When I met up with Ryan & Laurie, we collectively rejoiced (through high-fiving) over me being able to sell my car, and then Ryan turned to me and said, "you want to learn to drive stick-shift?" This was an exciting proposition...I had wanted to know how to drive a stick-shift car since I was in high school and my sister drove a Miata, but she had always avoided my request to learn how to drive it because she was concerned that I was going to ruin her clutch. But now, there was actually a reason & a means for me to learn to drive a stick-shift car ~ I was moving to Europe and Ryan & Laurie had a stick-shift vehicle.
So, Ryan, Laurie, baby Andrew, and I (I was in the driver's seat) got into their PT Cruiser & drove around a parking lot & then to the store. And I was pretty good. But as the day went on & I continued to drive around from place to place, I progressively got worse.
Until finally, we sat 25 feet away from the house, and I could not get the car into first gear to drive it into the driveway to park. Again & again & again, I tried to advance, and again & again & again, the car stalled out. This lasted about 10 minutes, until finally I began to weep. I began to cry because I couldn't get the car into first gear; I cried because I was so embarrassed about doing so poorly & for being so emotional in front of Ryan & Laurie; but mostly, I cried because I realized that this was my new life ~ trying a whole bunch of new things (i.e. moving to a new country, learning a new language, having to make new friends, etc) and I was totally going to fall flat on my face in all of these pursuits. In that moment, I mourned for my future failures.
All I wanted to do was jump out of the car & run away. And in between sobs, I kept begging Ryan to please take my place in the driver's seat so that we could get the car home. But each time to car stalled, he would say, "try again." Little by little, the car finally pulled into the driveway & I was able to park. We got out of the car, and they hugged me & told me that they were proud of me.
Over the last several weeks, I have imagined our journey to Germany to be just like this story...a place of joy & excitement, a place for hugs & high-fives, a place of stepping out & trying new things, a place of failure & crying, and a place where friends stand by your side to encourage you & to tell you that they love you and are proud of you.
Please continue to pray...we leave in three days & I still need to learn to drive stick-shift!