I haven't written all day, all week. And really, I don't actually want to do it now. I want to watch Sherlock instead. I want to curl up with some tea and good, long show. I want to sink in the bath, warmth spreading from my toes to my forehead. I want to lie in bed and listen for rain. I don't really want to write, but I figure that means the one thing I should be doing right now is writing.
Things are not bad here at all. It's a bit cold, which is nothing to complain about in itself, as it's still a good 30 degrees warmer than most of our friends and family have it back home. The air is damp and our back garden is a clouded swamp in want of sunshine. Our house backs up to the north so in these winter months the sun never rises on the little hydrangea, never peeks into the playbarn. And even though our days are quickly getting longer - eight whole hours now of daylight - dusk brings such a bristle of cold, so quickly, I find it hard to manage another five hours till bedtime.
And really, if it weren't for the dumb car not starting, things would be great. Near perfect.
But last night it doesn't start. On the coldest day, when we need groceries. We could get all mad and angsty about it if it weren't just so frustratingly silly. A car, only fixed - again - last week. And it won't start. And this time it's not my fault! So we do that thing that we must do when there is no family nearby. We reach out for help.
It's probably one of my least favourite things to do: asking for help, trading favours. I like to be independent and, if I were to be totally honest here, a bit lonely. I like to place myself just out of arm's reach of the person closest to me. I want to be able to duck out of a near-hug at any moment. I like the shadows, the fringes. To me, it's safe there, a place I can twirl for ages and if I fall, no one gets hurt.
But, you know, the kids gotta eat. And get to school. And as much as I like to consider myself alone-ish (truly, how can one be totally alone with four other people - AND A DOG - attached to them?), God has made it so clear that He has chosen for me to not be alone. At least not this time, in this season. Maybe it's a part of my one word last year, this making of home, inviting people in. Or maybe it's the build-up for my word this year, to try. To give it a go and see what happens.
Whatever it is, I'm overwhelmed and stunned. I'm grateful and bewildered. We've got a person, or two or three looking out for us. The same as before when I played Roundabout Russian Roulette. No fingers lost their tips this time, no need for panic. We know who to go to. How to ask. We can embrace it and glory in it, oh friend, will you help?
And they will. And I will. We will help each other, I think.
So today the car is still missing. In this damp January air, a year after coming back, a friend carts me and my crew around. The children make it to school on time and I start my day in her car with my coffee and a few good laughs. Matt and I walk the dog to collect the wee lad, share a bag of crisps and a Dr Pepper. It feels like celebration, like communion: Matt and I and Cocoa sharing these small gifts. Knowing we are looked after, we are loved, so happy to love in return.
You know I'll return this favour, anytime, I say to her as she drops off myself and the final two pieces of our family puzzle. She laughs at me and I forget what she said.
We will do this tomorrow. More friends to the rescue. I try to be annoyed at the circumstance, at the fuel pump that threw a wrench in my day. But I'm not. We are blessed with people.
Something worthy of writing about.