03 Jul I just might bend but I won’t break
What storms do you face?
I saddled up my horses to blaze a trail to Grand Rapids on Wednesday. Walked into the airport, smug with my boarding pass in hand, printed at home, only to see the dreaded C word on the departures’ sign. Cancelled.
The airline so helpfully rescheduled me for the same flight 24 hours later. Arriving a day late would not do. I was planning to visit my friend and attend a conference Thursday morning.
I weighed my options and “blinked.” Sometimes a circumstance calls for a blink (Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell). My first child got a good-bye kiss on the forehead and reluctantly accepted my hug. The next got a bear hug and a few tickles, and the last got picked up and squeezed while she cried. My husband bawled his head off (oh wait, no he didn’t).
Then I jumped in a rented Jetta for a cross-country road trip. Twelve hours enduring construction zones and storms, through (literally) the mountains of Pennsylvania, and across the flatness of Ohio up into Michigan.
I was so intent on getting to my friend and to the Speak Up Conference that I pressed on through a situation I would have not thought I could handle. Call me weak, but the most I had ever driven alone at one time was five or six hours. These days, the hubby pilots our van on most journeys. I inhabit the passenger seat and fall asleep whenever there is a lull in the action (um, the whole drive to anywhere).
Once I was resigned to my fate of driving, I psyched myself up for a good trip. Placing my life once again in God’s hands, I trusted the four-wheeled journey was my destiny. I purchased my first of many cups of burnt, bitter coffee and set out to enjoy the drive.
Well into Ohio on a necessary pit stop, I remembered what it was like to live in the Midwest. The expansive sky can accommodate many more aggressiveclouds and storms than in my benign Pennsylvanian sky.
Fear weaseled itself back inside my frazzled brain at that gas station with the onset of ominous weather. I had no Plan B (technically driving instead of flying was Plan B – I had no Plan C) but to press on.
Though the wind churned and rain fell, the signal from a Christian radio station stayed with me for two hours. I chuckled in disbelief as song after song was about withstanding the storms of life.
When I’m feeling all alone
With so far to go
The signs are nowhere on this road
Guiding me home
When the night is closing in
Is falling on my skin
Oh God, will you come close
You light, light, light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me
And I, I, I can’t deny
No I can’t deny that you are right here with me
Life can be heavy, dark, frightening. Paralyzing sometimes when we’re in the midst of difficulties and don’t know if we will make it to the other side to calm.
My anxiety wanted me to pull over and wait out the blinding rain, but the construction zone had encroached upon the shoulder. Since there was no safe place to stop, I had to continue along the highway. Braking or hesitating could have caused a crash. I had no choice, so I kept moving. What else can we do but move forward?
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen,” and it’s still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear your whisper through the rain
“I’m with you”
And as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
“At least this complicated traveling is keeping me from getting sleepy,” I told myself searching for positive hidden in negative, as I leaned forward like a granny clinching the steering wheel hard enough to snap it in half (good thing it was German engineered). Leaning forward put me maybe three inches closer to the windshield, no doubt causing a drastic improvement in visibility.
The dangerous sky above me swirled with tie-dyed shades of black and white. But up ahead, I saw the brightness peeking through. Even though we sometimes experience murky, muddy things, a placid sky waits for us.
Driving 55 in a 70 mph zone was maddening (Sammy Hagar anyone?), especially because I was on the end of my day-long trek and just wanted to get to Cindy’s house! Though I wasn’t going my preferred speed, the important thing was I kept moving.
And I arrived. And I was blessed out of my mind by my friends and hosts, John and Cindy. And the conference gave me another year’s worth of confidence to keep writing.
I’m glad I kept driving and didn’t pull over to cower in the back seat with my hands over my head, pounding frantically on my iPhone screen hoping to reach my husband. (He would have rescued me, by the way.)
This hurt is getting heavy
But I’m not about to cave
Everything is about to change
There’s gonna be brighter days
I just might bend but won’t break
As long as I can see your face
I’ve said enough about the drive with no energy (mine or yours) left to talk about the conference. I will leave you with a photo journey. My youngest, Emma, gave me her kitty’s kitty to keep with me so I wouldn’t miss her too much. (Note: Kitty’s kitty does not look like a kitty. Pretend along with me.)
|It’s all fun and games until the flight gets cancelled.|
|They thoroughly enjoyed waiting at the airport while we figured out what to do next.|
|The thunder rolls.|
|Michigan at last.|
|Can’t beat these accommodations!|
|The best part of waking up.|
|Kitty’s kitty is helping Cindy prepare her message.|
|Cindy’s keynote address: Red Hot Faith|
|Preparing a book proposal.|
|Cindy taught her three guests how to properly use confetti. (Kitty’s kitty was in bed and missed this fun.)|
|While I appreciated all the healthy food at the conference, I was ready for hot grease and a generous dose of salt by the end.|