Thursday, August 30, 2007

"This Is Only a Test"

Life becomes a million times easier (I think, anyway) when you understand that many things are just simply tests... and God is watching to see what grade you're getting... and how much you've learned--or yet need to learn.

Take this morning. I could no longer sleep so I got up at 4:00 a.m. (I hate it when that happens. But oh well.). While heating water for my pretend coffee, I peered out our kitchen windows and spied something moving in the shadows, just out of range from our motion-sensor light. At first I thought it was the neighbors' annoying pure black cat who tip-toes right up to our front porch and stares through the glass of our storm door, the same cat who we must make certain is nowhere near when we allow Lennon to sit with us on the porch.

But then I saw that this black creature had white feet/lower legs and it walked more like a dog. "Hmm...," I thought. "I've not seen any dogs like that around here and why would he be out at 4 in the morning anyway?" Well, it remained in the shadows and I stepped away to pour the hot water and forgot about it.

Fast-forward 5 hours later when, in the daylight, I walked to the backyard to pour birdseed in the feeders. As I walked back toward the house I smelled a subtle, more-than-annoying scent of skunk. Oh dear. That must have been what I'd seen. Not a cat, not a dog, but a skunk. And I instantly recalled that all this week I've smelled skunk scent first thing inside the house each morning--subtly, but even so--since I leave the windows partially opened (in a locked position) and upstairs we leave a fan blowing air inside.

Good grief. And I thought having a woodchuck living in our tiny backyard was a nuisance! Perhaps the skunk even kicked out the rabbit family which lives underneath the shed.... and maybe he lives there now.

So all day I've been repeating, "This is only a test. This is only a test." Far better is it to reassure myself that way, than to imagine the skunk will never move away.... that I'll always be afraid to go in the backyard now (especially in evenings), that this will have an effect on selling our house and yada yada yada to eternity.

But compared to my next test, that was nothing.

Ever since Tom left on Sunday, (he's due back late tonight), I've been watching Monk Season 5 dvd's (thanks to Netflix). Hours and hours of Monk episodes--it's how I'm spending my vacation. :) It's important that I tell you that so you'll understand where I'm coming from...

At 4:30 today I got a call from a stranger at the Reno airport saying he'd found a cell phone on the floor, this phone with which he was now speaking to me. He said he'd be upset to lose his cell phone so he pushed the 'Home' button and was now wondering what I wanted him to do.

So of course (after all those Monk episodes) this picture came to my mind: My sweet little husband was sitting at the airport when suddenly a couple thugs came along, grabbed him by the arms, his cell phone dropped to the floor, and they ushered him outside, telling him to keep quiet or he'd be sorry.

(Hey, don't tell me you've never imagined anything like that...!)

Well, I asked the guy (who sounded very, very kind) to have Tom paged and I thanked him for calling me, etc. And then right away, yes, you guessed it, I began repeating, "This is only a test. True, it's odd that Tom was at the airport way before his flight, but it's not odd for him to lose things. Not even."

This is only a test.... this is only a test.

So I prayed for Tom's safety and prayed, too, that I'd pass this test, and then I washed the French door glass in our Cozy Room (to stay busy) while I watched Oprah. And around a half-hour later Tom called me. From his cell phone. A bit sheepishly. They'd paged him, he had his cell phone back and all was well.

Whew. Always I'll be grateful for having learned about the whole 'this is only a test' thing. Rather than worrying about what might happen in any adverse circumstance, instead, the worry shifts to, "What should I do to pass this test so that God will be pleased?"

And that's a type of worry I can handle.


"You will remember all the way the Lord your God led you in the desert these forty years, to humble you, and how He tested you to know what was in your heart to see if you would keep His commandments or not." Deuteronomy 8:2


For a more detailed post about tests, here's one I wrote years ago.


Dianne said...

I'm glad he's okay. I love your new blog look!

daisymarie said...

Now those are good words to function by!! What a blessing to have Tom's phone found...and by such an angel.

~Jennifer said...

Hmm, yes. I like that way of thinking of problems that crop up. I used to imagine I was being watched and someone was judging my parenting when I was taking care of my first born infant. It was amazing how much more patient and graceful I was when I did that. I can only imagine how being aware of God's eyes on me as I go about my day might make a difference. Although, I will confess that I've gotten awfully comfortable with God, and like a wife who no longer shaves her legs for her beloved, I'm a bit complacent with God at times, taking his love, adoration, and mercy for granted.

Judy said...

Oh, Debra. I feel your pain.

We had a middle of the night call once from a man who claimed to have found our college daughter's cellphone in a NYC taxi cab. She was there with a friend. A friend whose last name we couldn't remember.

She WAS fine. But until we heard from her - well, we understand ALL about tests!

And, there are still many many good honest people in this world, no matter what watching the news might make one think!

I am so glad to hear that Tom is fine!

Now..,about that skunk...

elizabeth said...

As to skunks, I have read that the best way to get one to leave a garage, is to leave a nice large pan of ammonia down. At least said to be an easy way to get one to leave a garage...not sure if it would work under a shed. But maybe...might be work a try! We had LOTS of skunks one place we lived, remote location. A neighbor killed one of them that got into a shed. This evidently enraged the rest of the skunks. That night they went to each place in our little neighborhood and left a huge amount of stink behind. We could NEVER again mow the yard there without nearly being overcome.

Hope your hubby got home ok. And people wonder what part of a wife's duty might be? In my opinion, trying to keep them all together, with cell phones, keys, money, etc. We have had some scares with lost stuff before too!

Margie said...

great post, i wish i would have said "this is only a test" a couple weeks ago... I think it would have been easier...

Sherry said...

I've been going through several very troubling tests over the past two months -- and it is a hard thing to remember sometimes! But we must.

I had a woodchuck family living in my front bushes a couple of years ago! They loved to eat my flowers, especially the pansies.

We have a large field behind my house and there is a nice rabbit family back there -- and yes, not surprisingly, a skunk!

We pulled up to the house a few nights ago and the skunk was right in front of my porch, chewing on a weed! My dh got right out of the car as I sat there cringing! Waiting for that awful smell....

Good luck with yours!


Ann said...

We have weekly visit with skunks in our neighborhood. ususally garbage night! LOL! I've been told it is a whole family. Mama and her babies. I've seen them once on a walk and kept my distance. wished I'd had my camera with me but didn't. I hope Tom is safely home and you are having a quiet Labor day holiday. Best wishes and prayers to you.