12 May 2014

Delays in the Journey

I have a Motto:    

If you don't do something

 at least twice, 
it just isn't any fun.

You can interpret that any way you wish, 
but in my context,
 I say this when I am having difficulty doing something and have to do it over....

 or I missed my road and must drive to the next exit and turn around.  
In short, 
it's a way to convince myself
 not to have a melt down and to stay calm.  

Yeah, I don't really buy into 
the fun part of it either, 
but you gotta try, right?

I recently took a 7.5 hour road trip that ended up taking around 9.5-10 hours......

and then eleven days later took that same trip in reverse that took....
oh....I dunno....
maybe longer.

Vans have these things called engines. 
 They use stuff called oil.  
Around every 3-5,000 miles 
the oil should be changed. 

Unless you are really busy driving long distances and sharing your van with your daughter 
and the 3 -month oil change window
 has time left on it....

and you figure you will get to it....
and then you just don't get to it....
and it's more like 6,000 miles now 
and another daughter, who is 500 miles away 
is ready to give birth.  

Then you think, I need to get that oil changed....and then you don't,
 because it is 6am and you've had a phone call informing you that your daughter
 is headed to the hospital.

About 3 hours from home, 
the dreaded oil light blinks on. 
pull off....
find a place and get the oil changed.  
Could be low.  
It's not the change-your-oil-reminder light. 
My van doesn't have that. 
It's the you-will-be-sorry-you-didn't-do this- sooner  light. 

 So I backtracked to the last town and found a place to get the oil changed.  
They checked other stuff and gave me a heads up on money I will need to spend in the future.  Thoughtful of them, don't you think?  

Anyway, no terrible things were 
happening in the oil-thingie
 and I was on my way about 40 minutes later.  
Not too bad.  

I wasn't trying to reach the hospital in a hurry by this point, because my daughter is efficient and birthed her baby before my oil light even came on the first time. 
Yes, the first time. 

 I drove down the road a bit and the dreaded 
oil light came on. 
So I called the oil-change-place and they called one in the next town.  
My van was lifted up and checked out 
and nothing was determined to be
 loose, leaking or messed up....
so, after chatting up the friendly people 
and showing pics of the newest addition
 to the family, 
I took off again, 

ignoring the light and 
watching the gauges, 
according to the oil-change-place-people,
 was the more important thing to do.

On I went to my destination....
and about 11 days later, I drove home.  
I made a couple of stops 
(shopping and coffee) 
on my way out of town and then 
found the cheapest gas, about an hour north of where I started, before I ran out of gas ...

....yeah, I forgot that on my way out of town.

At the cheapest-gas-place,
 I altered
my- way- I- pump- gas- routine.

I always do this the same way. 
 Take out credit card. 
Leave door open. 
Swipe card. 
Start gas. 
Put card back in wallet.
 Finish gas. 
Take receipt and leave.  

This time, 
I grabbed my wallet and my cell phone,
 opened the door, 
hopped out hitting the door lock on my way out, shut the door and then started to pump the gas.  
you did not read anything about removing the key from the ignition.

Oh yes, I did.........sigh.    

I prayed.   Yes, I remembered to do that....

then I walked around to all the doors and windows trying to open them.....

that was when I decided that my only alternative was to get someone to break into my van. 

 The cheap- gas- place attendant didn't want to try it.....his buddy who is a locksmith couldn't do it because his truck was in the shop.
 So, I decided I'd have to spend money.  

After two tries to get someone to open my lock without costing me a mint,
 I remembered that I have auto insurance with emergency road assistance.  
I called them.  
They sent someone. 

 It took an hour. 
 I hung out in the cheap-gas-place eating 
beef jerky and potato chips 
and watched my daughter run her 
Special Olympic 50 meter dash 
on video on my iPhone.  

You know..... it was really a good thing that I unconsciously took my wallet and my phone since I  unconsciously locked my keys in my car.

These, though bothersome, are not the delays I mean.  

Yes, in the past they would have done me in...... but not now.

The newest addition to the Richardson family tree, arrived on the last day of April 2014, 
in the form of a 9 lb. 2 oz. bundle of
 dark-haired-dimpled maleness. 
 He is the sixth of his kind 
to my husband and me. 

These two have joined us since my last post. 
She is the only girl child in a brood of boys; destined to rule future backyard romps
 at Grampa and Grammie's house 
as presiding
 Queen of the Cousins.

 This little guy looking out the window, was featured in my previous post,
Eye Trouble.    
His cousin on the right 
acquired a new baby brother last fall. 

And B, first of his kind is growing up......

These grandchildren are not the 
delays in my journey. 
But, rather,
 lovely rest stops along the way.

The delays of which I speak are the ones that make it difficult to continue.  

Those that blindside you
 or lure you
 or fool you 
or just knock your legs 
right out 
from under you.  

