That was one of three clues that I too needed help.
The first clue had nothing to do with cars. It had to do with baptism by immersion. Having newly planted flowers in the flower beds, I manually turned on the sprinkler to water one of these beds. Then, intent on accomplishing a project indoors, I worked industriously until my husband arrived home, asking, "How long has the water been running in the front?"
His guestimate? Three hours. The actual time wasn't even half that. Still, the water that now flowed like a mighty river down driveway and street threatened both to drown the young flowers and to carry them away.
The third clue involved my car, but only indirectly. Two days after the water incident, I woke up feeling pretty limp. "Maybe a walk will help," I told myself.
Myself wasn't thrilled with the idea, but agreed to go. Dressed for my trek, I stopped in the garage to talk with our cat. Tessa started the conversation. She meowed loudly, demanding in cat language, "Feed me!"
Hesitating, I almost walked back inside to get her food. But, still feeling limp, I told her, "Tessa, you can wait to eat till I get back."
At that second, my cell phone rang. The phone was in the house, yet its ring was clearly audible in the garage. Hurrying inside, I grabbed the phone, glanced at the caller ID - and remembered I was supposed to be having coffee at that moment with our older daughter at Starbucks.
She forgave me. We had our rendezvous. But driving to meet her, I pondered three unnerving episodes: the sprinkler, the forgotten meeting and (the evening between these two) - the car.
I had arrived home that evening exhausted after a full day. Parking in the garage, I suddenly remembered I needed to record my mileage for business purposes. That done, I went inside, eager to unwind.
Half an hour later, our younger daughter was leaving to visit friends. Kissing me good-bye, she walked to the door, opened it and stopped, staring into the garage. Incredulous, she asked, "Mama, is your car running?"
Indeed it was. What's more, the garage door was closed, so this may be the first documented case of attempted suicide by a Grand Am.
Unless Could I possibly have restarted the engine in order to read the mileage on the odometer - and then forgot to turn off the car?
If not for my husband and daughters, who knows what the outcomes of these stories might have been. Driving to Starbucks, I was grateful, but humiliated at having to be rescued three times in three days. "What is going on?" I asked myself.
"Your forgetfulness increases in direct proportion to your stress level," myself responded.
"But I'm not that busy."
"No, but emotionally you're in the red zone."
Oh. You know those situations where you're caught in the middle of life's inequities? Hope deferred and deferred and deferred has made your heart sick. Well, when my heart's ailing, my mind muddies. I forget things - important things.
A songwriter from long ago has a surprising solution. In Psalm 42, he says to God, "My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you."
How intriguing! The cure for forgetting is remembering. It is not creating the added stressor of willing yourself to do the very thing you're finding most impossible. Rather, it is choosing to let the hurt itself lead you to the God whose peace guards heart and mind.
(c) 2006, 2013 by Deborah P. Brunt. All rights reserved.