Wednesday, June 22, 2011


As many times as I've found myself stranded on the side of the road, I really should have a tag just for those posts.

Or maybe, a whole blog dedicated to them. Something along the lines of “Unexpected pit stops on the highway of life.”

Yesterday morning, I was driving to work with Anna Marie in tow, and as I got to the last exit in our county my car started making a horrible, very bad, no good noise.

Thankfully, I had time to get off at that exit, because there was about eight miles of open highway (and a long bridge with no shoulder) between me and the next acceptable stop.

Even Anna Marie could tell something was wrong, as I got off the exit ramp and turned to go to the gas station on the other side of the highway.

Thankfully, I was able to make it to the station. I haven't always been so fortunate.

I've been stuck in many, many places in my life. On the sides of roads, at rest areas, and once, when I was engaged, Jason and I spent several hours at a Walmart in Alabama waiting on my parents.

Not the most fun I've ever had, let me assure you.

Yesterday was a sale day at the auction where Jason runs the cafeteria, and I knew he couldn't leave the kitchen. I called my dad, who said he was already almost to the auction – half an hour away. He said he'd drop my mom off and come down to see about us.

Judging by prior experience, I was just sure it was the transmission. It's not like it would be the first time I'd had a transmission go out on me while driving down the interstate (or while entering a shopping center parking lot, for that matter.) I called Jason to apprise him of the situation, trying to stay brave and positive (and not feeling like I was doing a particularly good job at either.)

Thankfully, I was able to go inside the gas station and use the “facilities” (because I've had to go in the great outdoors on previous “unscheduled” stops), get Anna Marie the snack she was asking for (because I had the funds to do so) and let the cashier know why my car might be parked outside for a little while longer than most customers.

I sent a text to our Senior Associate Pastor to let him know I'd be a wee bit late. He called me back to ask if he needed to come see about us, and thankfully I was able to tell him we were fine.

Thankfully, the sun was shining, and Anna Marie was occupied with her Cheeze-its and Nintendo DS, and we passed the time until my dad arrived. I have had to come up with ways to entertain her myself on these “adventures,” so I was most appreciative of her handheld video games.

Jason informed me that our new auto insurance included roadside assistance, so I called to have a wrecker sent to tow the car back home.

Thankfully, when my dad arrived, he diagnosed the problem as “busted exhaust pipe” and not “transmission,” which is a whole dilly of a lot easier and cheaper to fix. He did advise me not to drive the car until it was fixed, so as not to asphyxiate myself or my passengers.

The nice lady at the insurance company called back to say a wrecker would be two hours in coming. “You don't have to be with the vehicle, you can just leave the keys inside,” she said.

“Lady, this station isn't known as the 'Stop and Rob' around here for nothing,” I thought. But what I actually said was, “Well, I live in the woods, and my house is hard to find. My dad says we can drive it home since it's only about 10 miles, so that's what we're going to do. But thanks anyway!”

We removed our valuables, locked the car, prayed over it, and headed to the rest of our day.

After work, Jason came by to pick me up and we met my parents for dinner. (Thankfully, my mom was well stocked with buy one, get one free coupons!) She, Anna Marie, and I stopped for Baskin Robbins kiddie cones, while my dad and Jason headed to pick up my car.

He called me a little while later, laughing.

“I don't know what you're complaining about. People pay a lot of money to have their cars sound like this.”

Haha, dear. Very funny. For one, I don't want my car to sound like I have a glass-pack muffler. For another, yeah, asphyxiation. THAT.

Thankfully, I do have another vehicle to drive while we get this all sorted out, which has not always been the case.

As I travel this highway of life, I know there will be unexpected stops along the way. Not only do I have a responsibility before God to keep a right attitude, I also have a little passenger along for the ride who is watching everything I do, every reaction I have, and those lessons will color how she reacts when her own life runs into the inevitable speed bump or two.

Thankfully, my car was safe, we were safe, and I was able to have some hope before I ever got into the van with my dad.

Thanking God daily for every little thankfully He helps us find in the midst of our trials...

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