Saturday, January 11, 2020

Road Trip

The rusty 2007 Dodge Caravan was fully loaded with the family, luggage and a trailer in tow. As I pulled the vehicle out of the driveway this past holiday season, I couldn’t help but reflect on this same trip that we have taken every year, for the past 20 years.  So many memories have been made on these highways between Little Falls, Minnesota and Dearborn, Michigan.  Dearborn is a suburb of Detroit, and despite my many visits to the Detroit area, I have yet to meet Kid Rock, Eminem or Barry Sanders…maybe next year. 

Throughout the journey I recalled some of the events of the past as we passed by the sections of freeway where they occurred. I watched mile 115 pass and remembered when we nearly rolled the van on I-94 between Tomah and Hixton, Wisconsin (See Blog Post: Solocam 6/22/19).

When we passed by the Belvidere Toll Plaza, I remembered the time in 2004 where I was forced to pull over to the side of the road due to a backside explosion of our, then, zero year old, firstborn daughter.  My wife and I spent the remainder of that trip through Chicago with our heads hanging out the window like a couple of coon hounds, so as to gain some fresh air to breathe.  How bad is it that smog is healthier to breathe than baby methane?  I would have dropped the diaper into a toll plaza coin catcher if Sarah would have allowed me to.  I figured I could either give the 40 cents…or I could give them something really “priceless.” In the end…I was forced to battle the toxic fumes and the dizzy spells until we reached the Michigan border where we could safely discard the defecated bomb.

So many events have occurred on these roads…countless traffic jams…driving through blizzards…stuck in traffic with 94 degree heat and no AC on the Skyway in Chicago…children fighting in the back seats…spilled, sugary beverages…enough potty stops to shake a stick at…pregnant wife vomiting in the car regularly during 12 hour trip.

This year, as we approached the nearby city of St. Cloud, Minnesota, I remembered an event from just the previous year.  We were on the road early that year. The night before, I had finished loading up the suitcases perfectly like you would expect a Tetris addict from the 90’s to do.  The kids had their pillows and blankets…enough that you would think it would have insulated the noise from their fights…though it didn’t.   I made sure we had the dog kennel and his food…his leash…his dog dishes…even his play toy. 

I feel like I am a very “enjoy the journey” type person…but when it comes to road trips…it is all destination…and how good of time we can make on the way. Diapers, traffic, and potty stops are all obstacles toward reaching the end goal in the most efficient way possible.

As we approached the mini Midwest metropolis…Sarah asked…“Where is the dog?”


So much for making good time.

Unbelievable…we had everything…everything…but the dog.  “Do we really have to go back for him?” I asked.

“He will starve to death if we don’t.”

“I know.”

“He will mess all over the carpet.”

“Ok fine…we will go back for him.”

Life is like a road trip.  It is full of obstacles and it is meant to be traversed.  It is much more than just a highway to a destination.  Yet, there exists a destination at the end of it that should motivate us to engage as many people along the way as we can.  It will seem like there are powers that be...obstacles…that are trying to do all they can to prevent us from reaching the destination.  Small bladders, car wrecks and missing dogs being just some of them.

In Acts chapter 4, we find some greater hardships than many of us have yet experienced, though in truth, we may one day encounter.  Two Apostles have just been arrested, Peter and John, and have been accused of doing evil, when in truth they have only done good.  The Lord had just used them to heal a crippled beggar. When faced with these hardships, we find them praying.  Interestingly, they do not pray for ease of journey, nor do they pray for comfort.  Rather, they pray that they will be able to continue on in the journey…that they will be able to continue speaking the truth, even when people are trying hard to shut them up.  They pray that they will have boldness…and strength to never quit.

May you find yourself praying for strength on your journey.  May the Lord grant you the grace to never quit…even under the hardships endured in this world.

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