what i've learned along the way
. . . Stranded on my roof
Published on January 7, 2007 By lobsterhunter In Misc
This morning I prayed and asked God to chip away at this stubborn heart of mine. I begged Him to be persistent as He continues to teach me about trust. You see, I don’t do dependence well. All of my life has been one big struggle for control. Self-sufficiency reigns, and I seldom willingly relinquish my illusion of power. My Creator’s patience astounds me, and I often wonder why He puts up with this headstrong child. Today He grinned at me from above, as I was forced to surrender to my helplessness.

My roommate has been away the last few weeks visiting relatives in Mexico, and the house has been quiet. All weekend long, I kept telling myself I needed to take down the Christmas lights, but as usual, I waited until the last minute to get the job done. In my typical independent fashion, I decided to tackle the chore on my own. I drug the ladder to the side of the house, and as I tiptoed up the steps, I paused just long enough to consider how dangerous my actions really were. You see the wind was howling, and I hadn’t informed anyone of my decision to climb on the roof. No one was around to rescue me if I were to fall and break my neck.

I carefully maneuvered my way onto the shingles, and quickly began unhooking the lights. I made my way across the roof, careful not to let the string of bulbs slip out of my hands. The neighbor’s son had stepped outside to retrieve something from his car, and he heard me gasp as I let go of the string of lights. Thankfully they didn’t hit the concrete, and he asked if I needed any help. I blew him off as usual, saying, “No thanks. I’m almost done.” He slipped out of sight, and I headed back to the other side of the house where I had left the ladder standing upright.

To my surprise, the ladder now lay horizontally on the grass. The chilly winter breeze must have knocked it over, and I sat staring at the ground, wondering how in the hell I was going to get down. The wind was whipping at my cheeks, and I looked up to the heavens and began to laugh. There was no way out of this one. I needed help, and unfortunately, there wasn’t a soul in sight. A few cars drove down my street, and I was too embarrassed to wave them down. After about twenty minutes, I started feeling desperate, and decided I would just jump. I slid down as close to the edge as I could get, and chickened out. I could just see myself limping around on crutches, trying to explain why I felt the need to pull such a stupid stunt.

I laid my head against the incline of the roof, and began to berate myself for not grabbing my cell phone. “Who does this crap? This is nuts!” I thought out loud. I kept wishing there was something heavy I could throw on the neighbor’s roof, and maybe—just maybe, they would come outside to rescue me. I imagined myself stranded up there for hours, and anxiousness quickly turned into fear.

When I had just about given up hope, I noticed a young lady walking her dog about two blocks down the street. I prayed she would keep coming in my direction. Thankfully, as she approached my house, she looked up, and we made eye contact. With a quaver I my voice, I squeaked out, “Excuse me Mam? Could you please stand my ladder up so I can crawl off my roof?” She instructed her dog to “Stay!” and rapidly came to my rescue. She held the ladder steady as I made my way down each rung with shaky legs and a grateful heart. I thanked her profusely, and asked if she lived nearby. Her name was Yen, and she said her home was just a few houses down.

I hugged her neck, and as she turned to leave, I began to wonder if God strategically placed her on my street to teach me a lesson. I have so many questions about the Lord’s involvement in my life, and I’ve often thought He was uninterested in my petty, small problems. I’m not convinced He sent that young lady to rescue me, but I do know there is a nugget of truth hidden behind this experience. I am fiercely independent, and my self reliant behavior often gets me in trouble. I manipulate and maneuver my way through life, attempting to minimize pain. I put God on a shelf, and when things are going fine, I passively acknowledge His presence. When crap happens, as it so often does, I point the finger and blame Him for lack of protection. It was not God’s fault I ended up on the roof. My own self-centered thinking landed me in the middle of the mess, and I was quite presumptuous to ask for His help. Whether He showed up in the form of a dog walker, or in my own awareness of self-will run riot, I’m thankful for the lesson.

One of my all time favorite quotes is written by Donald Miller. He said, "It is always the simple things that change our lives. And these things never happen when you are looking for them to happen. Life will reveal answers at the pace life wishes to do so."

And so the revelation begins . . .

on Jan 07, 2007

Awesome article.

I hope you are able to apply the nugget in the lesson.  Heh.  That's always the hardest part for me.

on Jan 07, 2007
Awesome article.

Thanks for the kind comment!
on Jan 08, 2007
I just want to add one more thing.

I know this probably won't get a lot of comments but don't let that discourage you.

I struggle with the exact same things you do, and frankly, it was so nice to read this. Makes me know I'm not alone in the craziness that can sometimes try to blot out the relationship.

I enjoy your honesty and the guts it takes to write this for the world to see.

Thank you.
on Jan 08, 2007
Very interesting read, lobsterhunter.
on Jan 10, 2007

this is so fricken hilarious.  I just sent it to Rob.

I wished I lived there so I could have been the one to pull up and laugh my ass off.

I don't doubt for a second that you were talking out loud to yourself up there on that roof.

Lifes grand.