Wow, it has been a long time. I would apologize and make empty promises about posting more, but if age has taught me anything about myself it is that I am doing the best I can, so I shouldn’t apologize for that, and I may or may not post again…ever. So if you have stumbled upon this, soak it up.
I have recently taken a break from Facebook for a while – at least from posting. I am not sure why except that I noticed that I was starting to think in Facebook posts about everything that happened to me. All of a sudden it hit me how egocentric I have become in the Facebook era – using that as a forum to whine about my circumstances and then seeking feedback from that, as if my self-worth was indistinguishable from my Facebook page.
Of course, just after I made this decision, I had an experience that tested my resolve. Staying true to my commitment caused me to think more deeply about the event and draw some lessons from it. These things are best shared on a blog, so here I sit. This is not to whine nor complain, but to share and hopefully encourage anyone bored enough to be reading past this point.
We went to St. Louis for Ashley’s birthday, and had a great experience on Friday night. We stayed at a hotel downtown which offered free dinner (if you consider a potato and hot dog and nacho bar dinner – which we did) and was within walking distance of the Arch. We took the kids swimming and then walked down to see the Arch up close. The next morning we slept in, ate breakfast, and took off to the Zoo. When we got there we rented a stroller and took off. Pretty soon we noticed that Will was not feeling well and when we picked him up he felt very warm. We went to the first aid station and found that he had a high fever and were advised to head home. We got him some overpriced medicine at the gift shop and gave it to him while we stopped to eat lunch. Will fell asleep, so I sat with him while Ashley and Hannah went to see a few more things. Will woke up and seemed to feel better, so we went to see the penguin exhibit, then met the girls and left.
The ride home was going fairly well. Will seemed better and was arguing with his sister. We made a couple of stops, and finally decided it was time to eat dinner. We pulled off to get McDonalds, and while waiting in the drive-through Will proceeded to…um…lose his lunch. We got out of line, parked the car, and started to clean him/us/the van up. I won’t go into detail, but I will tell you that it wasn’t fun or easy. An hour later we decided to try our luck and get back on the road.
About 20 miles later we got to a decent sized town and stopped again. This time it was to get gas and an air freshener. I won’t say which was the more important to us. As we pulled off the Interstate we heard a noise. You know the one. The noise that you think is a flat tire but you know it isn’t because you don’t want it to be, but when you get out and look you see that indeed it is a flat tire. We pulled into a truck stop to inspect the damage. Across the street was a Wal-Mart, and a quick call (thank you Google for iPhone) informed us that their tire center closed at 8:00. It was 7:55.
I won’t bore you with the sequence of events (flat spare, no comparable tires at the truck stop), but we eventually decided to stay overnight at a hotel around the corner. The hotel had a laundry facility (which we may have ruined) and a clean room, so it met our needs. We got cleaned up, got our tire fixed the next morning and made it home without incident.
It was tempting during this ordeal to feel sorry for ourselves or get overwhelmed with our misfortune. Instead, we were able to mainatain an attitude of thankfulness throughout. We were fortunate to be at McDonalds when Will got sick. We were more than fortunate to be at an exit in a town with a Wal-Mart and hotels when our tire blew instead of on a deserted stretch of Interstate with cornfields for miles with our flat spare. While it was not uneventful, it was managable and merely an inconvenience. It is simplistic to say “It could have been worse,” but that simple truth became our mantra.
As I work with families through the adoption process and experience life myself, I have often thought about the concept of a journey to best describe life. We make decisions about the direction we are headed and how that trip will go, but inevitably things happen that we don’t expect. Sometimes these things can be good, but it seems that more often they can be bad. It is during these times we feel that our entire journey is at risk, and we can react negatively to these things. I won’t get into a discussion here about what God is or is not responsible for, because I don’t pretend to know. What I do know is that no matter what happens to me on my journey, God is with me all the way. He may not have caused my flat tire, but He was there when I fixed it. He may or may not cause me to suffer or struggle or deal with difficult situations, but He will walk with me through those times. He may not even be specifically responsible for the great things that occur, but I know that He is there rejoicing with me when they do.
I don’t know why exactly I was able to maintain a proper perspective during our adventure, but I do pray that I am able to keep it when things happen in my life that are beyond my control.