A Holiday Road Trip to Remember

Originally published Monday, 09 December 2013.

During a recent family vacation my husband, my four girls, and I found ourselves navigating through the desert.  Literally...

From Texas to California. By Minivan. A 21-hour drive.

Yes, we can be considered mildly insane!

We expected our journey to be long. We knew the scenery would be flat and waterless but ultimately the beauty of our final destination was all that mattered.

The Journey.

We began on a Friday at 4am - actually hours and days before that if you count the endless mounds of laundry that had to be washed, the 6 suitcases that needed to be packed and the cooler full of Capri Suns, grape jelly, cheese and yogurt that needed to be iced down!

Once all of the above “to do’s” were checked off of our list, we loaded the van, pulled out every manner of “i-ness” that we owned (pads, pods and phones) and headed west.

Unexpectedly, about 5 hours into our journey, our vehicle began to shake profusely. Panicked, frustrated and afraid we found the closest repair shop to figure out what had gone wrong. Actually we stopped at a few repair shops after that and here’s what that process looked like:

Shop #1

Discount Tires.

After 2 hours, with a diagnosis and an attempt at a solution. We hit the road. But within moments, the van began to shake profusely, again.

Shop #2

An unnamed repair shop that sat off of the highway.

The nice gentleman test drove the van with us and outlined the possibilities. None of which sounded detrimental so he suggested we drive the few hours to the next largest town and find a dealership.

He assured us that we could make it, so, we took his advice and set back out on our journey.

Shop #3

The Dealership.

They were easily able to assess and diagnose the problem as well as inform us of the cost. However, they also informed us that it would be a few days before they would actually fix the problem. The parts were out of stock. They knew what was wrong but could not meet our needs…yet.

Here are the options they presented us with:

           Option #1- Quick Fix

A parking lot full of brand new options.  We could avoid the work, the wait and the initial cost by abandoning the problem and trading our old for something new and better.   Now, I admit, purchasing a new vehicle would have been a rash decision indeed. But in the midst of the chaos, the frustration and the overall interruption, we found ourselves viewing this quick fix as a feasible choice.

            Option #2-Wasted Time

We could hang out in this unfamiliar and uncomfortable environment for two days until the parts arrived. Basically wasting time and prolonging our arrival.

Option #3-Quitting

We could turn around and return home. Avoiding the journey altogether. The thought of this brought five of us to tears!

            Option #4- Wisdom

We could drive to the next largest town, which was about 5 hours away in our current vehicle - A vehicle that would only drive about 50mph and would shake profusely for the entire drive. This option would be a long and slow process to obtaining a solution; however the dealership in that town had what we needed.

There our family sat in an unknown, dry area of life; miles away from the comfort of our home and what seemed like an eternity from our final destination. We were stuck in the middle, overwhelmed by the unexpected inconveniences that this journey had bought, and we had a choice to make.

We were at a fork in the road.

We could rush the process and pay for it later, we could stall the journey all together and hang out while waiting around for the new parts or we could give up and abandon the trip. However, it appeared that the most uncomfortable option was the wisest. We could choose to simply press through and continue the journey in a vehicle and situation that was less than desirable.

As tempting as the other options were, we decided to press on.

We eased back onto the highway, unsure of our van’s ability and slowly began to creep down the wide-open space. As my husband proceeded with caution, I sat in the passenger’s seat, processing our situation. I watched as others were flying by, comfortably unaffected by our family’s troubles. They were sure to reach their destination hours and possibly days before us and they were doing it with ease. I could not help but to question why these interruptions had to happen to me, my family, our trip.

Just as the “whys” and “woes” began to settle in and take root, I was reminded of Mathew 6:9-13: The Lord’s Prayer.

Particularly vs. 10:

“Your kingdom come, your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.”

As I shifted my attention to God’s Word, peace began to settle in and the decision that seemed difficult at first ended up being the best decision for our family.  Though we arrived 8 hours late and a few hundred dollars short, we were able to repair the van, and make it to and from California.  Our van is running great, and the wise decision cost us a fraction of the potential loss hidden in the other choices.

I will probably never know why we experienced such an inconvenience and delay during this particular trip. But I am committed to allowing God’s will to be done in every area of my life.

As you journey with Christ, often through unfamiliar and deserted areas, you will inevitably face trouble; physically and spiritually.  With each situation there will be multiple solutions to your problem and some more convenient than others. Just remember, choose wisely.