“We must meet Him as Mary’s child, the carpenter’s son, the Nazarene. Then, in this encounter, when our eyes are open and our hearts are pure, we can come to see ‘greater things.'”
~Thomas Hopko, The Winter Pascha~

The last time I went to renew my driver’s license I had driven with an expired license for close to two years. It was just one of those things I didn’t get to, or didn’t see the value of, or didn’t want to take time out of my day for. I didn’t want to go by myself. Josh and the kids dropped me off at the DMV then spent three hours going out to lunch at Applebees and walking around a strip mall.

I was telling all this to my Dad this morning. I’d called him on the way home from the DMV, after I stood in line for a half-hour before I finally gave up and gave in to the discomfort of being surrounded by unhappy strangers. While standing in line I’d looked up the process for renewing your license in the state of Illinois. They website said there’s a letter that comes in the mail that has a PIN number on it. You’re supposed to bring your letter with you when you come in, which I didn’t have so I left.

I was trying to be responsible, I told him. Trying to be a better person and do what I was supposed to do and it wasn’t enough. I should’ve done this three months ago, not the day before the thing expires, not when I’ve been up since 2:00 AM unable to sleep because I’m thinking about all the things that need to get done. I cried to my husband at 2:30, and again at 5:30 after I’d gone out to the living room to work on my paper. He listened while for ten minutes I lamented the utter misery and emptiness of the human condition.

My Dad said, “Well, going the day before was improvement, it was growth.” I didn’t wait two years this time, and when I thought about it more I supposed he was right. I dug around in the counter’s pile of mail, and there was a letter with my name on it from the Secretary of State. I was able to renew my license online with no problems. The weight and the picture will be outdated, but that is a small price to pay for not having to go back to the DMV and not driving around as a non-law-abiding citizen. I texted him and said next time my growth will be just renewing online first.

“Bless us O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we receive from Thy bounty…” I woke up to the sound of Dad and the kids sitting around the table and saying the evening meal prayer. During supper the topic of the license came up. Josh told the story of how he’d gotten pulled over on the way down to Altamont for a chapel visit. The officer had run his license plate and saw it had an expired license associated with the vehicle. He said he came home that day and said I needed to go in and get that done. The kids remembered him telling that story before. I hadn’t remembered it at all.

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