I was desperate the other day and made a pact with God. I said I’d write for one half hour a day. It was better than selling my soul to the devil, and I actually enjoy writing, but I’m just so (cue the violin) crazy busy.
That was in the morning. I went to work and slogged through the pile in my inbox that just keeps growing even as I get things done. I kept thinking, “I’ve got to leave here by 3:45 at the latest to get to the permit office on time.”
Obstacles and phone calls and crises distracted me until it was 4:20 – on a Friday night with horrendous rush hour traffic. I snatched up my Mac and rushed out the door, cursing myself for waiting so long.
I started praying that the traffic would part like the Red Sea and I could somehow get all the way across town in time.
The good Lord did his best to get people out of my way, but it was still slow going. I developed a headache, and escalated the nasty tongue lashing about what a stupid idiot I was for not leaving earlier and what the hell was I thinking – I know traffic is much worse on Friday afternoon, I don’t know why, maybe everyone’s headed out of town or going out to dinner, but it’s always like that and I know that good and well and what the eff was I thinking and why can’t I ever get anywhere on freaking time????
I was blessed to compress a journey that should have taken an hour into exactly 39 minutes – it was 4:59 when I pulled into the permit office parking lot, grabbed my purse, slammed the car door, and breathlessly dashed to the counter and said, “I need to pick up a permit.”
The lady behind the counter said, “We close for permits at 4:30 – didn’t they tell you that when they called to say the permit was ready?”
I buried my head in my hands, partly because I had that splitting headache, and partly because I couldn’t believe I had driven like a maniac and I couldn’t believe I had waited so long to leave the office, and knowing my crew needed that permit on Monday and the permit office was closed Monday and what in the name of everything holy was I going to do? I stayed there with my head buried in my hands running all this through my mind like a drowning person sees their life before their eyes until finally I let out a huge sigh and looked up at the lady. She looked at me like I was the most pitiful human being on the face of the planet. She said, “Let’s just look at this for a second and see.”
She proceeded to click on the computer and look at the paperwork and click some more and look some more and click and look, and said, “Do you know if you owe any money on this?” I handed her the check and she printed out the permit.
I learned a lesson that day about faith, hope, and love. I saw all of them compressed in that little bit of time. I was praying like a maniac every time I came up on the bumper of a slow moving car; every time I could see a bunch of those red lights on the freeway which meant that the cars in front of me were slowing down or stopping; every time I came to a red light. I knew that I would not make it, even my GPS said there wasn’t enough time, but I also knew that God has the ability to make things happen when it doesn’t really seem like it’s possible. So I had faith that he would somehow get me there. I also hoped it would happen, and I hoped that I wouldn’t get turned away by some technicality.
But when I got there and realized I was too late, that I wasn’t going to get that permit, even though I walked in the door with a full 30 seconds to spare, it ended up being love that softened the clerk into giving me that permit even though she wasn’t supposed to – to have mercy on my wretched, headached soul and rationalize to herself, “this poor woman, do I really have the heart to send her home and make her come back?”
When I walked out and got in my car I started crying. I don’t know if they were tears of joy or just incredible tears of relief but it was just this magnificent release of overwhelming emotion and the feeling of God’s hand resting on my shoulder and realizing he’d done me a humongous favor and it’s still hard to believe that God and that woman had compassion for an idiot like me.