I slammed on the brakes in response to an abrupt stop ahead of me, tires skidding in the rain to a halt just shy of the bumper. I knew I should have replaced the brakes last week!!!!
But three toddlers make it quite difficult to schedule appointments of any kind. Car trouble will just have to wait…until our lives are on the line, apparently. I called the nearest mechanic as soon as I got home, resolving to make it happen, because now I had a job dependent on my ability to arrive. I also have a daughter to pick up from Daycare, and other various places to be, like the grocery store.
I loaded up my daughter, leaving the twins to nap at home while my husband studied, and tentatively crept up the mountain road on a prayer. We pulled into the shop and sat in the office, then walked up to a friends house to chat for a bit while my precious Mazda was examined. One hour, gorgeous views, and a few hundred dollars later, we are golden.
So I thought.
The next morning, I am unable to reverse out of my “driveway” and there is sputtering and gear slipping…not good. I call the mechanic, who then drives to my house to check on the car because I can’t leave, takes it for a “spin” then advises me to bring the car back to the shop tomorrow, although he can’t do anything to fix it because the boat with the refreshment of supplies and parts will not be arriving until the following week.
Meanwhile, I am supposed to somehow get to work and every place else I have commitments. Being the tightly wound artist that I am, i.e. ALL THE FEELINGS, I lay prostrate on my yoga mat and cry out to God for solutions and reprieve. The fall semester had thus far been a barrage of stress, grief, and exhaustion.
I barely even remember the months of September and October. The only words that flash across my mind are “Irma” and “Maria”, the names of the two category five hurricanes that decimated our precious islands, and “Sonnia”, our Caribbean Oma and landlord who passed away from bone cancer the week our car was on the fritz. I never even got the chance to say goodbye.
After the hurricanes, everything shut down for quite some time: schools, businesses, restaurants, groceries, air travel, etc. I began to realize what a tall order it was for the Israelites so long ago to trust God that he would provide enough food for them every morning. They needn’t stock up or live in fear, because God’s promise would be sufficient in every way, every morning. Having five mouths to feed, and not knowing when the food supply (or even ability to travel) would re-open, I began to wonder if my daily bread would literally be falling from the sky in some divine miracle. While I hoped that would not be the case, believing that it could happen, should it need to, gave me strange comfort.
We call upon the same God who multiplies loaves and fish. Surely He can keep the beans and rice flowing.
Jesus, take the wheel!
The food supply has since fattened up, and my car was repaired. Flight schedules have resumed, and Saba’s beauty has returned in a flurry of greenery and flowers, produce, and tourism. Stores have re-opened, and homes are unshuttered. Hurricane season is officially over, and the island can breathe again. A season of loss, is slowly becoming a season of restoration. Hope is abounding in fresh ways.
Going without teaches you so much about your needs and your own humanity.
I needed peace that surpassed all understanding.
I needed a young man to hand me a notecard with Psalm 91, a wad of cash, and “God hears your prayers” scrawled across the top.
I needed a friend and colleague to show up on my doorstep, demand I shower, put on real clothes, make coffee, because a fresh pot of French press cures all ills, and borrow her car for whatever I needed to accomplish.
I needed a poetry workshop that refined my heart and writing craft, that gave me a new friend and purpose during a season of upheaval and big questions.
I needed a bi-weekly FaceTime book club with a dear friend and mentor to process the craziness of motherhood and just womanhood period during such a time of ambiguity.
I needed the rich and zany love of my own mother and grandmother to lift up my arms for eight days and fill my house with love and laughter.
I needed the quiet, and the struggles, and the waiting, and the trusting, and the prayers, and the laughing, and the crying, and the texts from family, and the literal friendship of people, beautiful, wonderful people.
I grew up believing self-sufficiency reigned supreme; Craft your life around needing and trusting nobody, then you will succeed.
But, life has taught me the exact opposite. You need people. I need people. I am becoming increasingly comfortable with this truth as I live on an island where life couldn’t work without other people.
And now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
People who need people really are the luckiest.