I’ve been working a lot the past few weeks.
Why yes, I love my job. Thanks for asking.
Getting to and from work is the most difficult part of my job — because I live about 30 minutes from work (26 miles with nothing but fields to look at), and sometimes, I work until late and then I have to go back to work early the next morning.
It could be worse. It really could be a whole lot worse.
But last night, I found myself having worked two days in a row, getting back to town at about 11:45 pm, and needing to fill the gas tank before leaving for work again at 7:30 this morning.
And the windchill was -26* F.
As I drove through the 26 miles of nothingness (and blowing snow), I found myself dreading having to get out in the cold. I thought to myself, “At times like these, I need a man.”
And then I realized that I really don’t need a man.
I haven’t needed a man.
I thought I needed a man at times.
But my track record, when it comes to everyday life, is impeccable.
I’ve paid every bill — on time.
I’ve never forgotten to go to work.
I check the oil in my car on a regular basis — and I know when and how to add oil.
I haven’t had an overdraft in over 10 years.
I know how to make/keep medical appointments.
I take out my own trash.
I know how to get myself out if my car is stuck in snow.
I keep my personal space uncluttered as much as possible. (This is a work in progress….)
I know when and how to add antifreeze to my car.
I have more tools than most men — and I know how to use (most of) them.
I know how to check the “service engine” code on my car, how to turn off the light and how to find out what the code means.
I do my own laundry.
I can change the brake and blinker lightbulbs on my car.
I hang pictures.
I can change the battery in my car.
I move furniture by myself when I’m rearranging my living space.
I do all my own shopping (under protest — but I get ‘er done).
I can change a tire (although my attempt may be futile if the tire was bolted on with an air compressor thingy).
I’m a pro at unclogging toilets and drains.I know how to drive safely in all types of road conditions.
I keep several quarts of oil, a gallon of premixed antifreeze and a bottle of Heet in my car at all times, just in case.
Like…. who really needs a man?
I have plenty of other things that I really need. Like:
I need to eat healthier.
I need to cultivate friendships.
I need to save money.
I need to pay off loans.
I need a newer car.
I need to get my teeth straightened.
I need new shoes. (I’m not just being girly. I promise.)
I need to organize my home.
You know how Rush Limbaugh boasts that he can do his radio show with half his brain tied behind his back? Well, I need to get the other half of my brain untied, because if I can rock life with only half of my brain, just think what I could do with the whole thing!
The past several years, I’ve felt like I was functioning with only half of my brain. Or maybe it was only 1/3. The percentage doesn’t really matter — the point is that I struggled. Life felt like too much of a burden and I felt like I was drowning under the weight of it all. I felt like I was failing at everything and nothing was going the way it was supposed to. I didn’t feel like I was living in a desert. I felt like I was a desert. There was nothing about me that even hinted at life and beauty.
During those years, I often heard my own silent screams for mercy. For someone to throw me a life preserver as the desert-that-I-was struggled to keep it all together in the ocean of people and responsibilities and trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not and which church and pastor were “safe” and which people were really my friends.
How does a desert — a conglomeration of sand and heat and dryness (and plants and animals that thrive in dry climates) — remain intact if it’s sinking in an ocean?
Maybe the ocean’s purpose is simply to deconstruct and destroy the desert.
Maybe the pressures of life are simply for the purpose of washing away the lifeless bits of sand, the prickly spines of cactus and the mirages that have been part of me for so long.
I’ve learned along the way that a lot of the things I’ve been taught (ideas which felt dry, dead and ugly) weren’t actually true, right or good. Things about who I am. Things about what I’m supposed to do. Things about the world and things about God and church and pastors. Things about emotions and love and…..
You have to know when to let go of things.
And I’ve learned to let go of the idea that I need a man — because I’ve done quite well without one, even though half my brain has been tied behind my back.
For the record, just because I don’t need a man doesn’t mean that I don’t want one. Because it would sure be nice to be able to delegate the gas pumping on -26* days to someone else.