Two years ago this October, I got married. I remember getting dressed with my bridesmaids- how they all sat on the ground in front of a full length mirror turned sideways to put on their makeup. I remember the taste of the lingonberry jam my aunt brought as we snacked through the afternoon. I remember Val on the floor writing the "WE DO" on our heart garland, and I remember when I had a small panic attack an hour before the ceremony when I realized I was getting MARRIED and my friend LT rubbed my back and showed me the "What Does the Fox Say" video for the first time to calm me. I remember when one of our little flower girls tried to bring me a dead cockroach she had found and was really excited about, and I remember my grandpa's soft red plaid shirt.
In the midst of all this, my hairdresser Ericka (bless) came to do my hair. On her day off. And she wouldn't let me pay her. As I sat there, still incredibly calm, and she twisted my hair into a pretty chignon bun and tucked in little romantic whispers of baby's breath, I heard her say under her breath, "My car is in the parking lot, let me know if you need a getaway car."
I sat there surprised for a second, then laughed and thanked her, but let her know that I wasn't planning to make a getaway. It struck me afterward what an incredible offer that was though. I don't regret not taking it, obviously, but she offered to do something really unpopular for me. She offered to be the first to enter into the weird mess and big feelings that would be a bride ruining her own wedding. I realized afterwards what a truly selfless offer that was.
It made me think of the people I would drive the getaway car for. Who are those people that I would do something really unpopular for, just to insure their well being? Whose mess and big feelings would I be willing to enter into alone, just to make sure they were OK?
For some, driving the getaway car might mean helping a friend get away from a scary relationship, or being there to support someone while they're battling an addiction. Driving the getaway car could be encouraging a friend to quit that "good job" to go back to school even if it doesn't make sense, and promising to be there for them when things get rough. The thing is, we all need to know that we have someone willing to drive our getaway car, even if we never use it. Because while I was positive that I wanted to marry Robin, it still felt good to know that there was someone parked close by who cared for me a lot.
If you're someone's getaway car driver right now, be encouraged that while what you are doing is hard, it matters. A lot. Driving the getaway car can be life-changing for your passenger.
If you're in the passenger seat right now, give your driver a nice little shoulder squeeze and thank them for being so great. Buy them a slurpee at the next gas station.
If you're idling in the getaway car in the parking lot and you know that your friend needs to get in the car but you see them fighting it, just turn the car off and wait. They see you. And while they may continue doing that destructive thing for a little while, they are feeling the comfort of knowing that you are in that parking lot, that there is a way out, that there is someone who cares.
If you aren't any of those, maybe be thinking about who you would drive the getaway car for, and see if there's any way you can show them a little love right now.
"Like the sacramental use of water and bread and wine, friendship takes what's common in human experience and turns it into something holy." - Eugene Peterson