the heat of the sun soaks into the broken van. stuck there at exit 49 along the Colorado River and the kids aren’t quite sure what to think or say-so they sit there with big eyes and quick obedience. i cry and pray that the tears will stop once the phone does find a signal and i am required to communicate clearly where we are and what we need. i drain the car battery trying to keep the dying phone alive. my phone’s charge lasts long enough to connect with roadside assistance, and there is nothing left to connect with my husband who is all the way back home.
Howard the tow-truck driver is on his way. the kids help me pack up the car and get ready. i tear my favorite pants on the guard-rail. i answer their questions as best i can; -the tow truck is coming-he will get us to the nearest city. some Dear Ones –who were adventuring themselves and aren’t too far away-are coming to help too.
after dumping the van-Howard drops us off at a dairy queen to await our coming help. i breathe deep at the sight of the elementary school across the way. we get our ice cream and walk over to wait.
and i am thankful for the elementary school playground and ice cream. and for Howard who was so very kind. thankful for the exit 49 so i could be off the highway. thankful for the husband on the phone who is so very kind too. thankful for the finding of a hotel-a fancy shmancy hotel-for cheap. the term Travel Mercies is being redefined.
still, here i am
with all these decisions to make. lots and lots of decisions. i have this complex and difficult history with decisions that adds to the struggle. i’ve begun to understand this about me.
i wake in the night to hear her tossing and turning. the thermometer reads 102. she says her throat hurts bad. i’ve nothing to offer for relief and no transportation. i do what i can to make her comfortable, taking her cot and giving her the bed. the boys sleep soundly through it all, it’s all a grand adventure and these detours are nothing to lose sleep over- to them.
i flex and make a new plan for tomorrow;
- pick up rental go to urgent care
- pick up rental
- stop at transmission shop.
- sell car to the junk yard.
- get back on our way? or just go home?
we all decide that continuing on is the wise choice. there are cousins to connect with and a new cousin to meet. the kids have no idea how hard this all is. all these decisions made with limited information and limited sleep. they are good sports and enjoy themselves regardless of what i choose.
the sick one spends her days in bed while the boys and their cousin play in their fort. grandma stays behind, because though my sick one is 14, i won’t let her be sick on her own. we girls, as we’ve been called for years and years, spend rare hours together. the ruts in the road are well worn and try as we might to forge a new path these ruts are deep, compounded by distance and lack of time for tending. i realize this as we have time for talking, brief moments to share from our hearts. i tread lightly-testing the ground as i go to see if it is safe to move forward. sometimes it is and i share deeply. sometimes it isn’t and i hold back. sometimes i forget about the testing and self-editing and realize after the places that cause discomfort for them and for me. there are moments to ponder that these are the ones who have known me the longest….yet, in some ways, hardly know me at all.
my prayers are reduced to groaning. i’m losing my footing and beginning to forget what i know. i’m spending time with family by day and tending to a sick teenager by night. the fog creeps in and my body shifts into survival, physical and spiritual fatigue takes its toll. the One who knows and understands everything, He breaks through the fog and gives strength to keep going and keep loving and keep engaging. to listen and seek to know, without seeking to be known.
“in times like these,” He encourages, “it’s no longer about being in the word every day. it’s about living the word every moment.”
still, despite the personal victory won of remaining engaged, other hopes fade and begin to die out.
i take a risk and share with a friend;
“it’s just hard to see any hope of anything else but this ever.”
“Don’t give up hope. God is big.”
as our travel shifts to the North, my eyes and heart begin to take in hope. those words spoken by a fellow traveler are life giving. the fog lifts if only a little. my eyes catch glimpses of hope in unexpected places. i grab the camera and my pen, because i want to remember both the bigness of my God and the way He speaks.
“I AM your feast, in the presence of enemies...” (via jon foreman/psalm 23)
a tree-growing out of the rock. planted and tended and grown by the Only One who could.
words that press in just the right places:
Oh child, I have searched and known you!
I know when you sit down and when you rise up;
I discern your thoughts from afar.
I search out your path and your lying down and Am acquainted with all your ways.
Even before a word is on your tongue, behold, I the LORD, know it altogether.
I hem you in, behind and before and I lay My Hand upon you.
He is big.
Bask in the hope of His Bigness
Bask in the Wonder of being searched, known, and treasured.
and then, seriously, i’m walking under Mt. Rushmore’s hall of flags and i look up and see this!! It’s Rhode Island’s flag, in case anyone wants to know. the 13th state. Admitted to the Union in 1790
“And this hope is an anchor to our very soul, because He who promised is Faithful.”