Here is the first part of this story, in case you missed it. Sunday (Father’s Day) we went to see the freshly “bush-hogged” (a new word I learned that day) land that my parents bought to roam around and imagine the house that they are planning to build there. The last time we went, I was in sandals. I got a fire ant bite on each foot. So, this time I came prepared and wore my rain boots. If only I had thought about my arms. My dad and I tried to measure the circumference of a large tree in a still-overgrown grove on the far side of the property. We eventually gave up because we couldn’t get close enough to it. The next afternoon at work, I noticed that my arm felt a bit warm. I was hustling around a room full of clients helping with enrollment paperwork for English classes when I looked down to see a red patch in the crook of my elbow. Poison ivy. I am one of those sad humans with sensitive skin, so I’m allergic to poison ivy. Highly allergic. (ahem)
By Tuesday, I had to leave work and find a clinic that could give me a cortisone shot ASAP. Of course, we don’t have our insurance cards yet having just started new jobs. I called on a potential rental house while I waited two hours at the clinic—multi-tasking is key in these uncertain times. By Wednesday night, it was clear that the shot had not done it’s job. I didn’t sleep at all, and the poison ivy was spreading rapidly. I had to email my new supervisor and explain the situation. Thankfully, he was very understanding–having had his own severe poison ivy experience. I went to the doctor and got an oral steroid. Later that afternoon I stood in front of the mirror with swollen, bleeding ears and itchy, inflamed skin on my arms and face. Bryan was half and hour away at work, and I briefly considered driving myself to the ER or finishing the job and just setting myself on fire. Low point number two. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it has been some of the worst pain I’ve experienced in my 28 years. Today, I can proudly say that I finally feel hopeful that I will someday have normal skin again. And I probably won’t take it for granted nearly as much as I did before.
Saturday, I was able to leave the house, and it renewed my spirits. I think I’d just been sitting and staring at my blistered skin for two solid days, washing my hands every five minutes to no avail while the rash continued to spread. You know you need to get out when you close your eyes to sleep at night and see visions of blotchy red arms. Bryan took me to the movies. He can’t get over how I keep asking him to turn the air conditioner higher. That’s not like me at all. Enjoy it while you can, honey. 🙂 Then we went to a restaurant and sat together in a booth facing a window and ate nachos at 3pm. We looked out at the traffic and buildings and reflected on life in the city thus far. We talked about our dreams for the future and expressed our gratitude for God’s provision.
Admittedly, this new chapter and I have gotten off to a rough start, but sitting there with Bryan, I felt my confidence begin to rise again. The thing is, I was so comfortable with our life before. And although it’s been tempting throughout this “in between” time to long for what we left behind, I know deep in my heart that it was time for a new adventure. These setbacks I’ve experienced have beaten me up a bit, but looking out that window Saturday afternoon–completely relaxed for the first time in a long while–I remembered that we are right where we’re supposed to be. I relish this opportunity to be challenged. I want to learn new things and meet new people and explore a new city. I feel like we will grow here in ways I can’t imagine now.
One of the aspects of transition that I’ve come to appreciate the most is how it reminds me that God is our only constant. Isn’t it dangerous to get too comfortable? With any luck, I’ll be writing to you next from our new home in the big city, but until then, I’ll be okay. I heard this quote from Augustine in a sermon recently, and it’s become my mantra. “O Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Amen.