I rolled the buggy out of the grocery store to the car, filled the trunk with supplies for a Memorial Day cookout, then I sat my purse, phone and keys in the front passenger seat to free my hands before buckling Lilli into her car seat. The only thing I still had, now stuck in my pocket, was a pack of Gummies I’d bought as a treat for her, as I’d promised them to her once I got myself buckled in. With her secure, I rounded the car to get in myself, but as I was walking I heard the click of the car locking.
It’s a terrible sinking feeling when you realize you’ve locked your keys in the car. It’s worse when you’ve locked a kid in there with them. It’s maddening when you have NO IDEA how the car locked. Actually, I still don’t.
I tried every door, then stood at Lilli’s window trying to explain what was happening, so thankful that at least it was overcast and not terribly hot.
“Lilli, I can’t open the car, but it’s going to be okay. I’m going to stay right here. Can you undo your seat belt?”
I felt pretty sure she couldn’t.
“Mimmie, get in the car. I want my candy.”
“Lilli, the car is locked and my keys are inside. I can’t unlock it. Can you wiggle your arms out of the straps?”
Meanwhile, I’m scanning for a grocery store employee, since Onstar, and my phone with every useful contact was also locked inside.
“Okay Mimmie. You still got my candy?”
She worked to get her arms out and tried to pull her legs through the leg/lap straps (which I knew she couldn’t unlock). She got her arms free, but the belt was cutting into her as she struggled against it and she was getting hot. She also wanted that candy and was pretty mad about it. She started to cry.
“I can’t do it, Mimmie. Get in the car! I want my candy!”
Just then, a woman offered me her phone to call someone (I knew Kevin wasn’t where he could get keys to me quickly), so as I was about to call the police, a grocery store guy saw me and said there was one in the store and ran to get him.
“Sweetheart, a policeman is coming and will help me get in. Just sit back and wait. It’s going to be okay.”
“I not waiting Mimmie.”
Through sheer force of will, and driven by the need for Gummies, she pulled herself a little further out than she had before, and reached back with just enough leverage to pull up the door lock. It set off the car alarm, but it opened!
Grabbing the keys, I shut off the alarm and hugged her.
“Lilli! You saved the day! You’re my hero!”
A huge, dazzling, very-pleased-with-herself smile spread across that face I love.
“I saved you Mimmie! Now where’s my candy?”
I think it’s interesting how often we are in the thick of a dire situation with very few options available to us. We fling frantic prayers toward heaven, desperate for help. Oftentimes, He gives us the answer to the problem and the ability to get ourselves out of it, by showing us just the right thing to do, or giving us a light-bulb moment of epic proportions. So we get in there and do it, freeing ourselves from the bondage of the moment. Then, with a pleased smile, we announce we’ve saved the day and feel like we deserve a reward for our brilliance and coolness under pressure. We might toss a quick thanks upward, but we just as easily might not, discounting God’s hand in the entire affair.
I wonder what would happen if we started being more intentional, and less casual, about thanking God for His constant working in our lives. I have to believe our perspective about everything would change as we realize it’s not all about us, well…at all. Maybe then we’d also realize that the benefit of living in gratitude is a content heart and an eye always upward, looking for the good in everything. Maybe then we’d realize that, although Gummies are tasty, those benefits are all the reward we’ll ever need.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Hebrews 13:15 ESV
“You’re my God, and I thank you. O my God, I lift high your praise. Thank God—he’s so good.His love never quits!” Psalm 118:29 MSG
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” Psalm 107:1-2 ESV