|What did I learn in 17 hours
on the highway (one direction), an unexpected stay in a hotel room, two
and a half awesome days at my destination and 10 more hours of highway
returning? Well, for one I learned how to drive on hard, packed snow and
ice, of course only after getting stuck in the bank twice. I also learned
how to make the best of a bad situation like being stopped on the highway
for hours at a time: a) jump out of your car and start a snowball
fight or b) put on some songs you know the words to, acting the lyrics
out while lip-syncing dramatically. Either way, you amuse yourself and
the neighboring cars! Okay, those were just the first few things I learned.
The rest of the story goes more like this…
After coming to an abrupt halt around Evansville, Indiana (about five hours after leaving Bolivar, Missouri) and crawling five miles in approximately three hours, my nerves were a little frayed to say the least. And yet it seemed like the trials continued to pour down. The first time we went off the road I was following the car in front of me a little too close (and possibly a little too interested in the conversation I was having.) When I braked as the car in front of me braked, I started to fishtail. After a few twists I hit the brake (don’t ask me why) and we ended up stuck in the deep snow of the right bank, facing the opposite direction. Car after car passed us as my traveling buddy and good friend Brittany and I tried to dig ourselves out.
Finally, a young gentleman slowed down to help us. However, his car also ended up in the bank facing opposite direction simply in an attempt to pull to the side of the road to help us. Thankfully, he was able to drive out of it and after doing so came to our rescue, helping us dig/push/maneuver out of the bank. I think I may have called him a saint as we both put palm to bumper, pushing into biting wind. After finally freeing the car from the deep snow of the bank, we got off the road at the next exit to get gas and our “saint” did the same. I slipped a $20 in his coat pocket with a simple “blessings from the Lord” and a laugh.
Inside the gas station we proceeded to “share the faith” with the young man who we discovered is attending Presbyterian seminary. But what did I learn from that? Well, (besides the driving experience) I’m reminded of Philip and the Eunuch. I’d like to think it was a lesson in taking every chance we‘re given to share our blessings with others whether they be physical, emotional or spiritual.
Now, the second time we got stuck in the bank (the left one this time) I was driving around 25 mph and as tense as a cat on the prowl. The wind changed direction briefly and slowly pushed me over into the left bank where a nice snow drift awaited my tires. Again we were rescued by a young man…only this one had a shovel (note: shovels are good things to have in your trunk) and we were out in much less time. At this point I should inform you that while patience is a virtue, it doesn’t happen to be one of mine. I almost cried I think. I wanted so badly to get to Lexington that night and obviously, it wasn’t going to happen. If anything, patience and tranquility were greatly emphasized lessons on this trip.
Reluctantly we got off on the next exit boasting a hotel, but that one held no vacancies. The next hotel, however, did and we dragged ourselves in (pelted by fiercely blowing hail in process) and settled in the hotel room. My body was tired but my soul was downright weary. Sure, it was just bad weather but there was a still small voice ringing in my ears that I was trying desperately to ignore. I fell asleep that night feeling a little like Jonah and dreamed of a never ending trip to Lexington.
We got up early the next morning, ate some breakfast and checked out of our room only to find my car was very much stuck in the hotel parking lot. For over two hours we tried to dig ourselves out, determined not to waste any more time even if the shoveling did nothing but pass the time. Eventually several men aided us in our efforts and succeeded in getting us out. (Note: sand and kitty litter are also good things to have in your trunk.) Finally, we were back on the highway thanks to the brute strength, gallantry, wisdom and ultimately the kindness of the men that helped us. Talk about a lesson in appreciation for the male gender!
I had prayed the night before that a personal issue that troubled my heart would become clear and just as the stormy gray sky of Wednesday had turned into the stunning azure one of Thursday, God’s voice became clearer. Again, I think of Jonah. As I heeded God’s voice, the clouds in the sky and the muffling of God’s voice disappeared. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not insinuating I control the weather but it was definitely an emphasized parallel. Wednesday evening I felt as if God were really trying to get my attention, and when I started listening Thursday, I got my answer. I’m actually rather happy we didn’t make it before then. God has such good timing. I see that so clearly now.
I learned a great many things over the next
two and a half days at Lexington in addition to my lessons in peace, tranquility,
appreciation and listening to God. I also enjoyed a great deal of inspiration
and fellowship. But it would take books to write about the seminars, the
messages, the praise and worship, not to mention the people that just amazed
me. I will say that the spirit found in the inspiration of it all was the
same; holy and God’s. I’m so grateful for the people that put the Winter
Family Tournament together, for God’s grace and protection that got us
there and His divine intervention that helped me see what I couldn’t see.
I’ve heard it said that “you don’t know what you don’t know” and I agree
wholeheartedly. I think each day now I will strive to be thankful simply
for God who shows us what we can’t see and don’t understand.