Little White Rooms
Updated: Jan 11
Crazy? I was crazy once! They took me to a home for it. They locked me in a little white room and threw away the key. I died there. Then the bugs came. Bugs? I hate bugs! They drive me CRAZY! Crazy? I was crazy once...
Ya OK I'll stop there...
But really! How many times haven't you actually felt like this. Locked away. Alone. A little white room with only a mirror where your own messed up face is staring back at you. A reflection of what you definitely do not want to be. The door is locked. Key thrown away. Believe me... I know all about it!
The Anxiety Room...
I never understood much about this room until my life became tangled up with Zèzè (no offense babe). It started, of course, with fear for his safety, that he would be shot or die of Co-Vid before I had a chance to marry him. And now living in the lovely country of Haiti we have many anxiety inducing experiences. Just some examples in the last 2 weeks...
We were coming down the mountain road from Oriani on Sunday when POP, there went the front tire. Now between this mountain road and our home there's this lovely little group of wicked men called the papaya gang who like to rape, steal cars, kidnap, and all sorts of other ungodly things. So to make yourself feel better you speed thru their territory in broad daylight as fast as you can. Remembering all the while that if they really want you, they'll shoot out your tires anyway. So this caused a bit of a problem for us because our spare tire had no air the jack was too short, and we were kind of in the middle of nowhere. After a long time, the lady riding with us recognized a passing vehicle as the magistrate of Oriani, and he gave Zèzè a ride back to the last town to fix the tire. We two ladies stayed behind, and meanwhile a huge group of curious kids who were supposed to be carrying water from the river gathered around us to talk to the white girl. Three hours later, it was after 7 o'clock, and no Zèzè. I freaked out and called the Oriani folks... At the same moment he bumped around the corner with 2 tires. It was dark and raining when we got onto pavement at the bottom of the mountain, and also to cell service. I had messages from both of my parents that my childhood friend and neighbor had been in a swimming accident and probably wouldn't make it. And then the steering wheel starting shaking. Since it was raining and the gangs probably wouldn't be out, Zèzè decided we should go on home instead of trying to find someone's house to sleep at. We stopped to check the bolts on the tire and headed out into the papaya zone creeping along the deserted road. And let me tell you that my hands were probably shaking harder than the steering wheel.
The next evening the guys had our tap tap in the streets, and one thing everyone says is to never do taxi after dark cuz your tap tap will get stolen. Well it was dark, and they had told us they were coming back, but they were at a station a long way away. Zèzè started getting nervous and called them a couple times and both phones went straight to voicemail. Both these guys were only 20 and hadn't had much experience, so we hauled off in our car to search for them. They were OK... It's hard to answer a call while driving in Port-au-Prince at night, but I was sure trapped in a tizzy for a bit.
Then on Saturday morning, I was getting ready to fly back to US for the funeral, doing laundry, and a plane flew over. I knew I would be on the next plane. Without my husband. Putting an ocean between us again like I said I'd never do. My heart raced, my hands shook, and I hugged my husband and cried and felt so trapped in the room of anxiety... With walls so high and a lock so strong I could never escape.
The Room of Grief...
My friend's family is in this room right now. I know they feel so trapped. Like their new normal is to just pace back and forth, banging their fists on the wall of grief around them, not knowing what to do with the huge hole in their everyday life that can never be filled by another person.
The Room of the Past...
I have seen some people that are very dear to me struggle so hard in this room. The Bible even says that the sins of the fathers will be visited on their children, even to the third generation. No one deserves to experience rejection, abuse, or maybe worst of all neglect, as an innocent tiny baby or at any other time in life. Even if by the grace of God they are removed from the situation, it makes it so hard for them to receive the love from God and their families, and to not just let it all drain out of their lives and be left with an empty heart again.
There are so many little white rooms we think we are locked in...
Sickness, rejection, financial insecurities, fear of the future or regret of the past. Even dreams or plans that are so big and beautiful we are sure God is the one who put them in our hearts in the first place... But they just. won't. happen.
I know we have all heard life described as a path or a journey.
But do you see your life as a long winding road or a tiny room?
The thing you need to know is this:
God never locks people up, and he has more faith in your story than you do.
He is not discouraged if you are laying face down in the mud, if you are looking back at your past and trip over the rock of unforgiveness, even if you take some steps backward or haul off into the underbrush away from your true path. He knows there is not a sin he cannot save you from, or a despair he cannot lift you from. He knows how big he is.
Some days you will be completely stuck... days so dark you can't lift a finger to help yourself. Most days you will only take tiny steps forward, even just something like taking your eyes for a moment off the monsters you believe are following you, and looking instead at the pinprick of light ahead that is God's love for you.
Here's the other thing:
When I'm walking along a road to get somewhere, I'm not usually carrying an ax to chop down trees beside the road, or lime green spray paint to paint the fences a different color.
Usually our biggest problems are solved when we are not so focused on "efforting" and "hustling." Living in Haiti it's easy to get so hyper-focused on making financial affairs work, and I have been amazed this year about the odd ways we have found money that we need... A 1,000 goudes left in the ash tray of the car the day we were robbed, a tax refund from a country we don't even live in right when we needed to by vehicle parts in US, generous friends that helped me make this trip to USA, and hey, if you remember we even found some money in the toilet once.
So much of our "efforting" is holding us back or at the very least taking our peace. We may literally hate the scenery around us right now with all our hearts, and see nothing beautiful and no hope for change. But our job is to "Be where our feet are." Our job is to hold onto the very true fact that life changes. Sad people can be happy again someday, and the person that looks like he has everything could be the person who will soon suffer a loss bigger than you can imagine in a single moment.
Folks, we want to get to heaven. That's the whole point of this life. But we have to take the journey to get there, and the question is, do we want to live our whole lives fighting the path?
I think an even bigger mistake than feeling like we are locked up in our little white rooms is to lock others, especially our families and loved ones, up in their failures and bad choices. We think they should break out of their sin, and be transformed into the model child of God, 5 minutes early for church, Sunday School book in hand... and during the week telling hitchhikers about Jesus, baking bread for the sick, and reading Bible Stories to their children.
I think God has more faith in them than we do. He doesn't see them as locked in their mistakes, he sees their journey. Sometimes God gives big transformations, and sometimes he works in little steps. Surely every day he's giving them little choices to make that will bring them closer to His light, but even if they're taking those little steps some days, the process could be invisible to us, especially at first. God has a way for any sin to be forgiven, and for worst choice you can imagine making to be fixed. He has so much faith in every person on this earth! God is the opposite of discouraged.
"And when I come...
He gives a peace,
Ten thousand words cannot explain.
He heals the pain.
All of my tears
Ev'ry sin stain.
Words can't explain
The joy I feel.
But I can say. I'm glad I came."
We will all say that. Standing before God in heaven someday and fully understanding his love for us, our hearts will cry out:
I'm glad I came!