Searing heat swirled in a whirling mass, engulfing my soaking body like an overzealous sauna even the devil couldn’t handle. Looking into the mirror, penny-sized droplets of perspiration trickled down my face. Choking from the intensity, I was sure I was about to die.
It started as a typical Wednesday morning in July. Not wanting to miss a minute of our precious time together, I rode along with my daughter, Michelle, to her various business appointments in Los Angeles.
“Mom, are you sure you’re going to be OK?” my sweet child asked, parking the car. “You can come in with me.”
“Yeah, honey,” I responded confidently. “I have calls to make. Just leave the window open.”
“So, you’ll watch my purse?”
As I tipped an affirmative nod in her direction, she closed the door, aimed her key in my direction and jaunted off.
At first, a cool breeze tickled my head and lazily danced with my hair. But 15 minutes later, I found myself wondering how much longer she was going to take. The Southern California sun was now blazing directly overhead, turning the car’s interior into a firebox.
“Man, I’m getting hot,” I stewed. “Maybe I should get out.”
Just 4 feet away, a bright forest of multicolored impatiens flourished in the cool shade of the towering building. Flipping the button to release the lock, I recalled something about a purse and Michelle pointing her key at the car. Sure she’d armed it, I knew a horrendous sound would blare if I opened the door, so I changed my mind.
“Oh, God! Now what do I do?” I cried, liquefying further into a puddle of profuse sweat.
Fifteen minutes became 30, then 45. Thoughts of being incinerated slapped me silly as I poured bottled water down the front of my dress and shoulders. No sooner did it hit my skin than it evaporated into the sweltering air.
Believing I’d go completely loony if I didn’t do something quickly, I pulled my upper body through the window, but the high-noon temperature was just as hot outside as it was in. Sliding back in, the feeling of entrapment terrified me. Just as I was about to have a panic attack, I noticed Michelle casually exiting the building.
“Hurry!” I screamed. “Unlock the door. I can’t stand it any longer.”
Now, I’ve been told I’m crazy at times, but the look on her face said I was certifiable.
“What’s the matter?” she yelled, running to let me out. Tumbling first into the gutter, I quickly ran for shade.
“Mom, the car was unlocked this whole time!” she giggled.
“What? But I saw you lock it,” I yelped, horrified.
Bursting into laughter, she wiped the drenched wisps of hair out of my eyes, and said, “I was unlocking it. I thought you might want to walk around.”
Driving away with the air conditioner blasting my face, I thought about all the times I’ve allowed myself to get trapped either emotionally or physically just because I didn’t want to bother someone. Worrying about my effect on another has a debilitating way of crippling my decisions, thus blocking me from reaching my highest potential. A need for change was overdue. While I can’t control what others may think, I can be true to myself.
To reach my divine destiny, I have to be authentic to my God-given wings. It’s possible some nerves may be wrangled with the way I flutter, but if I can soar among the flowers of life’s beautiful garden, in and out of the shade, then it’s well worth it.