Things were going well, until…

Published 1:41 pm Friday, February 7, 2020

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Sometimes it does the body and mind good to have a change of scenery for a few days, so Gale and I gave it a try last week as we headed out to Little Rock, Arkansas.  But it was more than just a getaway for refreshment.  It was to celebrate with my brother and his wife upon his retirement from the military. 

My only brother is several years younger than I am; we have three sisters and he is the baby of the bunch.  He is the one who remained at home after the rest of us married and starting building our own families, but he finally met and married a young lady who has proved to be a jewel in his life.  A few years after they married, he surprised us all by joining the Air Force.  That was thirty years ago and he recently decided it was time to give it up and begin to enjoy his much deserved retirement.

I was honored that he asked me to give the invocation at the ceremony and I was grateful that everything worked out so that we could make the trip.  We have visited them several times over the years but it had been awhile, so it was nice to drive through the area again. 

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We had a great time and everything went well, but the time to head back south came quickly.  We stayed overnight in north Alabama to relax before we got back to the grind of everyday life.  After a night of rest in the motel, we got back on the road.  Shortly into the trip I noticed that the car jerked a little and lost a lot of power.  After that a flashing light appeared on the instrument panel.  Hoping that it would correct itself shortly, we kept traveling, but with limited speed.  By then I realized that something was wrong and needed attention pretty quickly.  My wife went to work looking on her phone to find the nearest dealership for our make of vehicle; since it is still under warranty I did not want to stop at just any shop.

Our car limped along–at times not able to go over thirty miles per hour–until we finally saw the dealership sign.  With a sense of relief and a hope for a good outcome, we pulled up to the service bay.  It was then that we were greeted by a nice young lady with news that we were not prepared for:  all the technicians were out with the flu and all she had to offer was the oil change guy to check my oil.  I knew that was worthless, for I did that before we left the motel and it was just fine.  Now I was in a dilemma; my problem was not solved and I had possibly been exposed to the sickness that had crippled the shop.  What to do now?  We kept limping down the interstate hoping that we did not get rear ended or arrested for not keeping up with the flow of traffic.

I finally found another dealership that did a temporary fix so we could make it safely back and get the problem permanently repaired.

Gale and I both were feeling a bit sorry for ourselves because our nice ride home had turned into such a disappointing inconvenience and loss of time.  Then as we traveled along we came upon an accident scene with emergency lights in abundance.  The ambulance was still present, and as we drove slowly by we saw the badly crushed vehicle that had apparently rammed into the back of a tractor trailer.  It was then that I was reminded that our troubles were much smaller than the ones of those in the accident.

Sometimes it takes a wakeup call to remind us how truly blessed we are.  The Bible states:  “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth”  (Psalm 121:1, New International Version).