Thursday, June 10, 2010


I'm a small-town girl. I mean, a really-small-town girl. The town in Pennsylvania where I grew up is composed mostly of fields, surrounded by mountains, and I'm pretty sure it boasts more cows than people. We had a day off of school on the first day of hunting season...both doe and buck. I can remember standing in the kitchen with my sister watching a black bear lumber nonchalantly through our yard.

I could go on, but I think you get it.

Now, though, I live in the grand metropolis that is Raleigh. I love so much about it, I really do. There are two malls within a twenty-minute driving distance, stores and restaurants I'd never even heard of, and oh my goodness, can you believe I lived the first 24 years of my life without ever eating Coldstone ice cream? I know - it's an almost unspeakable travesty.

But as I said, at heart, I'm a small-town girl. The one part of living in the city that I'm still getting used to is the driving. And the one particular aspect of driving here that I hate the most is parking decks.

Now, to make a long story short, I have to use an inhaler every day, and right now I drive down to the (very large and well-known) hospital in Raleigh to pick it up. This means that every month or so, I have to inch my precious little blue Focus through the ginormous parking deck at the hospital, find a place to park, run in, grab my life-giving medicine, and then, even more carefully, inch the Focus back out of whatever space I found, avoiding the much more, ahem, confident drivers who careen around the tight corners of the parking deck levels without seeming to care that that the little redheaded girl in the blue car is white-knuckled and hyperventilating trying to back up as they fly by.

It just so happened that I had to go pick up my inhaler today.

I was nearly finished. I'd braved both of the huge, multi-lane highways necessary to get to the hospital. I'd parked the car without scraping the front bumper on a wall in the parking deck. (Victory!) And now I was sitting with my inhaler nestled comfortably on the front seat, promising me two more months of, well, life. The car was on and in reverse. My neck was craned on the back windshield, prepared.

But other cars kept coming. I couldn't back up. Every time I started, another one whizzed past and I'd gasp, thankful for the five inches that kept them from hitting me.

I waited about five minutes, but there was no reprieve. They just kept coming.

And so, I froze.

I waited.

I refused to move the car.

It was too risky.

I can’t afford an accident.

Finally I realized…if I didn’t put my foot on the gas pedal and pull out of that parking space, I was going to sit there until Jesus came to take me home.

Side note: I love the tv show “Friends.” There’s an episode in season three when Joey is in a play with a rather eccentric director who, when he gets a phone call on his cell phone, pauses their action while he answers and wails,

"...when I continue, I hope that there will appear onstage this magical thing that in the theater we call COMMITTING to the MOMENT!"

As I sat with my car in reverse, my neck aching from craning it backwards looking for an opportunity to pull out, that line suddenly ran through my head.

I had to do it. I had to commit to the moment.

I took a deep breath. I listened for other cars. I couldn’t hear any.

So I put my foot on the gas and backed up, then, as quickly as I could, I put the car in drive and left the parking garage.

I was fine. No one hit me. No one was even behind me. Twenty minutes later I was home and snuggling with my dog.

I had to take the risk. It was that, or live in that parking garage.

Now, I’ve directed plays since I was a teenager. I still do it at my church, and I admit, I can get like Joey’s director sometimes. I whine, and flail, and cajole, and plead, and jump around, and wave my arms, and practically roll around on the floor to get my actors to give me more. I need more emotion!! More energy!! LOUDER!! I don’t believe it!! Give me MORE!!

Really, what I’m asking is for them to commit to the moment!! (Ask them. They’ll tell you how I am.)

Because if you’re not going to really do it…why do it at all? You’re just going to sit in the parking garage with your car in reverse, forever. And where does that get you?

When you could be on the highway, on your way home.

When you could be really doing something worthwhile.

When you could be really living. Feeling. Loving. Stepping into God’s will for your life.

I’m not saying not to be careful. I’m not saying to blindly jump. I’m saying that there comes a time when you have to take a deep breath and put your foot on the gas pedal and just leap. Because…what’s the alternative?

Commit to the moment.

Otherwise, you could be stuck in a parking garage. Forever.

And what's the point of that?