I received the dreaded notice today. The gray-haired lady knocked on my door, handed me a copy, then she taped three more copies next to the door. It states we should attend a hearing on August 1, at 9 a.m. at the Crook County Courthouse. As soon as I shut the door, the girls huddled around me and asked, “Is that the notice?”

“Yep,” I said, flippantly, and tried to use it as a dismissal. I didn’t want to discuss it much. I just wanted to be alone.

Dagne wailed, “Does that mean we have to leave in three days?”

“No,” I assured her. “We won’t have to leave yet. We at least have until August 1.”

Just the same, I felt deflated. Strange, but I alternate between longing for closure to this whole mess and deploring its arrival. Perhaps it is like any unwelcome but necessary event. Like an operation.

I felt sorry for myself that it had to happen when I’m alone, without Paul. He still hasn’t come. I don’t expect him until Thursday morning, now. I wish he’d never mentioned the possibility of his arriving early. It’s been far worse having my hopes dashed than not ever having hoped at all.

Worse yet are the constant questions from kind, well-meaning friends. “What are you going to do?” “Do you have any plans?” “Where are you going to go?” “Will you stay here?” Every time I’m asked a question to which I don’t know the answer, but should, I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. I make promises to myself that I won’t ever ask people questions like that, but I know I won’t be able to keep them. Whenever I’m concerned for someone, I naturally ask them their plans. I’m curious. I want to imagine them in their future, since the present isn’t so pleasant. Still, I’ll try to kick myself and hold my tongue and speak about the weather or the kids or the latest celebrity smut — anything but the elephant in the room, the wondering about what you’re going to do?

I applied to every job within Paul’s field for him while he was away. Nothing. I’m wondering now if I should have accepted the Crook County job. But today, I walked hand-in-hand with Dagne to the mailbox while she happily told me of all her ticklish spots, her little brown eyes twinkling at me, daring me to try them out. I tickled her and kissed her cheeks and told her she makes my heart go pit-a-pat with happiness. I inhaled the fragrance that rises from the high desert after a rain. Then, I walked back and we read aloud books together, all of us. Ingrid and I cooked waffles for breakfast and stuffed zucchini for dinner. Dagne learned to iron today. She felt so grownup and big, helping her mama. Greta quietly cleaned the house and looked at me sideways to check if I was okay. This is where I belong. Home. I know it. I must trust it. If God placed these desires in my heart, and I follow them, then I must trust He will take care of us.

When I prayed today, I felt the sense that this was my chance to prove I really believed God will take care of us. I could panic and try to find a job. I could do everything in my power to solve the problem on my own, all the while neglecting the responsibilities I’ve already been given.

Sometimes I get caught up in trying to solve issues that are bigger than I am. I need to remember to just do my part. What is my responsibility? What role do I actually have in this? If I move beyond my circle of influence, I have no power. I need to stay within my realm and not overreach.

I read a book that greatly influenced me, an allegory, called Hinds Feet in High Places. There is a part of Much-Afraid’s journey in which she must willingly take the hands of Sorrow and Suffering to lead her through to the high places. There is no other way. As I prayed today, I realized I needed to gain as much from this experience as I could. I shouldn’t fight it or try to avoid it or diminish it, but willingly learn the lessons I must learn, willingly place my hands in Sorrow’s and Suffering’s and trust they will take me somewhere I need to go. If I fight or run away, there will come a time that I will find myself in exactly the same spot, with exactly the same choice before me, and believe me, I don’t want to have to learn this lesson again.

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