A few short weeks into traversing what had turned out to be the most challenging trial of my life thus far, one of my most treasured friends, Joanie (although friend is not a strong enough appellation, she’s…my person. Meredith Grey/Christina Yang style) made the mistake of placing a morning phone call to me. It was 9:00 a.m. I was still in bed. Curled in a fetal position. Crying. I’m not sure I would have answered, had it been anyone else. But since it was my Joanie, I took the call. She then made another mistake by asking me how I was doing. Between sobs, in a barely audible voice I said, not good. I squelched my tears long enough to let her know that I can’t do this. I can’t get through this day. I can’t get through this week. This month. This year. This. Is too hard. She then asked if I could get through the next 2 hours, could I make it until 11:00 a.m.? Somehow, she heard my head nod a tentative, I’ll try.
Two hours later, at 11:00 a.m., Joanie called again. She repeated her mistake of asking me how I was doing. At that point I had stopped crying and, in a whisper, said, still not great. She asked if I could make it another 2 hours, could I make it to 1:00 p.m.? This time I quietly spoke the words, I think so. Two hours after that, Joanie called me again. She asked me the same question, can I make it another 2 hours, can I make it until 3:00 p.m.? This time I was able to answer with an audible, yes. At 5:00 p.m., my phone rang again. This time, I was confident when I told her that I would be fine for the next 2 hours and that, yes, I could make it until 7:00 p.m. Joanie called me 3 more times that day, until I was back in my bed, unfurled from my fetal position. Without tears in my eyes. When she called me at 11:00 p.m. she explained that, for now, my life was being lived in 2-hour blocks. And that it was o.k. It’s o.k. that I was in a season of life, where all I could do was manage to survive, 2 hours at a time. Because the answer to the question, can you make it through the next 2 hours? Is always, yes. She then shared with me the sage words her father once said to her while she was a young teenager and in the midst of navigating a particularly rough life-circumstance. He said, Joanie, this will never be o.k., but it will be better. In that moment, it was hard for me to believe her father’s words. But as it turned out, her dad’s words were true when he spoke them to her. They were true when she spoke them to me. And they are true now, as I speak them to you.
The next time I saw Joanie, she handed me a present and told me to open it. Inside was a small wooden block her son had lovingly hand-carved. On it she had written 2 hour. Get it? It was my very own 2 hour block! Joanie said this was my visual reminder of the season I was in and that it wouldn’t last forever. Because, as she would tell me again, this will never be o.k., but it will be better. As soon as I got home I put that special block on my kitchen window sill where I knew I would see it. Every day. For a long time, it served to remind me that I was living in a 2-hour block season of life. But now, when I see this treasured talisman, it serves to remind me that God not only brought me through that season, He delivered me. He delivered me into a new life that is exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond anything I could think or imagine. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Because, while I hate how I got here, I love that I am here. My excruciating, temporary trial has reaped boundless, continual rewards. Every slip of my foot has brought me to where God has me now. And that, makes everything, well with my soul. When I said, my foot is slipping, your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. (Psalm 94:18)