Get Our of that Pit


Life in the Pit
You don’t have to stay there. Even if you’ve been there your whole life, you can call it a day. Even if you deserve the pit you live in, you’re still not stuck there. Maybe you’re the noble type trying to make the best of your pit. You keep wondering why you can’t get satisfied there. Why you aren’t mature enough to be content where you are. After all, didn’t the apostle Paul tell us that we should learn to be content in any circumstance?

Has it occurred to you that maybe a pit is one place where you’re not supposed to be content? Maybe you should thank God you’re not. Some things weren’t meant to be accepted. A pit is one of them. Quit trying to make the best of it. It’s time to get out. When Christ said, “Come, follow me,” inherent in His invitation to come was the equivalent invitation to leave. The laws of physics tell you that if you try to go one place without leaving another, you’re in for a pretty severe stretch. And you can only do the splits so long.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about picking up and leaving a physical place—although that may ultimately prove necessary. And if you’re married, Lord help me, I’m certainly not talking about leaving your spouse. I’m talking about leaving a dwelling far more intimate than the place where you get your mail—I’m talking about a shadowy home of the heart, mind, and soul so close and personal that, like mud on the set of tires, we drag it along wherever our physical circumstances move us.

No matter where we go, a pit can always fit. On any path we can spin our wheels and throw mud until we dig a ditch right into the middle of an otherwise decent job or relationship. Soon our hearts sink with the dismal realization that we’re no better off in our new situation. The scenery around us may have changed, but we’re still living in that same old pit. We start scrambling to figure out how we’re going to dump an unpleasant person or position when the real solution may be to dump that pit we dragged in. The problem is the pit can be so close we can’t see it.

My man, our two dogs, and I just got home from a seventeen- hundred-mile road trip sewing five states together like a patchwork quilt. It’s something we do several times a year. For hours on end Beanie sniffs the air conditioner in search of game birds (Beanie is one of the dogs, not the man) and Sunny never quits smiling unless she needs to scratch. The glee rolls on and the miles roll by until someone gets a little cranky. I’ll not name names, but God forgives the lapses and has even extended many a tender mercy by providing a timely respite from the open road. He shows us all sorts of favor, like causing espresso bars to pop up in places so remote I end up wondering later if they were really there at all. I figure they were mirages we’d never find again in a million years. But as long as the refreshment hits the spot, I don’t care if it’s all in my mind. I’ve had the best medium-dry cappuccinos in the world in places so far out that an extra shot is what you take when you missed the deer the first time.

Unfortunately, our traveling snobbery only goes as far as our coffee. When you insist on traveling cross-country with two sizable canines, you get to save your cash on motel rooms. We mostly stay in lodgings that have numbers in the names. No matter what the chain, all discount rooms are nearly identical, with angular double beds covered by the same navy-blue spreads ordered from a catalog back in ’72. The stitching has long since come undone, and when you turn over in the bed your little toes get tangled in the loose threads. I sleep between Keith (that’s my man) and Beanie and, from the sound of things, each has a deviated septum. I respond by turning up the air conditioning unit which, in turn, responds by freezing up and shutting down.

A traveler at heart, I still wake up happy and start my abbreviated morning routine. The shampoo comes in a small single-serving pouch I have to open with my teeth. I spit out what gets in my mouth and quickly lather the rest of it on my head. I have a mass of hair so, understandably, I can’t spare a drop. Keith ends up having to use the generic white bar soap on his hair. It tends to leave a film, but it’s a small price for him to pay for my hair. Particularly small compared to what he pays for me to maintain my highlights. He can wear a baseball cap anyway.

Folks who know how much we travel sometimes ask me why we don’t get an RV. The answer, in a word: the bathroom. (Or is that two words?) The small space and lack of fresh air in an RV makes the presence of a bathroom so…well… inescapable. They say you get used to it, but do I really want to? What does it mean when we no longer notice that smell? Nope, the way I see it, we were not meant to get used to some things.

Like living in a pit.

But unfortunately, we do. We can grow so accustomed to the surroundings of our pit that we wouldn’t think of moving on without it.