I shared this story several years ago as a Facebook post. I thought it would be fun to refresh and revisit. One of my friend’s daughter once said, “North is always the direction I’m facing. “HA! This about sums it up for me as well. If there was a class for the directionally challenged, my name would encompass the top of the list. Get it, enCOMPASS? Ha! The tale I’m about to share begins in the quaint, historic town of Medora, ND, as some dear friends and I were attending a women’s retreat. Retreats are an amazing time of growth, encouragement and learning how to shine your light brighter. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine” (Harry Dixon Loes). Do you remember singing this song as a youngin’? Now, if only my light and inner compass actually worked as a physical handheld flashlight and functioning handheld compass, I wouldn’t get myself into such enlightening situations.
Let me set the scene. The grandeur of Medora, North Dakota aka the North Dakota Badlands is absolutely breathtaking! This little tourist town is the home of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. There are critters of all kinds roaming about. The air is cool and brisk coming off of the color cast mountains. It’s absolutely amazing. On our first evening at our delightful inn, we decided to turn off the heat to breath in some of the cool mountain air. Can’t you smell it and feel it? Who doesn’t sleep better with a touch of briskness in the air? I was lucky enough to room with my dear friend, Jolynn. She was a “Rockstar” of a roommate. After doing some talking and mulling over what we had absorbed that day through various speakers and such, we decided to settle in for the night. When the lights went off, our room turned pitch black. Aaahhh, the perfect sleeping atmosphere! All was well and I was in a sweet, sweet slumber until about 3 am in God’s country when I awoke to goose pimples from head to toe from the frigid mountain temperatures. Maybe turning the heat completely off wasn’t the brightest idea. I opened my eyes to pure darkness, trying to figure out what I could do to get warm without actually moooving or getting out of bed. Ah ha! Let me grab the blankets on the other side of the bed and double them over. Yes! You are so smart, Jenne. Double warmth. To my dismay, Operation Cover-Up was less than successful. Note to self: a small, full-size bed sheet and blanket doubled over are not quite enough to cover and accommodate this gently rounded backside. Do you know that saying, “Use what your mama gave ya”? This is wonderful and even beneficial if you are referring to recipes but backsides are an entirely different entity. At least mine is! After what seemed like a grand idea, failed, I had to bite the bullet and leave my covers. I mustered up the nerve, put my feet on the floor and left my bed. Any bit of warmth I held in my body completely left. I fought the frigid cold temperatures and the black of the night and managed to make my way to the heater and crank that baby on. I got back into my bed and eventually thawed out but not much sleep was had that evening. To this day, I’m not quite sure how Jolynn stayed warm and slept through all the chattering of my teeth. This – Our first night in Medora take one.
Saturday, the following night, exhausted and emotional from speakers, and internalizing the topics discussed, Jo and I got our last words in (yeh, right!) before falling into a not so good–away from home–need my king size bed–kinda sleep. I dozed off for a while but once again at 3 am in God’s country, I awoke. Only this time it was nature calling. As I opened my eyes to this much to frequent middle of the night charade, I put my feet on the floor and stood up. I QUIETLY took a couple of steps, as not to wake up Jolynn. I was a bit discombobulated and far from alert. I began having deja vu from the night before. However, this night was a bit different in that my journey was going to be longer in length. With each careful, quiet step, I dreaded the idea of sitting on a cold toilet seat. Uhg! There is nothing like sitting on what feels like a cast-iron commode in the wee hours of the morning when the spark plugs aren’t quite igniting yet and your body temperature is wavering! I knew I was approaching the bathroom and within a few steps, I did what any one of us would do and put my hands and arms out in front of me. Feeling confident at the task at hand, I used my right arm to prepared myself for the upcoming wall. My left arm was held out and exposed for comfort, balance, and protection like a cricket antenna. So far so good! I found the wall with my right hand and prepared for the bathroom door. I reached for the bathroom door and pushed it open with my left hand. I continued to walk with a confident momentum, knowing I had made it. AND THEN IT HIT ME! My confidence was completely shattered and replaced with pink elephants and stars dancing above my head.
It was the meeting of a lifetime. Forehead meets the door frame. Initiate the romantic music, conductor! Things began moving in slow motion as the whimsical butterflies floated through the air. The encounter was instant and painfully real. They both knew they would never be the same. The enchanted meeting was unlike any other. The endearing illumination left forehead in a silly spin of infatuation, while the door frame encompassed a strong yet charming exterior. If it wasn’t for the loud thug vibrating from the frame of the door, no human ear could have heard their embrace. Their brief encounter left a lasting impression and because of the impact, an egg was formed. I think this might be rated PG-13. Ha! Regardless, the egg was a beauty and one that would flourish for days to come.
Okay, now back to my 3:03 am reality. After analyzing the protruding forehead growth forming on my head and relieving natures call I headed back to my bed. With much effort, I planned the route back to my bed. My plan included leaving the bathroom light on while getting my body completely out of the bathroom doorway. I would keep stepping and stretching in this position until the tippies of my fingers could barely touch the light switch any longer – kinda like the stretchy gooey colored toy hands that stick to the wall. Uffffft! Success! I made it back to my bed without any further encounters! I was amazed that in all of this commotion, again…Jolynn did not wake up. As I plopped on my bed, I felt throbbing pain oozing from my cranium. I took a breath through the pain and realized I needed to do something to help relieve the inflammation and discomfort of my little run-in. If only we would have grabbed some ice from the front desk. Hmm…this is when a metal spoon would have come in handy (old medicine) and I would have rested that baby on the developing appendage growing out of my head. Well, now what? Enter the light bulb above my head. I got it! I came packin’!!! I not only packed my Conair ½ inch Dual Voltage Curling Iron, but I also came prepared with my 1 ¼ inch Conair Turbo Heat Styling Powered Dual Voltage Curling Iron – Who-AHH! This is where I make a manly grunt sound! Perhaps the intense encounter with the door frame left me smarter because this time when venturing into the darkness, I used my phone flashlight to retrieve my weapons of mass preservation. The cold metal iron on my head relieved some of the initial pain and swelling but the consuming clash left me needing some hefty reinforcements in the form of pills. Now, being resourceful amid adversary is a very admirable characteristic, however, needing a lighted GPS in the first place kinda nixes the credibility of the resourcefulness all together. I can’t help but remember not only did the beautiful sunrise the next morning in the lovely Badlands of North Dakota but so did the North Star on my forehead. To my dismay, it was alive, proud and happy to be there.
Let me leave you with a couple tidbits of meaningful insight. A forehead-door frame goose egg fits very nicely into the crevice of the curling iron handle/heating element and living in cold darkness is never a good thing!
Genesis 1:4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.
LIVE IN THE LIGHT!