Last night I almost died.
Michael and I were at a restaurant and when we received our food, food we had both ordered many times over many years we noticed Michael’s chimichaunga (a deep fried bit of heavenly burrito awesomeness for all you non TexMexicans) was pathetically flat. He cut into it to find the dang thing had practically nothing inside, so basically it was a $20 deep fried tortilla.
So we discussed whether or not to say anything about this travesty of a meal. The fear of making waves and what nastiness may fill the next one was deemed too much of a risk for our delicate sensibilities, so Michael proceeded to just dig in. Of course, Im using the term super loosely as it was more stabbing than digging given its paltry condition.
I was in mid-bite when I had a brilliant idea, so brilliant it apparently trumped proper chewing in my mind and I swallowed so I could tell him to take a picture of his meal before eating it so we could at least get it comped or a coupon for next time without taking the risk of something bad happening to his food this time.
Only I couldn’t speak.
There was a piece of steak completely blocking my airway. I could feel it both on my tongue and also covering my windpipe and because I am so damn stubborn and bossy I still was pointing at his food attempting to convey my plan with sign language as the life was ebbing from my body. He was trying to guess my charades and probably wondering why I had decided to not speak for the first time in our life together.
Took a drink figuring it would push the freaking steak pieces connected by sinew all the way down where they could be together in my belly so I could finally tell him to stop taking bites and take a PICTURE OF HIS FOOD.
Whelp, instead of pushing it down I vomited spectacularly all over myself and coughed and spewed and coughed and gagged and tears were streaming and I was sitting now in a Chilton, steak, and water stew.
At this point, Michael asked “Wait. Are you choking??”
No, brah. Now Im dead.
After assessing that I was going to make it, (though if I could have died of embarrassment I surely would have, it just turns out thats not a real thing) he looked at me with more incredulity than he has ever before, which is remarkable, and said, “DO YOU NOT KNOW THE INTERNATIONAL SIGN FOR CHOKING???”
Because instead of putting my hands to my throat, pointing in desperation at myself, making some sort of GESTURE that i was, in fact, about to die, I was stuck on getting my point, my thought, my way better idea and brilliance and me and my me monster out there for him to admire.
We were out to dinner because I had reached a point of crashing and burning yesterday. I had a sitter come over at 2 because my heart was overloaded and I couldn’t mom, adult, Amber anymore. I needed a break and I ran away. I drove around and cried. I went to the mall on a Saturday and became even more overwhelmed watching kids not much older than our oldest speaking ugly words and talking about the drugs they have used and how drunk they were going to get tonight and about sex and oh my gosh. I listened to hateful words and tone being used between families. I watched so much ugly unengagedness and I WAS PART OF IT. It was where I ran to. Yall, I hate the mall and never go there. But I did yesterday after I had already cried off all my makeup and had run away from the sweet family who loves me and instead immersed myself in a crushing sea of culture that overwhelms and scares me on a good day.
This morning at church our Pastor was speaking about Jonah. The good part. The part where he is in the belly of that whale. It was darkness, and it was certain death. And he spent three days in there. 72 hours in hideous circumstance. He was where food is digested. I cant imagine the stench, the hopelessness, or the insane stubborn fortitude to make it three days before finally, desperately crying out to the God he KNEW but had run from. And when he finally gave up his refusal to share God’s love with a people God loved but Jonah felt did not deserve, God was there, waiting for that cry, for that brokeness because that’s when He moves and that whale VOMITED Jonah onto dry land.
And then our pastor asked my brother Kyle, who is a brilliant poet earning his PhD at Texas Tech to speak to us about the irony and the poetry of Jonah’s prayer from the belly of that great fish.
As one who lives to laugh and loves words, I was so close to being a crazy woman in church just laughing my sinful ass off at the irony of the day yesterday and the revelation of truths today.
Now, I’ve read Jonah plenty of times and I already know he’s not done being a dummy in the story. And I know I’m not either. Im so spectacularly flawed and stubborn I will run away again. I will do as Jonah and sit in self-satisfied pride waiting for a shit show to go down because sometimes I just cant help how good and right I believe I am.
Im a dummy.
And I am so thankful for yesterday, though I cried more than I have in years. Im thankful that I broke. and that I almost died. and that I went to church. and that I got perspective. God, Im so thankful.
I wish i didn’t always have to be broken. That I could just chip, instead of shatter. But I am so thankful that God is always ready to put me back together, and make me better.
Last night I almost died.