I had just pulled on to the highway during the tail-end of rush hour traffic when I noticed “it” on my dashboard.
“Mother,” I said, clearly agitated, “is that a parking ticket?!”
I wasn’t in the mood for a parking ticket. Not when I was struggling to keep my bank account out of the red. Not when I had received my first speeding ticket 2 weeks prior. And definitely not when that speeding ticket came just 2 days after my friend Jess and I accidentally caused $300 worth of damage at the inn at our friends’ wedding.
And we were the sober ones.
“Yeah.” She said, sympathetically. “I just hope you don’t have to use the windshield wipers!”
It might have been my mood that caused dark clouds to come rolling in. Less than two minutes later droplets of water splashed on the windshield.
“How about you take the wheel while I try to reach outside the window?” I asked my mom, trying to make light of a situation that was both humorous and annoying.
“How about you take the next exit,” she suggested, as the rain began to pour.
As I navigated carefully to the off ramp my mind became engulfed with anxiety concerning upcoming rent, tuition, my expensive series of unfortunate events, and the money I didn’t have to cover it. “You know,” I said, teetering dangerously close to a pity party, “it’s stuff like this that makes me feel like a failure.”
“Oh please!” she retorted. “Do you know many parking tickets your brother’s gotten over the years? I even got summoned to court once because he forgot to pay a fine he got driving my car!”
I laughed at the memory, but it wasn’t the parking ticket per say that was causing insecurity. It was the growing doubt that I should be renting an apartment and going back to school when my finances were looking so bleak. It was the confusion I began to feel as soon as I returned to Canada and took a realistic look at this course I’m about to chart. It was how all of these things conjured up the same feelings I had when I was living with my parents.
“We journey in hope,” my mom said, as I pulled into a parking lot to turn around.
She repeated herself, “‘We journey in hope.’ Look.” She pointed to the message on a signboard and I realized I had driven into a church parking lot.
I put the car in park and ran outside to grab the ticket from the dashboard. With my vision no longer impaired from the raindrops on the windshield, I saw the sign clearly.
“I’ll take some hope, please!” I said.
As I settled back into the car and pulled on to the road I was reminded (as I have been many times since coming home) how much I do not want to go back to that pre-Bangkok mindset, where jobs were scarce, living with my parents was never-ending, and hope was something I struggled to grasp every day.
Instead, I’m going to work my butt off to be financially responsible and maintain a budget (thank God for a brother obsessed with financial planning), kick those almost-pity parties to the curb, and choose to journey in hope – because even when it’s raining outside and I can’t see what’s ahead, this truth remains the same: God’s love is strong and I can trust Him with my life.