They involve the
 and the spiritual
 all mixed in a jumble. 

 The ones where you know
 you must be strong 
and quick about it,
 and get back up
 and keep on walking. 

The ones where you
 don't want to walk anymore.  

The ones where you can't...

Delays are usually clever enough 

to cause you to feel lost for a long while. 

They make you want to 

choose a different, smoother road.... 
and a more 
(or possibly less) 
interesting path.  

They are as common 

as forgotten keys in ignitions and
 as unique as grandchildren. 

But they are still delays.  

And they are, 

I think, 
ordained by God.  

...pretending that they are not troublesome 
will not help...

...pretending that they are lots of fun is worse...

...pretending that they don't hit others this hard 
is not helpful...

...pretending that God cannot see you, lost deep in the forest, is not going to get you out...

A delay means you have stopped. 

There is a reason you have stopped. 

You need to remember that it is okay
 to stay there 
until someone comes along
 that narrow path
 that has turned steeply downward
 you can go along for awhile.

Because, we all need encouragement.  

We all need rest. 

We all need time to heal. 

Time to remember.
And to decide.

That narrow road is sometimes 
nothing more that a barely seen path 
through tangled underbrush. 
But, do not be afraid

Jesus has already cut the trail through the wilderness.  He has His people ahead of us and behind us on the path. 

Others have put in wide,
 well-travelled lanes that fork 
off from our path....usually at the very places where it is hard to see which way to go.  

Sometimes we fool ourselves,
 and think that we have finally, after all this time, got to a level place where the narrow path has widened just a tiny bit again.

But soon, we see that we have wandered off that narrow, scary, difficult path
 we were made to follow.
And we decide.  

As a Christ-follower, 
if you stumble off the path, 
do you always know it right away?

 When you realize it, 
do you ever struggle with wanting
 to go back
 to that hard place where 
thorns and bracken grab at you? 

Are you sitting there saying, 
"yes!" and "absolutely not!" ?

Alas... for me, I do not always know it. 

I don't always want to go back...
even though I am unhappy. 
Make no mistake, 
a true believer will always be unhappy 
inside the secret places of the soul 
when he is off the path.

But, what if you are still on the path and you just don't think you can see it anymore?

What if the forest is dense 
and the gloominess is barely letting the light in?  

Happiness is not a trustworthy path-indicator. 

Happiness is not the promise. 

Joy is the promise. 

Joy keeps walking...crawling...
maybe not quickly....
maybe not smiling on the outside. 
But determined. 
Listening to the Shepherd ahead on the path, calling...
urging forward...
promising never to leave you alone.  

The Word of God is a light for your path.  

And if you are in a place where you just.....can't.....go.....on.....?

Say so.  
Lie Down.  

Don't try to manufacture the churchy,
 spiritual attitude you think 
you are supposed to exhibit. 
 Be real.  
Tell the One who made you 
how you are feeling....
what you are thinking....
 what you are doing.  

Because, while He already knows all about it, odds are that you do not.  
We each have a natural talent for 
creating a persona. We do it all the time. 
But, the Lord sees the heart of each person.
 He knows your unnamed fears. 
He died for the sin that causes those fears. 

And yet.....

....the me nobody knows ....is known... and is loved by the Creator of the Universe.

So.... are.... You.



  1. There is so much truth here. There have so many times I have been delayed in whatever purpose I thought I was working towards, and I viewed it as a simple annoyance rather than God ordained. But God is in the delays too, isn't he? And grandchildren are certainly a wonderful blessing to be delayed by! Thank you for sharing. -Abby (stopping by from the Christian Blog Comment Exchange.)

    1. Thank you, Abby! I appreciate you taking the time to stop here.

  2. Just popped in from the CBCE (Christian Blog Comment Exchange) and I love the conclusion you gave... delays or no, we are invited to stop, lie down, and rest in the Lord... "be still and know that I am God"... perfect!
    Great post!

  3. First of all, congrats on the family addition, and secondly for making it out of that mess! I love your line, "the me nobody knows... is known and loved by the Creator of the universe." That is a thought I can rest peacefully in. I'm also joining you from CBCE and look forward to getting to know you better and read more of your work. Thanks for supporting fellow Christians and guide non-Christians to Christ's light and love.

    1. Kristi, Thank you for the opportunity to meet so many other folks and for the opportunity at CBCE. I can't really take credit for "the me nobody knows".....those four words are the title of an old Marilyn McCoo christian album from way back in the late 80's maybe 90. I have never forgot that song or those four words because they spoke to me reminding me that God alone knows that "me".

  4. Just stopping by from CBCE to let you know parts of your story made me laugh and appreciate your obvious sense of humour and ability to draw some deep life lessons from the opportunities that come your way. Thank you for sharing some great insights.

    1. Thank you, Jeannie. Sometimes, it's either laugh or cry...isn't it? Excited to get to know everyone at CBCE.