My really, really bad day, the final chapter

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.

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6 thoughts on “My really, really bad day, the final chapter

  1. I love that at the end of your blog google has placed ads for replacement keys and a locksmith. Sorry you had such a crummy day. As Ghandi said…I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

  2. I have looked forward to each part of your essays about your very, very bad day. As I was reading about your wait in the fitness center, I kept thinking, “Why didn’t someone come to her aid? or inquire if they could help?” I was utterly blown away that you were basically ignored. May God be merciful.

  3. I really have tried to make it a learning experience and teachable moment for myself and my kids. Stepping into someone else’s bad situation isn’t easy or comfortable. I sincerely hope that I will have enough fortitude and grace to help someone, should they look as haggard and sad as I did.

  4. Not that this excuses the lack of compassion on the part of the front desk staff, but I wonder if peer pressure has anything to do with the (non)response? If one person had been at the desk, I wonder if she might have been willing to step up and help, but with three together, there is more pressure to worry what others might think. I like your final conclusion to be more involved with others. The times strangers have stepped in to help me out are so rare but memorable.

  5. I am APPALLED that no one asked to help you or to see what they could do. Like, I want to vomit. And like Sharon pointed out..what does that SAY?

    But I’m also wondering WHY you didn’t call me when I live DOWN THE STREET???? Or did you and I wasn’t here? Oh Gwen, I cringed the whole way.

    Love you!

    • You know, I didn’t even think to call you. I was just not in my right mind. All I was thinking about was unlocking that car. I’ve been thinking a lot about the people’s lack of help (there were also many people who walked past me as I was sitting near the front entrance, crying). Feels like another blog’s about to be born…….

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