Thoughts over a mug of tea.

I seem to be attracting bad luck lately.

Saturday, after work, I was waiting for my friend Theresa in the parking lot and rolled down my window to talk to a coworker who walked by. And then, for no reason, it wouldn’t roll back up. I got another coworker to look at it, and he couldn’t do anything. While this would normally be no more than an irritation, since Mike was out of town and his car was in Greensboro, things got kind of complicated. Plus, unbeknownst to me, Theresa had locked her keys and her phone in her car, and I wasn’t sure where she was exactly.

It’s often the little things that break you. You have your cry about the bigger things, but you remain composed. You want to be strong, you know the right things to say. But then something relatively small just completely bowls you over. That’s what happened to me yesterday – I have had a lot going on, and I have been dealing, but the car thing made me feel completely overwhelmed. Between Mike and my dad, we got things figured out, so now I’m driving my grandparents’ truck for the next few days.

The last time I drove a truck was two weekends ago when I borrowed Brian’s to move our new picnic table and hydroplaned. I woke up this morning, and it was raining. I started to cry.

When I had to drive the truck home last night, I had a bit of a hard time. It wasn’t raining, but the fact that I was in a truck meant that I took things really slow. Today, though, just about did me in. The highway that I take to Greensboro has a speed limit of 65, but I never went more than 55. I just couldn’t.

When I was in high school, I had a friend who often had car trouble. We sometimes drove to Asheboro to see movies or have dinner, and when it rained her car would often act up. She was Catholic, and firmly believed that as long as she kept reciting the Hail Mary, her car would keep running. And, from what I saw, it worked. From being around her, I got into the habit of repeating it as something calming to myself, not really praying, but thinking about Mary and the grace that she was given to deal with some very difficult things. If she could handle that, surely God can give me the grace to handle the difficult things in my life. It helps me calm down to say it over and over, and so, today, in my grandpa’s truck, I repeated the Hail Mary a lot of times.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was driving my car back from Brian’s house, I was really scared to drive the same route that I’d driven when I had my accident. That time I really did pray. That time I prayed the Jesus prayer over and over, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” I remember that in one of her books, possibly A Rock That is Higher but more likely something from The Genesis Trilogy, Madeleine L’Engle talks about praying the Jesus Prayer, and what I remember is that she says something about how it makes her feel anchored. I really like that, and that’s why I pray it sometimes when I don’t know what else to pray. Saying the Hail Mary, even though I don’t believe in praying to saints, makes me feel kind of anchored, too, because what it really reminds me is of how faithful God was to Mary, and how faithful he has been throughout time. I almost feel like I need to apologize for not being Catholic, not believing in praying to saints, and yet still saying the Hail Mary, but it’s just one of my ways of remembering the bigger picture. I had two conversations today about saints and how they were real people who hurt and struggled, and that’s one of the things that I remember when I think about Mary. She got through her struggles, and so will I.

Today was pretty hard. Actually, this weekend was hard. This week was hard. I’ve had a lot of indigestion this week, taking lots of Tums, drinking decaf coffee (which, I know that’s strange, but it usually helps me when I have indigestion, although not really this week). My stomach was in knots the whole time I was driving today, and there were some other emotional stressors. In the midst of that, though, I had great time with Theresa last night and this morning. She let me cry, we talked about Gilmore Girls, we drank tea, we watched The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. This afternoon, I got to hang out with Melissa and go to Emily’s baby shower. And tonight I had dinner with three other women and some spirited little boys. The day has ended better than it began, and I am hopeful that my coping skills will be slightly better tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I’m going to read in bed until I fall asleep.

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