Waiting on the Exodus

Waiting on the Exodus May 25, 2018


We’ve been waiting around for over a year.

A year ago I thought we were moving– quickly, within a few months, sometime in the fall, surely before Christmas. Somewhere in West Virginia, hopefully near our church. We’d have a car, too, and everything would get easier. And the miracle we’d expected fell through. This year, it stands a better chance of happening– someday, within several months, maybe in the fall, maybe by Christmas, probably not to West Virginia, maybe somewhere in Pennsylvania. Surely with a car, and everything will be easier. No more buses with senile Betsy or terrible Old Scratch. This time for sure. This time Aunt So-and-so can’t stop stalling as the will’s executor. This time mother-in-law will be able to move out to… somewhere around here, and we’ll move with her.

Last year I planted a small garden I wouldn’t miss much if we had to leave earlier than expected. This year I’m not planting one at all. This way we can focus on other projects, and be ready to leave at a minutes’ notice.

Rose and I are reading the book of Exodus in her homeschooling. It seems so pretentious to compare too much of my life with the Exodus of the ancient Hebrews, but I still think of it that way– living our lives standing up, cloaks tucked in, sandals on, no time for anything but unleavened bread– we could burn the leftovers and escape this place at any moment.

Of course, we’ve been living that way for a year, and it’s tiresome.

We’re getting by, same as we always have– my job here at Patheos with the tip jar, EBT from the dreaded Job and Family Services, generous help from family and friends, luck, payment agreements, chicken leg quarters, walking to the store when the bus doesn’t run. There are far worse fates– I’ve lived in infinitely worse circumstances myself, just awhile ago, and I know many people who are worse off than I’ve ever been. I’m grateful and surprised to have gotten this far.

When we came to this house, we didn’t have a stick of furniture except for the TV cart with no TV to put on it. We ran around rescuing discarded furniture ahead of Bulk Trash Pickup. Now we’ve got a house full of old mismatched things most of which work fine. We’ll take most with us leave some out for Bulk Trash Pickup, or for other poor people to rescue, when we move.

When we came here, we couldn’t afford air conditioning and were still learning to manage my fatigue and fibromyalgia. I spent that first summer lying on the couch in agony, completely disabled.  Now I’ve got my purple cane, my air conditioner, my diet with all the protein, my weird combinations of esoteric vitamins, and each help a little.

When we came here, I was terrified all the time. The anxiety has scaled back along with everything else. We’ve had so many close calls and then mysteriously made it through, it’s hard to panic at anything anymore.

When Michael came in yesterday and told me that our income in tips on the blog had dropped by about a third the past two months for some reason, and next month we’d have to choose between buying my vitamins and keeping the electricity from shutoff– I wasn’t scared. Not very much, at least. A little.

When I was reading Exodus with Rose, I noticed that it doesn’t seem to say how long it was between Moses returning to Egypt and Pharaoh letting the Israelites go. But I once heard a Jewish woman say that it was one year. One year of signs and wonders of the most terrible kind, before the Israelites were freed. One year between Moses returning as liberator and Moses actually leading the people to liberty. One year of the Egyptians’ cruelty and injustice coming back to bite them again and again, the very forces of nature turning against them in vengeance at the Lord’s command, before they gave up. One year and then the Israelites could take their families, their flocks and herds, and make their way toward Sinai. Then Pharaoh changed his mind again and pursued them– but now the exodus was really happening and Pharaoh’s time was up. The waters of the sea closed over the Egyptian chariots, and it was over. Israel went off to new adventures. Egypt ceased to be part of the narrative for a thousand years, except as a memory. Because we were slaves, and we are slaves no longer. 

It seems so grand to compare myself to anyone in the Bible. But I know that what’s written there was written for my benefit, so perhaps it’s not. Perhaps it’s just what we should do. We are each of us a microcosm of Salvation History– one soul infinitely loved by God, trapped in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, looking ahead to that impossibility: that God should come to meet us where we are, to bring justice, to save us and bring us to where He is. All creation sings of the mystery: nature, the times and seasons, individual human lives, the histories of nations. So everything is an Exodous. Even a family waiting to leave the Ohio Valley.

In any case, I’ve been expecting my circumstances to improve at any minute for a little over a year.

Waiting for the waters to part and let us through.
Waiting for them to close again– to move on to new adventures.

Waiting on the exodus.

(image via Pixabay) 


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