I wish I held up better under pressure, but I collapse like the thin plot of a B movie.
I joined Ross in crying and my older two groaned in misery. Then the seven-year-old asked if I had keys, any keys at all. “Sure, here take them. They’re a set for the other car, but have at it”, I said as I handed them to him. Maybe by some miracle Chevy made a key exactly fitting my Ford. Who knew? That idea was shot down quickly.
Tick, tock, tick, tock….. My enemy, Time, was going forward leaving me behind.
I called my husband, who responded reassuringly and calmly as he always does in a crisis. We are polar opposites: Little things send him over the edge, but he is my rock when I am a blubbering pile of goo. He would head home for the keys right away. The only problem was, that meant 1 1/2 hours of waiting. Nonetheless, I was going to need him if I was going to make it to work later at all.
Work….oh brother. I was still wearing yesterday’s clothes. Now with the stress I had two nicely pronounced sweat stains under my arms. Lovely. I sat on the floor near the entry, across from the front desk of this Christian fitness center with my head in my hands, thinking. I would try a lock smith. Barely able to speak, I rose and went over to ask for a phone book.
I finally found a locksmith to come in 20 minutes, but with all the time that had already passed, there was no way I could go home before work. The only feasible plan for the evening would be if Rick met me so I could pass off the kids. Now to call him to bring me a care package from home.
Rick is partially colorblind. I was going to have to stick it out in my present outfit, because there was absolutely no way I could describe clothes in enough detail that he could figure out what I was talking about. So I asked for a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, sanitary pads – yeah, that would start today – and comfortable shoes.
To make a long story short, or shorter, the kids made it home and I made it to work after a restaurant naturally messed up my order. By this point it was feeling like an out-of-body experience and I faced the next minor occurrences of the evening as if under an anesthetic.
When I finally got home at 11 pm and crashed onto the bed, I thought back over the day. I had survived. Yet something really bothered me: When I had broken down with three kids in tow at that fitness center – that “Christian” fitness center of a major denomination – people just walked right past me crumpled up there on the floor. The three people at the front desk who gave me the phone book that I asked for with teary face and broken voice never once asked me what was wrong or if I needed anything. I guess the Bibles on the lobby tables were just for show – like coffee table books. Because of this experience, I am more resolved to be willing to enter into someone else’s pain and bad day, should I see it happen.
God help me to not be a “coffee table” Christian.