I got a call this morning (from someone who will remain nameless to protect the innocent and someone who doesn’t want to be made fun of WHEW!) on his way to an important appointment and was also running very late and in terrible traffic! They were at a place where you have to merge into a major road and since there is a grammar school very close to this said merge and it was almost time for school to be in session there were no polite parents willing to let one more car into the road in front of them. As we were talking this mystery person told me that he was going to cut across a parking lot to come out in a different place because before he could get out there was a huge truck that was also towing three pieces of construction equipment, so of course no one would let that truck out and there he was stuck behind it! As we were talking he was cutting across the parking lot and noticed that someone had indeed let the truck into the line of traffic so now our driver was ten cars back of the Truck instead of one. He decided to take some more “short-cuts” and when he came out back onto the next main road there was the slow-moving truck with its load of three pieces of construction equipment trailing behind it again several cars in front of him. He worked his way through the traffic and again was the first car behind the infamous truck. He was approaching the road where he would have to make a left turn and was hoping the truck was going to go straight on ahead but as luck would have it, you guessed it, Truck turned on his left turn signal smoothly making the left turn leaving our anxious driver waiting to turn. This story ends with our driver pulling up to the place he needed to be and I am going to leave it to your imagination whether this was also the destination of… the Truck!
I don’t know if you’ll know this reference but what made it funnier to me was that I could imagine my caller as Mr. Bean in one of his insane competitions against someone who had no idea they were competing!
So many times in our lives, more often than not I would say, things just don’t turn out the way “they are supposed to” turn out. There are many turns in our life paths, and sometimes we don’t know the one to follow and we get beat up on the trip. My dad used to tell a little story about a man that went into town on a wagon. His farm was very close to town, close enough that he could have walked but, since he was buying supplies, he took the wagon to bring his purchases home. His dog ran along side of the wagon and ran off into the woods to chase a rabbit, came back and ran off again to investigate something else! There was a little stream and he splashed into it and running back through the dusty field got very muddy! He greeted someone on the street that said, “You must have come a very long way!” “No,” answered the farmer, “why do you say that?” “Because your dog looks like he has been running a long distance, he is so dirty!” “It’s like this” the farmer said, “While I was driving straight, my dog was zigging and zagging! If he’d run along side me instead, he would still be clean!”
I think some of us are like that dog, we start out in life going pretty straight, then this zig and that zag comes along and there we go chasing some pretty rainbow instead of sticking to what we should be doing, ending up in a heap at the end of the trail, dusty and panting hard! If we would follow the Lord as He leads us, we would end up in green pastures by a calm and beautiful lake, with food enough to sustain us!
My cousin shared something with me that made me think of this. A woman who was trying to explain how it was to raise a child with a handicap from birth wrote it. I will paraphrase, by Emily Perl Kinglsey, 1987. It is called “My Trip to Holland”. She says it’s like planning a trip to Italy. You get all the literature that shows you wonderful landmarks you need to see; you get a booklet and learn important phrases to be able to communicate. You can’t wait to see the beauty of old Italy you are totally prepared. Then you get on the airplane with all your newly acquired knowledge of the country you are visiting and hear the attendant say as you are about to begin your flight, “Welcome, enjoy your trip to Holland” HOLLAND, you think, I am not prepared for this, no way. I will have to learn a completely new language, get used to a whole new group of people, nothing will be as I imagined it would be. At first you get off your flight and you are so upset that you are in the wrong country, trying to get used to new surroundings, ideas, language and people, that you don’t notice the beauty of the things around you. It only when you decide to be happy that you are in Holland that you can see that it isn’t disgusting and ugly, but beautiful, full of flowers and warm, understands people.
When I read that, from my cousin Kris’ little Blackberry, while walking through my garage, we both stopped and cried. Kris has a son that had such a severe stroke, at the young age of six months, that at the age of eighteen he has never spoken, has to be fed mostly through a tube in his stomach, and cannot walk on his own. This beautiful young man, totally unable to care for himself, has become the beautiful center of his parent’s lives. Instead of missing all the things that might have been, they are enjoying hearing his squeals of delight at a toy or familiar face, watching Barney, or trying to “sing”. These parents planned for Italy, but got a wonderful trip to Holland. I remind you of Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Whatever you think life holds for you, enjoy where you land, Holland can be beautiful if it is in His plan!
And FYI our Driver made it on time in spite of the Truck, even with his zigging and zagging!