Miss Bit returned from a birthday party yesterday with zero minutes to spare. Her Dad had to stop for gas on the way home and we were cutting it close even without that delay. We had 20 minutes to get across town for a play. It started to snow just as we got on the road. The first snow of the season, exhaustion from an already full day and rushing to not be those rude people who come in after the show has started were almost the perfect turn-around-and-go-home trifecta. If not for the happy fact that the show was Grease, I dare say we would have raised the white flag willingly, but the show was Grease, and so we soldiered on.
I made only one wrong turn and we only missed Alma Mater, the opening number. As the ensemble cast filed out into the lobby, we slid into our aisle seats barely noticed and measurably smugger than when we were 30 minutes prior. The first act flew by and before we knew it, it was intermission. I coached Miss Bit to make a mad dash for the ladies room, and I was relieved when I saw that both stalls were unoccupied. The line snaked around the hallway as we left patting ourselves on our backs. I think I made the progression right then and there from being smug to being downright priggish.
Act II commenced. We tapped our feet and clapped our hands through the rest of the show. The very minute the applause wrapped up we exited the theater and ran down the hallway to the doors closest to our car. Miss Bit and I were the first ones in the snowy, slippery parking lot. We weren't dressed in proper winter footwear, but I did have my scraper in the back. As I brushed off the windows, my level of self-satisfaction soared. I turned on the heat and our seat warmers, and started to drive. We didn't get far though. We got stuck soon after we backed out of our spot. And then everyone behind us in the filled to capacity parking lot got stuck too. Stuck behind us...because of us.
It was just a small hill, but it was coated in black ice. The tires were spinning. I couldn't get traction. To think: it only took a bunny hill and a nanosecond to bring me back down to earth. Humbled I dare say. Miss Bit was getting anxious and I'm quite sure the people in the cars behind us were too. I felt a little suspended in time for a moment as I considered the irony of the situation. All night I had been rushing and existing in my own little world and here I was unable to move. Not forward. Not backward. It was one of those situations where I just know the universe is talking to me and I best listen.
It was also a poignant metaphor for the way I feel like I'm living life lately: closed off and stuck.
A kind angel of a woman tried to push me. She didn't even have a jacket. Another started directing traffic to a route with less of an incline, and I was grateful that I wasn't alone. I was touched by the way these strangers were there to help us. I had to reverse and turn around. We went from first in line to last. In fact, we ended up being one of the last cars to leave the lot, but I was no longer in a hurry. I was simply beyond grateful to be unstuck.
Once we were on the open road, Miss Bit quickly fell asleep. I kept us moving forward towards home slowly navigating the slippery roads. Alone and yet not.
This morning we woke to a world whitewashed. It's the kind of day that tempts us to just stay home safe and sound. It suggests we avoid the risks of icy roads and traffic accidents, but I'm thankful that we didn't. The universe had more to say. Father Tim is a direct line to above, beyond, within. His homilies always strike a chord with me, and today was no exception. This morning he spoke verbatim of being stuck, and I wasn't the least bit surprised. He talked of sticking in our heels, spinning our wheels, digging holes as we live out of fear and anxiety instead of joy and hope. And, of course, we all know that's no good way to live. So universe, I want you to know I hear you loud and clear. And I'm working on it.