I recently took the Myers Briggs Personality Profile, and was shocked to discover I’m an extrovert. Really? I told my kids, and one of them said when a sibling called, “We sitting around wondering when Mom became an extrovert.” At first I thought maybe this was just a function of being single. Perhaps I have been so conversation-deprived that I was testing as extroverted, while really, I have to be introverted, don’t I? After all, during times of stress, I hide. The bigger the stress, the more I hide. Doesn’t that make me an I, rather than an E?
Apparently not. Because in reading about ENTP, (my personality according to Myers Briggs) ENTPs are extroverts who retreat into themselves under extreme stress.
Aahh. That explains a lot.
Which brings me to Confessions of a Blogger Who Went Into Hiding.
I’m moving. And it’s stressful. Not that I haven’t done this before. This is the 22nd house I’ve lived in since I got married about 26 years ago. There are some big up-sides to moving this much. I don’t own a lot of extra junk. I’ve met a lot of interesting people. And I know what I like and don’t like in houses. (Love granite countertops, kitchens you can’t see from the front door, and separate living spaces so piano, violin, Netflix and writing don’t all have to happen in the same space.) I’m also pretty good at making friends quickly– when I am not in hiding. So, as a true ENTP, I retreat under stress and neglect my blog. My apologies.
However, the stress of moving pales when bigger things happen.
This past week my youngest son ran away from the residential treatment canter (RTC) where he has been living.
He’s been threatening to do this since he went there. But I didn’t think he would, or could, pull it off. Apparently I was wrong.
I found out at 9:30 pm that he’d been gone for about 30 minutes, and that it was getting too dark in the mountains to keep searching. The police were alerted. If he kept moving over night, they would likely find him. If he hunkered down, they wouldn’t be able to find him till morning.
I was awake till after 2 am, trying not to worry. It had been 106 degrees that day. It wouldn’t be too cold at night. He’s in an area with gently rolling hills and mountains, not too many cliffs or sharp drops. He’d be found before it got too hot the next day. Of course he would. I mean really. How well could he possibly hide? In the mountains… with few people… without water…
At 5:20 am was shocked awake and sat straight up in bed. I’d seen a picture in my mind of my son standing in front of a rattlesnake. “Oh please!” I prayed. “Please keep him safe from rattle snakes! And everything else. But especially rattle snakes!” I laid awake in bed praying fro his safety, especially from rattle snakes, for quite a while.
When I got up that morning, I felt a distinct impression that my son would be all right. It came the way the Spirit of the Lord has reassured me before– as a surprising, but gentle idea that I feel deep inside, accompanied by peace. For the next several hours I battled my rising panic by reminding myself that the Spirit has never been wrong before. He tells the truth.
It was a bit like Lamaze child birth, actually. During labor, the panic and pain of contractions threatened to overwhelm me, and the only way I could keep them at bay was by focusing all my energy and consciousness on my focus-item. (a crushed soda can with interesting angles so I could work out geometry problems in my head) In the hours my son was gone, the fear and panic of all the things that could go wrong threatened to overwhelm me every second. I had to keep my mind focused on the impression I’d had that he would be all right. If I noticed a bird flying by and let myself think about it, the panic would rush in and I’d have to refocus on the Spirit. He said my son would be all right. He doesn’t lie.
I told myself he’d be found before 11 am. Then noon. Then 1 pm. Then I stopped looking at clocks. I jumped when the phone rang. I focused on the Spirit.
I honestly don’t know what time they called to tell me he’d been found. He was alive and appeared unhurt. It was late afternoon, and he was more than 20 miles from the RTC. Thank Heaven whoever picked him up when he was hitchhiking wasn’t an axe murderer.
It was probably a good thing I didn’t get to talk to him on the phone for over 24 hours. My relief and tears and gratitude that he was, indeed, all right, burst into flames of anger at his stupidity. By the time I talked to him, they had burned out and I was simply grateful he was alive.
There was a storm in the mountains and the power was out at the RTC, so no one was answering their phones. (My mind: Maybe he’s run away again, and everyone is out looking for him, so they don’t hear the phone ringing. Maybe he’s hurt himself and they are all outside with the ambulance. My other side: Shut up, brain.) It took several phone calls and text messages, and someone from a neighboring ranch driving over in the storm with a message to have a staff call me on their cell phone, before I could get a hold of him.
He took my call timidly. (He’s seen my angry flames before.) After a quick comment on the weather, I told him I love him, and he burst into tears. He said I can’t love him, and I told him I can. He asked how that was possible, and I said because I love the real him, the person inside who I know is kind and thoughtful and funny. The things he was doing were bad choices. They are not who he is. I told him Heavenly Father loves him too, and he said that wasn’t possible. He said God can’t love someone who does bad things. I said He can too. He knows the real you even better than I do.
He talked a little bit about his experiences, then said, “The scariest thing was the rattlesnake.”
He said about 5:30 in the morning, while walking through the desert mountains, he’d almost stepped on a rattlesnake. It was rattling and looking at him, and he didn’t know what to do. Then, the rattlesnake turned away, and my son took off running.
Oh good heavens. Thank you for waking me up and telling me what to pray for. I told my son about my 5:20 experience, and he cried again.
I know God is real. I know He can do anything. But it is interesting to me that with all His power, He wakes a mother in her bed and tells her what danger her son will face, and allows her to play a part keeping him safe, even while he is miles away, lost in the mountains. And then, when my son is crying and saying no one can love him, not even Heavenly Father, there is an example– right there, right when he needs it– of how He does love even the teenage boy who made stupid, life-threatening decisions.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for bringing him back.