Actually I should probably have said, “What a difference a couple months makes!” My mother passed away in October (I hate euphemisms, but there it is), Beth and I went on a long-planned vacation in November, we had the typical Thanksgiving madness after that, and Christmas prep in December. Absolutely no time to reflect, grieve for my mother, or to decompress. Days off over Christmas meant travel, and then the start of the new year. Since then, I have been stressing over this Dominican Republic trip, with the stress and difficulties mounting as the trip got nearer.
I remember in high school an incident, in which I committed a serious breach of protocol (that’s “slid-slip” for “I broke the rules”). The teacher against whom I committed the infraction came to school the next day, and visited each home room with his three-foot oak paddle. In those days, paddling was seen as completely justified, and getting paddled was nearly a rite of passage into manhood.
In any event, Mr. McCarthy walked into my home room and slammed the paddle down on a desk. It sounded like a rifle shot in a very small room, and I nearly had a heart attack. He made the pronouncement that he was going to find out who had done it, and they were going to get paddled by the end of the day. I probably should have spoken up and gotten it out of the way, but such was not in my thought processes at the time. What a long day that was! I can’t remember any other time that I thought I was going to throw up for hours, that wasn’t illness related. Needless to say, he caught up to me by the end of the day, and I indeed got paddled. I’m not going to say that the anticipation was worse than the punishment, that was the hardest I have ever been hit in my life. (Sidenote: I totally deserved it, and Mr. McCarthy shortly after that became one of my favorite teachers ever.) But what I will say is that the anticipation was absolutely wretched.
So it has been for the D.R. trip. I have felt ill, I have been cranky, problems have piled up and nearly overwhelmed me (Control issue? Probably partly). Scuba diving is a life’s pursuit for me, and I haven’t been under the water since November. I haven’t even wanted to dive, and haven’t even felt like talking about it, thinking about it, or assisting in training new divers at the store. The D.R. trip has pretty much consumed me.
We leave tomorrow. The time is nearly here. And last night I had the best night’s sleep I have had in a very long time. I think I’ve come to terms with it, and I am almost (emphasis on the word “almost”) looking forward to it! Beth and I get to spend time with friends that we love very much (plus!). Beth and I will be doing this together (major plus!). And I will, at last, be actually doing this for God (biggest plus of all). Still not going to say, “Bring it on,” but I am ready. And the anticipation? It’s here, and it has shifted from a negative anticipation to the positive. Pretty cool! Maybe there’s something to this obedience stuff. Huh! The adventure continues.