My husband and I drove through the desert back towards home.
“Blast!” I said, “I left my rings in your dad’s car!”**
The day before we had been golfing, and Andy told me that it is easier to golf with no rings, so I left them in the side compartment of the back seat. As a first-time golfer, I was so terrible that I could have been wearing 15 rings on each hand and couldn’t have done much worse, but I suppose I didn’t need any extra handicaps.
Golfing was lots of fun, but I forgot my rings on the way back to our vacation condo. And I forgot that night. And the next morning. And the next afternoon.
Not till we were 20 minutes away did I realize that my wedding and engagement rings were still sitting in that backseat side pocket.
But no big deal. I called Andy’s dad, told him where they were, and asked him to bring them when they came for a visit in a few days.
But then, a few minutes later, I realized that my purse was not by my feet.
“Did you grab my purse?” I asked Andy, who was in charge of packing the car while I was in charge of cleaning up dinner.
“Uhhh...no,” he said. “I didn’t even think about it.”
“I didn’t either,” I said. And then my face turned deep red. “Oh no.”
Forgetting my purse had become something of a habit with me. I’d forgotten it at Andy’s parents house a few months before, and Andy’s mom drove 40 minutes to meet Andy and hand it off. The week prior I had left it at a friend’s house. A few days before that I had left it at my pastor’s house when we had been there for lunch. And of course I had just left my wedding rings in a car.
This final time was the last straw. I felt intensely ashamed. Ashamed that I wasn’t enough of an adult to keep track of my stuff. Ashamed that I clearly wasn’t responsible. Ashamed that now we were going to have to drive an extra 40 minutes to retrieve it so I would have my keys and wallet.
Sometimes I suspect that I am more ashamed of situations like this than I am of actual sins that hurt people. Sure, I’m going to sin, and then I will repent and ask for forgiveness, but can I at least act like an adult and look like I have it all together while I do it? Is that so much to ask?
So I called Andy’s dad back to tell him that I ALSO forgot my purse, so we would be coming back to retrieve the purse and the rings. And of course my in-laws were cool about it. No big deal. The only shame that existed was in my head.
When I go through these trials (I also went through a phase where I locked my keys in the car while it was running. Multiple times. For this a man mocked me in an Ohio rest-stop parking lot. It built character) I am reminded that I am very fallible. I don’t have it all together, and I’ll save a lot of time if I just accept that now. That frees me up to be grateful for the people who bear with my foolish mistakes (thank you Mom and Dad Smith!), while of course continuing to work on being more aware of my purse’s location. And then my shame can be properly directed towards actual sins instead of mishaps that only bruise my pride. Everyone wins!
**Yes, I swear like Amy March.