So here is what I am doing today: today I am planning a trip to Chicago with my 6 year old, a trip we cannot afford, a trip that has great potential to leave us totally at the mercy of the hospitality of friends and strangers, a trip that totally hinges on the generosity and hospitality of family, and I couldn’t be more excited about my first fling with Providentialism.
That’s a lie. I’m terrified. We’ve all had back-to-school colds for weeks, my throat is scratchy and my head is fuzzy, I’m 24 weeks pregnant, and I’ve never been to Chicago before. I’m scared like a little kid whose Mommy just threw her in the lap of bearded guy in a bright red suit.
But we’re going, because Charlotte’s godmother is making her first profession of vows, and Charlotte is desperate — absolutely desperate — to see her godmother “marry Jesus”.
When we got the invitation, I told Charlotte there was no way we could go. The plane tickets, the hotel — there was just no way. Then she cried for three hours, and I said, “Jesus, please, please find a way to help us get her there.”
Lo and behold, my aunt had saved some extra standby passes for us that we didn’t end up using this summer, because we drove to Texas. My mom sent me 2 of them, and then my in-laws said they could get a hotel room with an extra bed, so Charlotte and I would have a place to stay.
The very last piece of the puzzle was the trickiest, of course — flying standby. The earliest flight out on Friday has plenty of seats, but the flights on Sunday look terrible. This is a problem, because my in-laws leave on Sunday, and with them goes our hotel room. I figured that among my facebook friends, maybe one would live in Chicago and have a couch we could stay on and not be a crazy axe-murderer, but it was a little bit of a completely terrifying prospect. Then, because apparently Jesus cannot stand to see Charlotte cry any more than I can, my best friend’s mom reminded me that, duh Calah, they live in Chicago and would love to have us stay there.And so, in the wee hours of Friday morning, we shall travel into the arms of Fate. It seems like it will actually work out fine, which is of course filling me with blank terror and utter certainty that everything will fall spectacularly apart and Charlotte and I will wind up in some seedy alleyway in some unnamed urban environment, our only hope to walk all the way back to Florida before I go into labor in January.
And this is probably at least part of the reason why this trip is coming together in the first place. I’m always terrified of ludicrously worst-case scenarios, and I’m pretty sure that they’re going to happen. Not like reasonable fears, like “oh maybe we’ll have to be at the airport for a few hours if we miss several flights, or we might be stuck in Chicago an extra day, or I might get some sciatic pain from sitting on the plane and have to get up and walk around”, but totally insane fears, like, “maybe our flight will be hijacked and everyone else will be too afraid to stop the hijackers so I will have to do it single-handedly, with only a high-heeled shoe and my uterus, but then after I take out the hijackers no one else will be able to fly the plane and we will still crash and die in a burning fireball of narrative irony*”. Yes, this is partially because I am a little crazy, but it’s mostly because I suck at trusting God. Usually I don’t even try, I’m just like, “yes, God, I will trust you and take this leap. But first, I need you to put a giant mattress at the bottom, and lemme just push the Ogre off first to test the safety specs”.
But this time, there’s a little 6-year-old who is depending on me to trust God, and not freak out, and get her to her godmother. So I will face my fears, take some Robitussin and my rosary, and get on the plane with only hazy plans for when and how we’ll be getting back home.
And if God lets me down and our plane gets hijacked, I’m totally blogging about it. After I McGyver my way into control of the plane, but before I crash it like an idiot.
*Yes, this is a documented fear that I faced at 4 am last night. Please note that even in my worst fears, I like to imagine myself the hero before dying horribly. Because, why not?