It was a beautiful, sky blue morning, when our daughter, Joanna took us to the airport in Portland, Oregon. As we were unloading our luggage, she said, “Mom, don’t shut your door until I make sure the driver’s door is unlocked.” The car motor was running and Terry had left the keys in the ignition, so she was concerned with the automatic locks. We hugged good-bye and I proceeded to slam the passenger door. Instantly, Joanna’s concern about being locked out became a reality and we had to leave her at the curb of passenger departure with a locked and running Subaru Outback.
Leaving my daughter alone with my mistake had me feeling anxious; you know, like how you’d feel if you couldn’t find your purse and then you realized you’d left it in the cart back at the grocery store or like how you’d feel if your 18-month-old disappeared and he turned up outside, half way around the house?
I learned a long time ago to ask only one question when bad things happen to good people (like Joanna, Terry and me), “What do I need to learn from this?” Of course the most obvious lesson to learn was to never leave your car running with the keys in the ignition. But going back over the whole event, the best lesson I came up with was really a reminder to know that there is always a higher reason for everything. Who was I to question why Joanna was detained for 45 minutes? She was right where she was supposed to be.
Just before we had to buckle our seat belts and turn off all electronic devises, I got a text message from Joanna saying she was home safely. With that information my heart returned to its normal beat and I could finally relax and indulge my fabulous imagination to think up a higher reason why this event took place.
Maybe Joanna had been locked out of our car and forced to wait, because she averted being the cause of a huge pile up on 1-205. If she’d left right when we hugged goodbye, maybe she would have been on the busy freeway when a small white puffy cloud exactly shaped like an ice cream cone happily displayed its handiwork and Joanna having cut way back on sugar would have been enthralled by the artistic cloud and with her mouth watering and her attention diverted, she wouldn’t have seen the brake lights of the car in front of her and she would have crashed into it without using her brakes, which would have caused the seventeen cars behind her to join the demolition derby. But by the time the locksmith broke into the car and Joanna was driving home, that little cloud would have turned into an innocuous mist.
My fantasy made me feel better and it reminded me to always expect that in every moment, we are all in the right place and that worry is such a nasty habit.