After looking under and behind every piece of furniture in our already ready-for-company-clean house, I opened my computer in a bizarre mix of despair and hope, as if I secretly thought I would discover to a CSI-inspired PowPow tracking device.
Instead, despair and hope brought me (as they often do) to facebook.
"If I could ask God one question right now," I wrote, "and have Him answer immediately, I would ask: 'Where is PowPow?' (PowPow is Harvey's doll)"
A few minutes later my neighbor wrote a comment. "Did u check our yard... saw him come with it"
In a moment I was outside with the flashlight. Yes, PowPow was in the neighbor's yard, right next to the sandbox. So happy to stop looking, I kissed that doll right on its sandy plastic head.
And this was after Harvey swore up and down he hadn't taken PowPow out of the house today! When I brought the doll up to Harvey's bed and told him where I'd found it he said, "Oh. I knew it was there."
dot dot dot.
I have not been great with this thing our church calls "listening to God." Sure I pray, but my prayer is not a lot different from my thinking and my thinking is not a lot different from my worrying or list making or whatever it is I do in my head that is impossible to shut off. I have isolated moments of peace in the same way I have isolated moments of anaerobic activity; they're fun and they make me feel better afterward but they can't go on forever.
But this season has been even worse, since I got pregnant. The busy thoughts just can't seem to shut off, my hands won't be calm unless they are cleaning or making or holding something. I wonder if it is the hormones. And then secretly I wonder and push it to the back of my mind: could it be avoidance? Could if be fear of reality? The reality that you're going to have another child?
Because God knows every time I get pregnant there's this little fingers-in-my-ears dance I have to do with reality. "La la la, I'm not LISTENING to you! I know having a baby is the hardest fucking thing in the world but it's going to be LOOOOOOVELY with a cute little baby, La la la..."
Because the reality of having a baby is a real bitch. I'm not talking about the body-destroying labor, with the fluids and the blood and so many people all up in my business, forget what plans you had for this week, THIS is what you're doing now. Or the horrible week following where everybody needs to come over to my house asking me how I feel when that is such an asshole question, how do you THINK I feel? I'm talking about the weeks and months and two whole years of not sleeping, of wondering when I'll get a moment to put some sort of food in my mouth, of having an audience whenever I go to the bathroom, an audience of hecklers.
In order to say YES I'LL DO THIS AGAIN there has got to be some major mental trickery involved. I wonder if it's this, the self-delusion, the "it'll all be fine" that I repeated to myself over and over again, if it's this chimera butting heads with the bull of reality that means my brain can't stop spinning for one single second.
Because even if God wanted tell me where PowPow was, I wouldn't be able to hear it.
But then of course there is a silver lining.
Because every time I share my fear or my anger or my absolute inner insanity there is someone else who answers saying, "Right on. I totally get that."
Because whenever I share the inmost cry of my heart, whenever I say, you know this is ridiculous but I've GOT to find Harvey's doll tonight, there is someone jumping in saying, "You're looking for PowPow? I've seen PowPow. PowPow is right over here."
If that's not God speaking then I don't know what is.