Sunday, January 16, 2011

Christmas vortex and blinding white-outs

Christmas came and went and we are still recovering.
Not that it was bad; it was wonderful.
It's just that the work it took to go and the work that faced us on our return has been intimidating.
We were home from Oregon two days and I had to teach two classes before we were off to a Rosebud Retreat.
Now that I look at the term as a whole, it's hard to see any room for extras, but I'm grateful for the opportunities I have.
The past week held a flurry of voice over jobs, particularly for Weston, who is reluctant to "work", even though his work often consists of 5 minutes of recording time, compared to the hour of editing Dave or I do. I finally set up gmail accounts for each of the boys to keep their jobs straight.
It's been a tough adjustment after Mom and Dad's and retreat. Two mornings I woke up dizzy in the dark trying to find my bearings. Which house, which country, which city was I in?
All of us commented on how it was especially hard to leave Oregon after a week of little responsibility, rich foods, games and family.
One of the highlights for me was seeing Voyage of the Dawn Treader in 3D, with most of the Shepard/Meltebeke/Snider clan sitting in one row. Seeing a movie in a big theatre is a treat to begin with, but a story of Narnia?!--even better!
I didn't get to see as many friends as I wished in Eugene, but we did get to connect with Dave's sister Michelle and Kevin, and a few Study Center and Theatre friends.
Most of the time was spent with family. Just hanging out, shopping, preparing meals, and of course, Adam's wedding. I even got in a little biking. My goodness I was thirsty to see the river. Oh it was so beautiful! Now I realize how unique Eugene is to have so many wonderful trails. I breathed in the moist air, the colors, the sun and all the GREEN. I was sad to realize what a huge part of me that land is and how I'm no longer near it. I was shocked to find a few moments where I actually forgot I had a whole other life in Canada -- I just felt so at home and everything seemed so familiar that I thought I had lived there all my life.
Before we left I tucked Donovan into his sleeping bag underneath the tree near his cousin Heidi. "Mom," he asked with a chocolate induced sleepy contentedness, "can we just stay here... and not go to school?" I chuckled. "Donovan, if we lived here, you would have school." "Ummm..." he groaned and rolled over, succumbing to sweet slumber.
Alberta has been a sharp contrast to Eugene in some ways. The snow has been extreme at times and I partly love it, when I get to stay inside. The main drawback was the white knuckle drive from Camp Caroline after the retreat.
It really wasn't all that bad; but the uncertainty kept me tense. We would travel through moments of white-out that would suddenly clear just when I couldn't stand it another moment. In general, we could see far enough ahead to drive at a reasonable pace with adequate time to stop. The roads were not slippery really, but there were drifts at times, and since we were were driving in a caravan, the car in front of us would stir up the powder into a blinding white for a second or two that felt like 10. We kept on, but I kept thinking it was going to get worse, and that long stretch between Olds and Three Hills had little room to stop and turn around. Scary.
And yet...fine.
The only truly terrorizing patch was a curve on Hwy 9. The drifts were so thick, we HAD to travel on the left side of the road. The van in front of us was kicking up blinding dust, but then we watched them fishtail... right before we did. We must have swerved 5 or 6 times before we hit pavement on the other side of the curve. Scary.
But again, sort of fine.
Thankfully, no one was coming the other way, so our whole caravan made it through the snowy turn by driving and swerving on the wrong side of the road.
There was no snow plough in sight.
I kept exhaling deep breaths throughout the whole ride just to calm my nerves.
I hate being scared.
And yet...
I was fine.
There was no real danger, in one sense, ... just the potential, and that's what caused the fear: the potential loss.
The best thing when you're blinded with those brief white-outs is to keep steady and keep moving, trusting the road is there, is straight, and is clear just up ahead. And it was. But every blinding white-out thrust me into a true sense of vulnerability -- where I had little control over the outcome, I could only hope.
And I was fine.
All that fear, instantly conjured up through a bit of dust. And then clarity.
SO similar to my life and my worries.
If I just keep on and keep steady, I'll find the pavement again, only seconds away.
Actually my entire life is susceptible to death or safety at all times; it's just that I carry the illusion that I am in control. Those blinding white-outs remind me a bit of Saul's confrontation with Jesus on the road.
Sometimes it takes a loss of my senses to remember how truly vulnerable I am, and to trust that the dust will settle just in time to see clear again, the path that was there all along.

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