“You see,” he said to the two creatures, who pressed confidingly against him. “When the time came for me to do something, I knew what to do, and I did it.” (from Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle)
For those of you who follow my personal blog, I’m going to retell a story I wrote about yesterday. But this will be different, I promise.
Yesterday I went to the grocery store. If you’ve ever had the experience of moving and setting up a kitchen pretty much from scratch, you know that you are always needing something from the grocery store until you accumulate all of the spices, frozen and canned goods, baking goods and such that you use regularly. That’s been my experience, except that I kept putting off going to the grocery store for various reasons, most of them involving 5:00 traffic and the mass exodus of people heading out of Boston proper to their homes west of the city. But I finally went yesterday afternoon and got a ton of stuff. Okay, it wasn’t really that much by Texas standards (where I don’t have to carry bags up any stairs), but it was a pretty full cart. And I was feeling really pleased with myself for finally getting that chore done, and for not purchasing everything I wanted to.
However, when I got back out to my car, I was considerably less pleased with myself because my car key was sitting on the seat inside the locked car. I won’t lie; I came pretty close to totally panicking. Here was one of my biggest fears about moving so far away–what happens if I lock myself out of my car? Or my apartment? I certainly couldn’t call my parents, which is what I would have done at home. So I stood there for a few seconds totally dumbfounded and thinking something really useful, like, “What do I do now?” But rationality and intelligent thought prevailed when I remembered that I had my house keys in my pocket, and that I had two spare car keys at home.
So I gathered up my gumption and kicked my pride to the curb and walked my cart full of groceries back into the store. I asked an employee if I could possibly leave my stuff while I went to get a spare car key, and he kindly said yes and acted like I wasn’t a total idiot, which increased my feelings of loyalty toward the store. And then I set out, glad to be wearing a comfortable pair of boots, to walk the mile or so back to my apartment, laughing a little (on the inside).
As I reflected on this little adventure later, I thought about this quote from Many Waters. How many times had I brushed off fears about all the what-ifs that might occur after I moved by telling myself, “You’ll figure it out. You’ll take care of it. You’ll know what to do”? And here I found myself in the middle of one of the big what-ifs and I really did know what to do, and I did it.