My mom hasn’t driven in two years. Fortunately for her, she thinks she’s out and about driving at least once a day. Best to let her think that way. However, if you let her think she’s a driver, you better remember to hide the keys to all vehicles. Particularly if you are going to slip out for a few minutes. Something I recently forgot to do. What ensued is either horrifying or hilarious.
I saw Mom deeply ensconced in her jigsaw puzzle and thought it would be a good time to run out to the grocery store. Also, my husband was in the next room working so what could go wrong?
So there I was in the grocery store checking out when my cell phone rings. It’s my husband saying “Are you sitting down?” (Not what anyone ever wants to hear.) “Oh my gosh, what is it?” The grocery store clerk is clearly concerned as I say, “I’m on my way now!” My mother has taken my father’s car and left the building.
As I haphazardly depart the grocery store, I think to myself, “wait a minute, if she is going anywhere, it is here.” This used to be her favorite place to go before we had to take the keys away. I scanned the parking lot looking for the escapee, but she and Dad’s car are nowhere to be found. I jump into my car and say a prayer for her safety and for those in her path. It’s rush hour so the road is jammed with slow-moving traffic. Then I spot her! There she is sitting in traffic in the opposite direction. Her ski hat on in 50-degree weather and looking very pleasantly pleased with herself! As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, I was convinced that the song “Free Bird” was lightly playing on her car radio; because this woman was FREE!
I make the first U-turn possible and semi-frantically inch through traffic just a couple minutes behind the escapee. She has returned to the scene of the crime as I suspected, the grocery store. I pull in right next to her get-away car. It looks like she was so excited that she didn’t even close the door properly. Not 5 feet inside the door, I see her rummaging through her purse. I gently step up behind her and ask, “What are you looking for Mom?”
“I can’t find my list!” she replies not one bit surprised I am beside her. We pick up a few items, go through the checkout and head to the parking lot. As we approach the two cars I think, “Oh no, here it comes. I have to break her heart and tell her she is not driving home.” Then she asks me, “Where did we park?” She had completely forgotten she was on the lam and I took her home as if it was any other trip we have made together. Yikes and phew at the same time, right?
I find it particularly ironic that her favorite place to run to is my least favorite. Since this little Thursday afternoon fiasco, I have been more sensitive to my aging mother’s needs and my lack of gratefulness to be experiencing freedom on a daily basis. Do we even think twice about our freedoms? Think back to when you first got your driver’s license? (Again, “Free Bird” comes to mind.)
You were no longer dependent on anyone to get you where you wanted to go. We were born with an innate spirit of freedom that can dull over the years if we don’t nourish it. Abundant blessings follow when you humble yourself with a contrite heart and a spirit of love in whatever you are doing. This week take a moment to list some of your blessings and freedoms. Is there someone whom you could serve better in your life?
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
2 Corinthians 3:17
“If I leave here tomorrow would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on now; ‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see…Cause I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change…” Lynrd Skynard