My mom and I were chatting over lunch the other day when she relayed to me a cute, little story about a silly mishap she experienced during a recent trip to the supermarket. I have to admit that we got a good chuckle over the incident. At first, my mom didn’t see anything significant about this minor occurrence, but I immediately pointed out that it exemplified a noteworthy life lesson. Since I had the relevant revelation, mom encouraged me to write this post about it.
My family has an SUV with what I consider to be a design flaw in the rear interior of the vehicle. There is too much excess space between the rear seats and the doors. In most cars, there is almost no space between the rear seats and doors; but this is not the case in our SUV. Why is this a problem? Because when you are driving, anything sitting on the rear seat falls into that space between the seats and the doors. Then, when we open the rear doors of the car, our belongings fall right onto the ground. This has happened many times.
To compensate for the problem, we have to open the car doors slowly; carefully slip our hands into the car; then try to grab whatever items have fallen in between the seats and doors before they shoot out at us. It’s beyond annoying I must say. However, on the particular day of my mom’s story, she had other things mulling around in her mind, which were distracting her from the “open the car door rule” I just described to you. Therefore, my mom wasn’t thinking about that frustrating, and quite maddening characteristic that our car possesses.
As my mom tells it, she had just finished shopping at the supermarket, and had placed her packages in the back seat of the car. As she was pulling away, she remembered an essential item she needed for dinner that night, so she re-parked her car and ran back into the store to buy the item. Upon returning to the car, with her mind still on everything else but the “car door rule,” my mom made her grave mistake. She mindlessly swung open the back door of our SUV to put her additional package on the seat, and OY, was that ever the blunder. You can probably guess what happened.
Just as expected, a huge, three liter bottle of soda burst out of the car (along with the plastic bag that had carried it); fell to the ground; and barreled down the parking lot which was filled with cars. Simultaneously, the wind, swirling in frenzied gusts, swiftly whisked away the plastic bag that had held the soda bottle in it. The bag whipped away in the wind in the opposite direction from where the soda bottle now plunged down the parking lot.
Startled by the situation that was unfolding before her very eyes, my mom wasn’t sure which one to chase! (Between you and me, I don’t know why my mom was surprised by this situation; she should’ve known what would happen by unthinkingly flinging that car door open as she did.)
Now, since my mom had just paid for the soda, her natural, reactive instinct was to chase after it. She wasn’t going to let that soda go without a fight! But, my mom didn’t want to trash the parking lot with an empty plastic bag, either. As she stood there in a quandary, trying to decide which to chase first, both the plastic bag and the soda bottle bolted further and further away from her. My mom’s thoughts and eyes darted back and forth continuously, until she finally decided to go for the item that had actually cost her money. (Good thinking, mom. Though, I’m still not sure why that was even a question.)
So, over the course of the next several minutes, my mom pursued this renegade soda bottle with a fortitude and fervor that would make one think she was chasing a million dollars. Every time she thought she was finally going to grab the bottle, she’d JUST miss it by a hair, and it would continue to spiral in a new direction moving further and further from her grip. Nevertheless, she kept dashing and ducking multiple times over, between parked cars trying to grab hold of that bottle. (Mom wondered if she was actually being Punk’d.)
There were multiple moments where my mom said she ended up in utterly ridiculous positions, with her rear end poked high into the air during this absurd bottle chase. Apparently, this was quite the hilarious scene for the numerous spectators scattered around the parking lot, who were following this comical sequence. I can definitely picture this scenario in my mind, a fiasco which would certainly qualify for a spot on America’s Funniest Home Videos. However, this was by no means funny to my mom, who, by that point, was taking the recapture of the soda bottle quite seriously.
Finally, after too many minutes of this exasperating, and quite embarrassing ordeal, the tumbling soda bottle began to slow down (much to my mom’s relief). But, just as she was about to finally seize her prey, the bottle unexpectedly rolled under a huge truck, and halted right underneath the center of the large vehicle. You’ve got to be kidding me, my mom thought to herself. I go through all of that, and the bottle finally stops rolling in a completely unreachable spot. Unbelievable!!! By now, my mom was beyond perturbed.
My mom considered her options. There was no way she could reach that bottle, unless MAYBE she crawled on her hands and knees, and got into a most awkward, uncomfortable, and un-lady-like position to do so. And, even then, my mom still wasn’t sure she could reach it. She just couldn’t contort her body into a position that would allow her to be able to reach the bottle that had so inconveniently decided to nestle itself beneath that gigantic truck. Now, if I had been there, you know who would’ve been coerced into slithering her way beneath the vehicle to claim my mom’s prize. So, THANK YOU GOD, that I wasn’t there!
After several more minutes of conjuring up ideas of how to reach the soda bottle, and still getting nowhere, my mom threw her hands up in the air and thought, you know what? This is just not worth it. I paid $1.67 for that bottle, and I’m not putting myself through any more hassle to get this thing. And, as hard as it was for her, my mom made a decision right then and there to let the bottle go and move on. If you personally knew my mom, you would know that, as silly as it sounds, it was not easy for her to give up on that bottle. She has a tendency to pursue things to the bitter end. She doesn’t like to let things go. Perhaps there are some of you who feel the same.
So, it is this part of the story that I think strongly applies to life. Sometimes we can hold too long onto people or things in our lives that really need to be released. These things that we tightly grip, so often beset, distract, hinder, and hold us back from moving forward in life. How much time do we spend trying to make something (or someone) “work” because we’re simply afraid to let it (or them) go? We have to understand that God lovingly waits for us to release, into His very trustworthy hands, whatever it is we can’t seem to let go of. He can then restore and renew whatever we “think” we’re losing by letting go.
Like my mom, I sometimes find that letting go of certain things, no matter why I’m holding onto them, is no easy feat. It takes great courage to release something into God’s hands when you’re not sure what the outcome will be. But, let me say from personal experience, that when you finally muster up that bravery to let go, there is such a sense of freedom that floods over you. It’s almost a feeling of relief, which you never knew could come. Then, you can sit back, relax, and see what God does to restore and repair your situation.
I’ve sometimes looked back and wondered how in the world I could’ve ever held onto whatever it was I was holding onto in the first place. So often God has turned my circumstances into something far more beautiful than what I could ever have imagined. He’s just waiting for us to let go of whatever it is we’re holding onto, so He can give us His best in its place. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I encourage you to think about what it is that you’re holding onto in life that just needs to be let go. Why not move on, place your life in God’s hands, and see what He’ll do with it! I know it’ll be something wonderful!
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