Wednesday, November 23, 2011

dreadful independence

It was a long, slow day, made longer and slower by the white flakes drifting down from the rumpled sky. All the work was done--twice. The one male employee went outside, clutching a shovel, and blew back in, covered in snow and chill, more times than I counted. We girls zipped into jackets and huddled behind our registers until the heat came on. The owner arrived, then drifted away, with instructions to send someone home because there were too many of us and too little work. The plow truck ran through the lot, shoving the snow before it, building violent piles against the curbs and beside the lamp posts. Customers were few and far between.

We watched from the window, as the truck passed, plow scraping against pavement. "The other guy would come ask us to rotate our cars," she remarked to me. "This guy, he's just plowing us in." My heart sank. It was already going to be a tight day, timewise, I knew. I had to go from work to home, shower and change, and make it to my next job in the space of an hour. The snow made a quick drive impossible; now this plow man was making a quick escape just as impossible.

I tried not to think about it; I pushed trays through the dish machine and scrubbed pots and waited on customers and cleaned the lobby and chatted with lonely strangers and refilled all the paper products and made sandwiches and poured soup and coffee until I thought my head would burst with monotony. Then the clock said the magic numbers, and I was freed.

In the breakroom, I wrapped myself in my coat and scarf. I was wearing four layers and still shivering, even inside. My socks cut below my ankle bones; my gloves were flimsy dollar-rack buys. I hadn't even stuffed a hat into my pocket. I glanced out the window before I braved outside. It was as grey and steely cold as it had been the rest of the day. I hunched my shoulders and pushed open the door.

As I trudged across the parking lot, I fought the grumbles in my heart. It's not fair, it's really not, that so many other women have men to dig out their cars. It's not fair that I find myself having to physically, spiritually, emotionally, fend for myself, not just today, but every day of my life. It's not fair that You--yes, this is Your fault, too, God--have left me alone like this. It's just not fair.

By the time I reached my car, I was feeling rebellious and irritated. And then I saw it.

Someone had shoveled out my car.

For a moment, I just stood and stared. Then I glanced at my coworker, outside starting up his own car.
"Did you shovel out my car?" I asked. He shrugged, shook his head.
"That wasn't me," he told me, but as he walked away, he called back over his shoulder, ". . . maybe."
All I could do was smile and shake my head.

It is true, I am alone, unmarried and single and independent. And it is horrible at times. But, in those moments when I despair, when I cry I am not strong enough, not for this, and God is the only One Who hears . . . He provides. Whether it is a man to dig out my car for me, a woman to hold my hands and cry with me, a child to snuggle, a puppy to wrestle, a cat to feed, a job to do, He gives me exactly what I need.

Yes. He always, always provides.

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits . . .

1 comment:

  1. He never derides, never ignores, never demeans and never succumbs to my fears and tantrums. And He has the strangest and most unexpected ways of providing - if not a solution, then patience. If not the answer, then hope. How I love Him. Thanks for sharing Kate. I can look back and see this story repeated in my life time after time. Much love to you.
    Growing in trust,