I started this post over a week ago, shortly after The Embarrassing Incident (or EI, as it shall be known henceforth). I turned this tale inside and out, carefully rearranging the details to spin the story and cast myself as the hero. Or at the very least, the protagonist.
Who doesn’t want to be the power player in their own story? Except some days it doesn’t work like that. Some days you find yourself stranded in the snowy armpit of Where-The-Hell-Am-I, with no one to blame but yourself.
Or so I’ve heard.
This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve become somewhat of an expert at the whole lock-your-keys-in-the-car/run-out-of-gas/get-hopelessly-lost/breakdown/vehicle-catches-on-fire (twice!)/stuck-in-the-snow/mud/ditch phenomenon. I probably shouldn’t be allowed out unsupervised.
On the day of The EI, I had undertaken a solo road trip to meet up with one of my oldest, dearest friends. We had decided to meet up in the mountains halfway between our two cities. What better way to catch up than a brisk winter hike?
Long story short: iMaps, unmaintained logging road, panic, snow, ice, nowhere to turn around, more panic, “All Season” tires, flaky city driver (me), deeper snow… even my friend’s 4-wheel-drive SUV was having trouble – my little red car didn’t stand a chance. Shannon seemed unphased and shrugged knowingly. She’s been around long enough to be completely unsurprised by my misadventures. Not exactly the years-in-the-making, once-in-a-blue-moon reunion I had pictured.
But here’s me, solidly stuck in the middle of nowhere. Nothing we did helped. Not the ice scrapers, digging, car mats, wheel turning, feats of car-pushing strength… Stuck.
I haven’t prayed so urgently in a long time. Before each new attempt… “Please Lord, rescue me. Don’t let this day be ruined. Save me from the tow bill and the humiliation and having to call Glen with yet another guess-what-I-did-now story…”
After an hour, we gave up. We began making our way back down the mountain (WITHOUT the little red car). There goes the day.
Until salvation came bombing up the road wearing coveralls astride two large, noisy ATVs. In less than 10 minutes, these hearty locals had me out of the rut and on my way back down the mountain. Like it was nothing.
Once again, I was rescued. I always am. Somehow God provides. And people step up – kinder and more helpful than I expect. It shouldn’t surprise me so much each time.
I much prefer being the rescu-er, than the rescu-ed. “Here I come to save the day!” tastes so much better than “Help!” And that’s a problem.
It’s good to give, no doubt, but it’s important to receive also. Either side without the other is unhealthy. Without a balance we aren’t truly participating… in family. In community. In church. In humanity.
A facade of independence and competence and keeping-it-all-together-all-the-time keeps people at arm’s length. My friendship with Shannon has survived (and flourished) over two decades, not because of proximity or circumstance or chemistry, but for all the times we’ve waded into the deep to rescue each other.
All my intimate relationships have grown in the messy, needy, bumpy parts of life. As we reach out to rescue or be rescued, we may not get a quick fix or any kind of solution at all. Sometimes our rescue comes in the form of a safe person to talk to. Or tell us when we’re wrong. Or take the kids during a crisis. Or cry with and for each other. Or spend a precious kid-free day driving for hours and pushing a stupid red car out of the stupid snow.
So here’s me, grateful to the Cameron family for rescuing me, to Shannon for grown up conversation, to Glen for going to the DoodleBops concert so I could have the day… and especially to all of you who keep rescuing this damsel in distress. I hope I can return the favour from time to time.