If you say you’ve never had to make an emergency bathroom break, I think you’re probably lying.
Tonight, leaving a service at church and on my way to dinner, I called my mom and asked if I could swing by and use the restroom before running right back out the door. She agreed.
I found myself making way to the guest bathroom, late enough in the evening even in our new savings of daylight time for it to be dark outside. Down the steps into the library and around the corner into the guest bedroom, I remembered while walking that there are no lights on the ceiling, so there were no switches to turn on to light the path.
As much as has changed in the last ten years that I have not lived in that home, I found myself walking surely while completely in the dark. The house has changed, my parents have changed, and I no doubt have changed. But in a moment of emergency, I walked and maneuvered out of habit and memory. I made my way down steps and around furniture and corners completely in dark, hands not even out feeling for what I already knew was there.
When turning into the bathroom, I reached my hand around the corner and onto the wall, thoughtlessly, immediately touching the dimmer switch as I have hundreds of times before. The light came on. Emergency over. On my way to dinner.
Driving to dinner it occurred to me that in those moments where we face emergencies and uncertainties, we know exactly what to do. We do it surely even though we often find ourselves completely in the dark. We take the steps we remember taking when we could see what we were doing, and somehow, by the ridiculous grace of God, those same steps work when we can’t see at all what we are doing. We walk and maneuver out of habit and memory, without even stretching out our hands to see if we know where we are going.
And we make it, finally, to the dinner table after all is said and done with. And were it not for the habits from easier times, times when we could see clearly and weren’t in a rush, the habits which have been buried deep inside of us somewhere, we would have been stranded in the dark.