I grew up in Southern California, full of earthquakes drills and the ever present "Emergency Broadcast System" tests on tv. It was always a test - blaring siren heard from every room, no matter how quiet the tv REALLY was. We KNEW it was a test, as if it was a REAL emergency, chances were we wouldn't have electricity, or we would have felt the earth shaking from the tremor. If it had been worse, like a bombing (how could I imagine that a bombing would be worse??) we likely wouldn't be alive to worry about it.
Sometimes we'd have a real emergency that didn't warrant the Emergency Broadcast System being used. Smaller earthquakes, storms (I didn't have my FIRST really bad storm until my husband and I moved with our 3 kids to Georgia), even flooding when we lived in a coastal town just a block from the ocean (that spilled down our street and up to our front steps) - none of these qualified for the EBS to be used, yet they were ALL emergencies.
Well, today I thought I had an emergency, but I wasn't sure if it was EBS worthy or not.
My dear, sweet husband is a work-aholic in reform....(don't worry, I don't ever expect him to say, "Hello, my name is Mark (HELLO MARK) and I haven't worked in 228 days..."). That's his problem though, not mine (although it affects our home).
Well, he went to work yesterday morning (yes, on Columbus Day) to work on a special project with an outside team of contractors. He gave me a heads' up that it would likely be a long day. That's code for "I don't know when I'll be home". He called around 9 pm and said that he was still working on something, but he was leaving his office and headed to the area where the problem was, to work with the contractors dealing with it, to insure that it got fixed in time for start up this morning. Then he said that I could keep dinner out for an hour, and if he wasn't back by then, to put it in the refrigerator.
Well, he didn't make it within the hour, or before midnight, or before 2 am - when I called and left a message on his office AND his cell phone (and texted too!). He didn't show up at 3am, or 4:30am and I never got a reply from my texts or calls. When he wasn't home by 5 am I called again, but stayed in bed. Surely they'd be getting ready to start the plant, and he was just busy with the final inspections to insure a smooth start up...but he still didn't call or text or return any messages.
I tried to be "reasonable" that he was busy, but it was really unlike him to not call. Usually I'd complain that he calls home TOO much, letting me know his every move. So this had me baffled. I prayed, felt peace that I was going to be ok with whatever it was going on - but I panicked at the thought of where he might be.
I remembered that he had, within the past few months, had several near misses with deer on his way home from work, a few "too close for comfort" encounters on the highway with other errant drivers, and even had to stop one night when the driver of a semi truck passed out and ran off the road!
A brief thought crossed my mind to text his boss, he'd know where Mark was, certainly if he was still at work (I knew that the boss would know if there were any lingering issues to affect production start up). I was not comforted when his reply was "when I spoke to him last at 9, he sounded like he was on his way home". I panicked a little more inside, and thought tragedy was striking. The EBS warning went off in my head and heart.
So, did he leave work last night and end up on the side of the road? Was he laying in a ditch? Did he leave and go somewhere else, and fall asleep after a long, hard day? Was he asleep in his office? And why was he not returning my calls or my texts?
His boss, via text, promised he would check into it.
I got dressed and headed down the road in tears, thinking that I would be able to find his vehicle, in the early morning dawn, laying in a ditch on the side of that country road so near his work. I was sobbing and heartbroken.
Then he called! Full of apologies of being so busy, the phone battery dead, and not near his office phone, he just didn't want to wake me (LOL - if he only knew how much better I'd have slept!). A few hours later (ok - over 6 hours later) he rolled home, ate, and crashed in bed...where he's sleeping as I type.
So what happened? How come I panicked so badly, throwing the Emergency System switch, and not realizing that "this is only a test"? When I prayed, I felt God's peace for MY life, that no matter what was going on with Mark, that I would be ok. Somehow in my prayers, I had not given Mark the benefit of the doubt and jumped to the worst conclusions....which wasn't fair of me at all...and wasn't fair TO me! And it certainly wasn't fair to God, who had already "told me" (via the Holy Spirit) that I was going to be ok!!
SO, so easily, I fell into that trap of worry. I had given it up for Lent last Spring - and lived happily without it all this time. Kyle Idleman even touched a bit on what was motivating my fear last Sunday (go to http://crossroadschristian.com and listen to the series "gods at war" - SO GOOD!!). Why did I remove God from the throne of my heart, and put selfishness and worry up there with Him on a loveseat?? Why did I overlook His prompting that "this is ONLY a test" (like he gave Abraham in Genesis 22)? That's NOT what I want at all!! GRrr.....I'm kicking myself in retrospect.
So now, humbly, I have apologized to my super-tired hubby. I have repented, and am praying that God will equip me with better tools to handle this sort of stuff. I know that the winter will be full of many "long drives home", something I have to get used to after 15 years of living within a mile of Mark's job. The 20 minute drive might get longer, but I know, no matter what, He is not leaving me alone, and I will likely be tested again.