Confession…I have a fear of vacation planning!
Fear can be a crippling thing. Some pastors will tell you that ALL fear is sin, because fear indicates a lack of faith. Jesus rebuked his disciples for their lack of faith.
When my kids were lost in their drug addiction, I woke up every morning afraid that this would be the day I’d get “the call”—word that my child had been found dead or dying. Was my fear a manifestation of my lack of faith, or was it simply the natural instinct to get out of a dangerous situation?
If a ravenous lion was chasing me, I assure you I would not stand before it and say, “I have faith you will not eat me”. I guarantee you that my fear would light a fire under my feet and I would RUN!
For me, the fear of the drugs and what they were doing to my family was very real and it wasn’t my lack of faith that spurred me to fight. It was the very real dangers that got me out of bed every day and drove me into battle.
I’ve developed some rather irrational fears over the years, but in my defense, they are a result of conditioning. A ringing phone causes my heart to skip a beat, my blood pressure to rise, and fear kicks in. I really hate making phone calls. The counselors have told me it was all those years of getting bad news calls about my kids and my fear of rejection (which I’ve had a lot of) that has caused those fears.
The fear that has raised its ugly head most recently, is my fear of planning a vacation. Sounds like an irrational fear, doesn’t it?
This is the deal, every single time Tom and I have planned a vacation, stuff happens and a dark cloud hovers over what should be a time of peace and relaxation.
Once we planned an after-Christmas trip to San Francisco—just the two of us. We were kinda poor back then and we saved money for a few months. A couple of days before Christmas we hid all our kids’ presents in the trunk of our car—away from prying eyes. On Christmas Eve morning we woke to find our car had been stolen! The gifts! They were gone.
We took the money we’d saved for our trip, and went out and bought all new presents for our kids.
One Summer Tom and I planned to take our first cruise. I LOVE the water and I was so looking forward to cruising. A few days before our scheduled departure our daughter ran away from home and we cancelled our trip (of course). We would never have left knowing our daughter was in trouble.
A few vacations have been cancelled or shortened because of car problems, unexpected bills, or kid issues. Last year just before we left for a much-anticipated trip to New Orleans, I was fired from my part-time job.
I’m afraid to map out a vacation. I guess I feel that vacation planning will invite trouble. Superstitious? Maybe a bit, but every respite we’ve ever planned has been thwarted in one way or another.
So, here we are—vacation 2010. Tom is two days into a six-week sabbatical. We’ve been saving money and we are really looking forward to a trip to someplace we’ve never been. But…
The refrigerator died, two cars are broken, and kids are in need. The contract for my second part-time job ended last month, so money is VERY tight.
I’m gonna be real transparent here—this sucks. I know life is not fair, but this is so not fair. Don’t we deserve a vacation?
When Gia went to rehab, we had a few friends whose kids were also in trouble. Every one of them found people who helped them pay the massive cost of saving their child’s life. Some of them got help from the school district, some were helped by the state, and others received donations from their church. We asked for help, but we were denied, and we are still paying that large debt.
Now, don’t misquote here, I would give up EVERYTHING to save my sons or daughter. There is NO price too high to save the life of a child! My Lord gave up his very life for me, and I would happily die if it meant my child would live.
It just makes me sad that despite our faithful giving of tithe, offering, talent, and time, the church wouldn’t help us in our hour of need. My human heart feels sad about that.
I have friends who, like us, have a son who was in prison. Now that he’s been release, people are lining up to give him a job. But my son—he can’t get a break. Here’s a bit more authenticity comin’ at ya…why them and not us?
Life can be overwhelming and going it alone is hard. Our challenges have caused us to lose a few friends, and others have distanced themselves from us as if we are contagious.
The upside, of course, is that my family is closer than ever as we really do count on one another. We know that when all else fails, we are there for each other.
We’ll be okay. The fear will subside. We’ll keep going just like we always have. We are survivors.