"Be at rest once more, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116:7
I was stressed.
My days had been formed in advance, filled to the brim with classes, work, meetings, and all the little things that seem to line up in an endless list. And the thing is, if I spread out all of those activities over a significantly longer span of time, I would really enjoy them. Volunteering with Walla Walla's Interfaith Coalition on Poverty and then shopping for a student missionary's Christmas package? That sounds awesome! But it feels less awesome and more exhausting when everything happens at once, and I'm left scarffing a late lunch/early dinner in the 15 minutes I'm home before running off to my next appointment, finally finishing my day around 9pm when I can then begin homework.
And no, not every day has been like this: this describes 4/5 of last week, and maybe 1/2 of previous weeks. But I need to acknowledge what I have conquered, or at the very least endured.
Several times I was able to adjust my perspective as I rushed into the next appointment, reminding myself that everything is ultimately optional and I was choosing to attend because I tuly desired it. But no matter what view point I used, I was still left utterly spent at the end of each day, fully aware that a schedule adjustment was in order at some point. So far I've made a music playlist entitled "Rest;" otherwise, I still have a fair share to hash out.
So I was stressed. Finally, Thanksgiving break made its glorious entrance, and after packing up and gassing up, I was off for Auburn, glad to have a long drive to myself so I could think and destress.
And then I got a flat tire. It was just too much. I sat in my seat, closed my eyes, and let tears of frustration and exhaustion slip down my cheeks. Could I please just be done with this?!
I recollected myself, opened my trunk, and started getting my little spare out. "Want some help?" I jumped and looked up to see an unfamiliar face. He grabbed my tire and jack and knelt down by my flat. I thanked him and sat down on the ground. He was chatting away and glanced up with a smile, only to see my tear-stained face. "You crying? Don't cry!" I began to explain to him the build up to the tears. Towards the end of my explanation, he said he had better tools and a good tire at his house, if I still wanted his help.
So over the next hour and a half, William and I talked about all sorts of aspects of life. He listened to me vent out my pent up emotions and asked me how I cope with stress ("Personally, I just hit things," he explained with a laugh). He reminded me that we all need to be able to voice what we're experiencing, and we agreed on how important it is to have people who will listen and sit with you through the rough stuff. We talked about the importance of genuine friendships and love, about Christianity, about family, and about driving stick shifts. I was amazed by the entire conversation: I couldn't believe it was happening, and I couldn't believe how much better I was feeling. When my car was good to go again, I hugged and profusely thanked William for the kindness he had shown me in so many ways.
I'm pretty sure God knew I needed this unorthodox pause. I'd been going and going and going--something had to stop me if I was going to find any kind of rest for my soul. It turns out a flat tire and William from Pasco was just what I needed. Less than two hours after pulling onto the shoulder of Highway 12, I had a new tire, a new friend, a new light on people called "strangers," and a new attitude. Best car trouble I've had yet. Thank you God, and thank you William.