“Destiny guides our fortunes more favorably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is nobel, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth."
"What giants?" Asked Sancho Panza.
"The ones you can see over there," answered his master, "with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long."
"Now look, your grace," said Sancho, "what you see over there aren't giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone."
"Obviously," replied Don Quijote, "you don't know much about adventures.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra,
For most of the week just past, I looked to the absolutely open calendar of Sunday, nothing but worship and rest. Maybe I was holding that a little bit too tight.
She travels with a plastic milk crate strapped to a luggage cart by a web of bungee cords. The box is covered by a well-used blue tarp to protect it, and herself, from the ever-present sun and the occasional rains. Most everything she owns can be found in that package. I saw it parked along the hallway when I walked out of Sunday school and realized that perhaps my afternoon was about to detour from that perch on my couch.
She came into our church about a month ago, maybe a little bit more, looking for help in obtaining a driver's license. I didn't realize that she was homeless that day, but I should have. She's very self-sufficient, and living on the street has been a choice for her. Sort of. She doesn't want to stay at the local shelter, but I don't think that she sees herself as vagabond, either.
She says that she wants to work and she earnestly seeks applications. But it doesn't take much time with her to know that she wrestles with demons, and that somehow, something in her past makes her present not quite right. She wants to get a driver's license though she has no reason to believe that she will own a car. "I believe that when a person has a skill they should keep it up, to be ready when they need it," she told me. Who can argue with that?
I've rarely felt as useless to be of any help as when I am with her. I think I've decided that right now, the best good may be as simple as to treat her with the respect and dignity worthy of one created in His image. She listed off, nearly verbatim from the state manual, the skills she needed to practice, changing lanes, ability to yield to oncoming traffic, acknowledge signage and signals... I have sat in the passenger seat for 6 teens learning to drive, and now this. We drive.
We point north and soon find ourselves in the shadows of the towering turbines twirling. I smile and wonder, are we tilting at windmills too? I give up a quiet afternoon at home for a drive in the country, for a load of laundry cleaned, for a simple meal shared, for a few eccentricities and a little inconvenience. I am still learning about becoming less. I am still learning about adventure, too.