Just when life seems to be humming along and we start to believe in the myth that we’ve got it all under control, a gap opens up in the veil between reality and our perception of our world. I’m starting to get the feeling that God is trying to tell me something lately because, I’ve been spotting the gaps a lot more frequently. It appears that I don’t always get a choice about which direction the road is going to go.
It’s a warm Spring Sunday. By mid-day, the morning breeze has revved up to a 40 mph gust, blowing winter’s waste all over the yard. After planting a tray of purple and yellow pansies and getting an eye-full of vermiculite in the process, thanks to the wind, I head to the potting shed to put away my favorite shovel. I notice as I step over the threshold in my black rubber boots that the shed seems pressurized. An absent window pane on the west wall is letting the gale blow through. I step in, toss my kid-sized shovel into the barrel full of sand, and bend down to pick up the tin pail I use to feed the chickens. Bang! The door slams shut and the shed feels full of pressure again.
I fill the tin pail with ground corn, scratch grain (seeds), and a sprinkling of oyster shells then cross the room to open the potting shed door. It won’t open. The door frame, outside the shed has a swing-latch for a pad lock bolted to the side. The shed door has an eye bolted there to receive the latch. The harsh wind that blew the door shut with such force has caused the latch to engage. I am locked in the shed.
Now it’s Sunday, my family is home, so my first act is to bang on the door and yell, “Hey, somebody help me, I’m locked in the shed.” The wind is still gusting at over 40 mph, no one can hear me. I remember, my oldest son is in his room working on a painting for his senior concentration. My youngest is in the living room watching cartoons and writing an essay on his laptop with his iPod plugged into his ears. I’m pretty sure my husband is in the yard somewhere so I give a little prayer of thanks that it’s not Monday when the kids would be in school, my husband at work and I would be home alone.
I grab the chipped, black ceramic doorknob and rattle the door long and hard enough that a box of seed packets falls off the adjacent shelf and packets scatter all across the floor. “Ok, this is getting me nowhere,” I think to myself. The wind is whipping through the ancient Silver Maples in our yard, and any sound I make will surely get lost in the roar. So I put my fingers to my tongue and make the loudest sound I know how to make. I whistle. Again and again until I’m out of breath I blow a screech across my teeth like I’ve heard my Dad do a million times when he calls his hunting dogs home. I rattle the door a few more times and yell out, “Hey!” until my voice cracks and then I whistle again. It’s clear and piercing and accidentally timed to a lull in the wind. “I hear ya!” my husband hollers from across the drive, “I’m coming!” I rattle the door one more time for good measure and my hero saves the day. I’m free, and he’s laughing at me.
Boy, it’s a good thing for Sara G. who sat next to me in 7th grade during a middle-school volleyball game. She taught me how to whistle through my fingers during that game and I’ve used the skill many times to call kids back from the creek or my husband in for dinner. Little did we know back then, I’d need to whistle for my freedom one day. But apparently, God and my husband have the same sense of humor and I’m not really in control of much at all.