In truth, I had a good idea where I was, but I couldn’t quite explain it to Fred who was at home furiously trying to nail down my location on Google maps.
I was biking to Tsawwassen for a meeting and got turned around trying to get over the Alex Fraser bridge. My friend Mei was driving to the same meeting. When I realized I wasn’t going to make it there on time, I called her. Thankfully I caught her before she left home. She could pick me up along the way, but the tricky part was that I needed to get over the bridge and onto Hwy 17 in time or she would drive past me.
With Fred on the other end of the phone, I found the bike route, but it was closed and signs pointed me to access the bridge a different way. When I got over the bridge no signs seemed to direct me to Hwy 17.
“Can you see Planet Ice?” Fred asked.
I looked around and saw the arched roof of a large blue building on the other side of four lanes of busy traffic and three concrete barriers. “Yes,” I said, hoping I’d find a way under the highway to Planet Ice. I called Mei back and arranged to meet her there.
I retraced my route, and there was the blue building right in front of me! But the sign said Boomer’s Bar and Grill. My heart sank. I sped up and entered the parking lot where I saw a man lifting a bike out of his vehicle.
“Excuse me,” I said.”I’m hopelessly lost. I’m looking for Planet Ice.”
The man smiled and pointed to the entrance to the building behind me.
The words PLANET ICE couldn’t have been bigger.
“Hopelessly lost, eh?” he said with both humour and warmth.
Within a few minutes, Mei pulled into the parking lot, and we were on our way to Tsawwassen. We weren’t even late for our meeting.
I feel the adrenalin in my body now as I recall that crazy morning. When things like that happen, I blame myself for not taking a map, not giving myself more time, and not being more patient with Fred. I wish I wouldn’t get into situations that make me panic.
But when I shared my story over lunch that day and felt my friends’ compassion, I realized sometimes stuff just happens and, when it does, I panic. Even though I know God is with me as surely as Planet Ice was right in front of me, I still panic. I wish I wouldn’t, but I do.
It’s humbling. I recall a time when a participant in Living from the Heart became aware of a disconcerting trait in herself. She too was hard on herself, but Deb, one of the facilitators, looked at her lovingly and said, “Can you be kind to yourself in this place?”
Deb’s words return to me now. I say to myself, “Esther, can you be kind to yourself when you get anxious and can’t do a thing about it? Will you be with yourself the way God is with you?”
I imagine God with me, like the man in the parking lot was–smiling warmly. I don’t feel blamed, just loved and reassured that I am right where I need to be.
∗ ∗ ∗
I met Susan Adams at our SoulStream retreat on Saturday. She writes Haiku poems daily as a spiritual practice. “The poems are not premeditated, they just seem to come out of nowhere and involve a very quick, very visceral response to my surroundings (usually nature). I felt moved to just jot down a few at our gathering. Divine mischief?” she says. “So they are not high art, just me being quiet in the moment. Here are three from Saturday.”
O Lord be with me
When I am oft disheartened.
Walk with me t’ord light.
Let your heartbreak go
Blessings flowing from above.
Take this time – breathe deep.
Steam rise from kettles,
Muffins warm on plates abound,
I’m led to this place.