put them to bed, raw from emotion long hidden inside now let out into the open.

Friend, you’re not alone. I know your raging against me, that’s what He says. He knows your raging, your failing, your successes, your inadequacies, your disappointments and your pain, fill in the blank, he knows it. He offers his presence to you, to me, to anyone who would accept it, and he gives you the opportunity to keep walking, to see what He is like and what He can do in you if you keep going.

I know your raging against me,  I hold this sentence tightly in my heart. God knows me, he knows the details of my thoughts, emotions and words. He offers his presence, his intimate knowledge of who I am, where I am and in knowing and accepting me as I am, he offers me an invitation to hold his hand and walk.

I’m linking up with the #TellHisStory community today.