Friday, The Beav could barely disguise his unmitigated joy when I announced to him the sad news I had to put down the Honda. God does answer prayers because I know that kid prayed to Jesus the mechanic would tell me the Honda was terminal so he wouldn’t have to drive it. (I wonder how Jesus is doing with that PS 3 cuz I know how June is doing with it) When I got the news my first reaction was a panicky feeling in the pit of my stomach: Wally was coming home for a few months so how in the Hell were we going to coordinate two work schedules without killing each other. But I’m getting pretty good and taking deep breathes and pushing away the panic and invite hope in an effort to overwhelm the fear. This worked for about a nano second before my monkey brain took over and within about thirty minutes of spinning on the situation I had a picture of myself walking eight miles home in a foot of snow because Wally wasn’t answering his phone to avoid picking me up. I worried about the car all weekend, and vacillated between buying a hoopty, a new car for myself or just making do with sharing a car. All of the possible solutions irritated me because euthanizing the Honda wasn’t my idea and I hate unhappy surprises and I really hate not being in complete control of a situation. I was already concerned about the shape Wally was going to be in when he came home this week and dealing with stupid car issues was just One. More. Thing.
Once upon seven years ago, I would have looked at this situation as proof God really hated me and wanted me to suffer because that‘s how He rolls. Nowadays after I’ve become bored with worrying about situations I can usually hand it over to the Universe to do with it what it may. But I’m terribly impatient and if my Requests Of The Management aren’t answered with the answer I want to hear in a few hours I start to lose hope. And worry all over again. It’s like I’m sitting at a table with God and I slide a festively wrapped package towards him. I’ve wrapped up my worries with lavish wrapping paper and a large festive bow because I have spent so much time worrying about what’s inside, the box should look extra special. I slide the box slowly towards him, proud I’m giving a gift as big as the one in the box. But just as God starts to pull at the ribbon I hold my hand out and stop him from unwrapping it and snatch it away from him. I do this every time I ask the Universe to help me with something. I pull my lovely package or worry over the car back to my side of the table where I can unwrap it and rearrange it. I haven’t learned to leave the burden on the table. Like I’m as big as God and really what does he know I can manage this so much better? Ego much? Last week I was re-reading Plan B by Anne LaMott and one of the essays is about her son Sam‘s desire to meet his father. After they find him, she prays he will reach out to Sam and when it takes a long time she becomes angry with God. One thing leads to another and LaMott realized the lag time between asking and receiving was necessary. She says something so simple and so remarkable about this waiting, God needed time to work on it. Yesterday evening as I was leaving the parking garage at work I passed by my dream car which led me to think about the car issue and I was about to pull the package away from God again when I stopped myself with the words: “He is working on it.” And then all alone in the car, I prayed out loud (something I thought only crazy people did) “I don’t know what to do about this stupid car situation and I’m not expecting a car to fall out of the sky and hit me in the head but if I’m supposed to have a second car, point it out to me in a very concrete fashion, like with a sign on it: “Here’s the car June” but nothing opaque or woo-woo, so I don’t miss it. And could you make it before I’m walking home from the hospital after a long shift or Wally can’t take a job because it’s not on a bus line? Thank you”
This afternoon I was talking to Wally while he was waiting for his airplane very far from home and we were discussing the poor old Honda and I realized I hadn’t worried about it all day. As we talked about it, I realized I wasn’t starting to worry about it and I was aware of how good it felt to really let go of something. For the first time in a very long time I had really walked away from a burden without turning around and picking it back up again.
Tonight I received an email message: “I need to talk to you. Please call.” I responded to the message and I was offered a car that I can pick up in January it is neither a Hoopty or a Beater but a perfectly respectable and well cared for car. But because I am my own worst enemy, I almost didn’t accept the gift. I even wrestled with why the gift was given to me. Was it offered out of pity because I was whining about having a car payment? . . . What if I had guilted someone into giving me something. . . Could my pride allow me to accept the gift?
The Girl’s simple words were: “Just take it.” But I had to wrestle around with the idea of this gift a little longer until I realized not accepting a gift freely given is like denying someone’s compliment. You know how it is, someone tells you your shoes are cute and you say: “Oh these old things, I’m kind of sick of them.” It makes the other person feel sort of bad.
I realized I’m not good at receiving gifts. Part of leading a life of gratitude is accepting the gifts we are given and not turning them away. I’m all about offering thanks for the stuff that looks like a goodie and a treat but these last few weeks, I have been given disguised as bad things. My gut feeling tells me Wally’s return home is for a reason so big I can’t imagine it.
I also have seamless evidence God has a sense of humor because the car I will be driving this spring:
Verrryy funny God. But thanks.