It started with a minor kitchen accident. I was cooking lunch: pork chops marinated with orange juice. Unfortunately, I accidentally spilled some of the marinade over the stove range, causing the pilot light to go out. The constant clicks made me think that my kitchen was going to explode. (That’s what I get for binge-watching Burn Notice.) Thankfully, my mom and my brother were able to handle the situation.
What did I do? I panicked. I never had to deal with a broken pilot light before. I hid out in my mom’s bathroom, wishing I had someone who’d hold me. As I said before, I hate dealing with unfamiliar situations and when situations are outside of my control, my first instinct is to cry and panic.
My brother turned off the power in the kitchen and we waited for my dad to come back from work to fix it. It took a long time, but thankfully, the pilot light was dried out and the stove range was cleaned. However, we had to leave the kitchen off until it was safe. Which meant that for several hours, I was left with the uncertainty of whether or not I would cook. I worried about what I would eat the next morning.
I didn’t have any time to whine about it, though, because given that my mom had a day off from work and her idea of “relaxing” is spring cleaning, I was put in charge of cleaning my bathroom.
But the story doesn’t end there. As the day drew to a close, a major thunderstorm broke out. The power went out for a while. Since I didn’t have the safety blanket of my internet, I curled up in bed with my crucifix, my stake, and my Buffy Funko pop dolls. I know. What am I, twelve?
I prayed the Rosary during stormy situations before, both literal and metaphorical, and last night was no different. I was about halfway through the second joyful mystery when the power came back on. But I kept praying the Rosary even after the power came back because I was still scared of tomorrow.
I didn’t get much sleep, given the constant thunder, lightning, and the clicks from the pilot light, but in the morning, they were all gone. The kitchen was silent and functioning normally again. The sun came out. The streets of my city are sadly flooded, but God kept me and my family safe.
I know that I have to figure out a way to deal with being anxious about uncertainties that don’t involve panicking, but I feel like I’m doing a lot better right now.
One of the lies my so-called best friend from a few years ago told me was that I wouldn’t be able to handle myself on my own if something bad happened to my family. They, of course, said this because they wanted me completely dependent on them. At the time, I believed them. Looking back now, I realized that I faced a lot of situations that were outside of my control like getting my purse stolen and dealing with a broken heart during a retreat. But I was never alone and I didn’t have to deal with those situations by myself.
The great blessing that came out of each of the storms in my life was that I always had my family and my friends and my God. I always had someone to talk to or some task that would keep my mind away from the situation. When my purse got stolen, I ran straight to the church (since it took place in my parish’s parking lot) and told my friends and my pastor about what happened. When I was dealing with a broken heart, I had someone to talk to and made some new friends. And when my pilot light broke, my family was there to fix it and eventually listen.
Most of all, I could pray and offer my anxieties and fears. I can get shaken a lot, but I am never ever stirred to give into my fears. Like the Casting Crowns song goes, in spite of how I feel, I praise God in the storm.
So I guess the question is “Why does God allow me to experience unfamiliar situations or experiences that put me through the emotional wringer?”
The answer is because I learn something from each experience. Whenever I encounter someone who’s hurt, my first instinct is to protect and defend them because I was once in their shoes. Maybe someday, I’ll help someone else who felt betrayed by a friend, lost something important to them, or got their heart broken and I can help them because I understand their suffering.