Better than black ice

“Kate never lets you help her because she wants things done her way,” they say, laughing.

I laugh too. But I’m not sure they’re joking.

It’s what I’ve done all summer, since the last big life challenge came and I decided to handle it myself.

Because I’m a good driver.

And it turns out God doesn’t force me out of the driver’s seat.

But it’s July when I hit black ice.

“It must be devastating for you,’ says the spa specialist. “You’re a beautiful girl, but now all people will see is your damaged skin.”

My neck gets warm as I think of all the terrible things I want to say back to her.

My skin is exposing me, telling me that my life is out of control.

It’s telling me that I can’t ensure he won’t face heartbreak again.

That I can’t skip the silence of waiting for his email to show up in my inbox.

That I can’t fast forward the goodbyes.

Still, I am determined to steer my own vehicle toward what I have determined will make me happy.

It feels like hell. Literally. My chest feels it a lot lately. My shoulder muscles, too.

It feels like complete control over my life, without any interference from God.

It feels like God giving me what I want.

“All I want is for you to be happy,” she says.

But in mid-March, I am convinced that happiness means holding the wheel, steering away from vulnerability and selflessness.

Until it’s April and I’m tired of driving.

It’s May when I think happiness is adventurous weekends in the Adirondacks.

Until I go home tired and sick.

I’m learning that you can’t drive toward happiness if you don’t know how to find it on a map.

And you can’t ask for more if this is all there is.

I’m ten years old when I sit in the back seat of our grey minivan. I hardly look up when my mom spins out on black ice, because she’s never steered us wrong before.

And it’s time to take a back seat again. To think more like a child and less like a stubborn know-it-all.

“I can’t do this without you,” I pray on my bed in the dark.

And morning comes.

And He shows me a better way.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21


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