It had been a long few days – an earlier start than planned due to forecast snow, running hither and yon to see as many people as I could see in the short time I was in town; the usual. I stayed too late with a friend with whom I dearly needed to stay late and got on the road after dark. Within an hour, I was sitting in stopped traffic on the highway, taillights for miles. It was already 8:30, miles and miles and miles and hours to go before I got back to my place. I steeled my mind: I could make it. It would be late and I would be very tired, but I could make it safely.
Still, in the back of my mind, a niggling doubt. What if I fell asleep? What if I had to pull over on a windy, desolate back road on the way? What if someone else fell asleep?
I’d been texting a friend earlier and I looked down to see a reply pop up: “Just come here. Seriously.” Her house was about an hour from where I was currently stuck and halfway to where I was ultimately heading. But my insolence rose up. I could make it. I wanted to sleep in my own bed. I’d be fine. I was always fine.
Yet again, that tiny bit of doubt nagged.
Then the phone rang.
It was my friend, calling to reiterate her invitation, to make it clear that I was truly welcome. I knew that in my heart; she has always welcomed me into her life and home with nary a reservation. It was only my stubbornness or, perhaps more accurately, my difficulty asking for and accepting help that was holding me back. The old me would have declined and then regretted it for the next four hours of nighttime driving in the dark, alone and hypervigilant.
Thankful for the gift my friend offered, I gratefully accepted. I got off the highway as soon as I could and made my weary way to her guest room for night. I continued on my way in the morning, as they set off in search of their Christmas tree, and made it back to town before lunchtime – safe and sound.