Most of the time things run pretty smooth. While there is the occasional hiccup, our daily life usually plays out the way we expect. Being very spiritual people we always try to thank God for making our life “uneventful” in that way and view it as a blessing. In the same vein, we also always pray for safety and a safe arrival on any trips that we take, even though we’ve never really run into any major problems before.
This Christmas, however, we had a much different experience.
I’ll spare you some of the extra details and just say that coming home from Christmas in Utah (with Clark’s family) our car died out in the middle of nowhere in Nevada. Like, it needed a whole new engine and we no longer have it. Kind of my biggest fear whenever we take a road trip out that way. We were a little shocked that this had actually happened but tried to maintain our composure as we figured out what we were going to do. At some point a department of transportation worker finally drove by and took Clark to find cell reception and I was left alone with the kids in the car. I’ll admit, my first thought was, jokingly, “Well, I guess that’s the last time I’m the one who says the prayer before we leave on a trip.” I know that it’s unrealistic to believe that nothing bad will ever happen to us, but this seemed like a little much.
The day went on and my stress level rose but I focused really hard on staying calm and not letting the situation make me angry or (too) overwhelmed or snap at Clark and the kids. After all, it wasn’t their fault and it certainly wouldn’t help the situation. Through out the day I think this was the key to helping me see something really important.
I forget exactly when, but at some point I remember thinking “We are so lucky that we only had to wait about 10 minutes before someone came by to help us call a tow truck.” The thought was mostly pushed aside in my stress but as the day went on these thoughts came through clearer and clearer….
I am so glad I made sure to pack extra blankets and food in the car (I think it’s common knowledge that you should if you’re driving anywhere cold). We’re so lucky the car broke down so close to Wendover. I’m so grateful we have emergency roadside assistance for situations like this. How great that Wendover is just big enough to have a rental car to get us back to Salt Lake. How amazing that (the day after Christmas) there are tickets on a late evening flight home (even if they were ridiculously expensive). How helpful that my parents were willing to help with the plane tickets. How nice of Clark’s family to be willing to spend some of their vacation to drive our rental car back to Wendover the next day, and also to lend us suitcases so we could get the contents of our car home on the plane with us. How great that the lady at the airport didn’t charge us for Miles plane ticket even though we didn’t have his birth certificate to prove he is under 2. How awesome that we were flying Southwest and we got to check all 7 of our bags plus 2 car seats for free. How fortunate that the TSA agent in the security line kept telling us to wait just a minute more since he knew a new line was about to open up and we got to be the first ones through. How nice that as a result, just as we got our shoes and coats back on we heard the final boarding call for our flight and after running through the terminal barely made our flight. How lucky that there was a seat left in the first row of the plane with the two nicest people in the world who didn’t care that a crazy looking mom with a baby strapped to her chest came huffing and puffing to sit in between them. Nor did they seem to care that in our rush to make the plane I literally didn’t have time to change Miles, who had about 3 inches of (very fragrant) poop up the back of his shirt and I had to wait until we were up in the air cruising safely to put on a fresh diaper. How great that our layover was long enough to actually sit and eat something and let the kids roam for a few minutes between flights. How wonderful that about 12 hours after our car died our friend was willing to pick us up at the airport near midnight and, just as wonderfully, this friend had a van already equipped with the right sized car seats so we didn’t have to spend extra time hooking ours up when we got there. And I think most importantly of all, how absolutely, completely glorious that our kids were happy throughout this whole experience. I mean, they were literally angels. Other than some fussing from Miles that he was stuck in his car seat for a bit too long they were happy and calm. Lily didn’t run away at the airport. They both flew very happily. Miles didn’t care about his exploding diaper. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the day if my kids were a mess.
Obviously, we didn’t make it home without incident like we asked for. Even so, by trying to stay calm I was able to see how very blessed we were throughout the day. It was a day for the record books, that’s for sure, but so many things worked out just right. So many things could have been slightly different and dramatically altered our day in a horrible way. Even though our car died we made it home safely.
It’s a double edged sword. You always hope that nothing bad will happen to you. Unfortunately if you never go through trials it’s a lot harder to see just how much the Lord takes care of you. Like me, you do have to actively look for the positive during these trials or you’ll surely miss it. Most of the time that is a very hard thing to do, but if you can manage to do so it can change everything.
It’s amazing what a difference a change of perspective can make.