The journey begins
The snowstorm is a day old and a tell-tale bulge of snow sneaks under the wheels as I back the car out of the garage. The menacing winds of last night have calmed and the sun is shining bright making the white snow whiter. I’m off to meet a friend I have never met and who was introduced to me through my friend who has never met the friend I’m off to meet. Well, the point is we are all friends! And more so – sisters in Christ! It’s not surprising when we realise it’s the same Holy Spirit that resides in us all, thus bonding us in true love.
The journey starts off with me reading the printout of well-documented directions to my destination. While the directions mainly consist of words of a foreign language like ‘north’, ‘east’, etc., mercifully they are succeeded by parenthetical translation such as ‘left and ‘right’. This information goes through my brain like ice cubes in a poorly functioning blender. I’m getting a headache and I’m feeling cold. That latter, has more to do with the fact that I haven’t turned on the heating in the car yet. This part at least, is easily remedied.
Instinctively I pull out the amazement called a GPS! Now I’m all set. Ms. Magellan, as my GPS is affectionately called is spelling out loud everything I type in. It would double very well as a toy for young children learning to spell. All typed in and spelled out, we are set to go. I have also managed to get out of the garage and just out of the driveway by now. The seat is warm, I am warm, the car is warm, the sun is bright and I’m all set to enjoy my day off, when, with growing dread, I realise that Ms. Magellan does not share my enthusiasm. Talk about being spaced out! Ms. Magellan definitely does not do justice to the name she carries. She thinks she is in a whole other city. I kindly requested, gently prodded, firmly knocked and violently shook this silliness called a GPS!
“Stay calm”, I told myself. During the next couple of minutes, I gained tremendous insight in-‘how to be fuming mad while staying calm’. Oh and the GPS now lies on the floor of the car. It’s ability to spell out loud remains intact.
After much prayer I decide to drive anyway. Being GPS-less and directionally challenged, this does indeed require much praying. From some remote corner of a dusty old memory, my brain remembers one of the roads in the printout. I am prompted to turn left then right and so I do. Once I get moving, I feel confident and my smile returns. Once again, the seat is warm, I am warm, the car is warm and the sun is shining. Of course, by this time I am well delayed but I don’t let that bother me. At least, no until I saw what lay ahead.
‘No! this has to be a cosmic conspiracy’- cries my emotion. ‘oh, shutup!’ says my logic. The one road that I knew how to get to, or at least the one road that I knew at all, from my cherished printout is blocked today. I see the blue and red lights warning me to stop, telling me to turn and go another way. I want to cry but thankfully logic wins the argument and emotion shuts up, although not without a struggle.
Out comes the amazement called a ‘smart phone’! Now here’s something that lives up to it’s name. This phone doubles as my pro-active day planner, triples as my memory, quadruples as my radio and now quintuples as my navigation guide. It does a whole host of other things but the word-series gets ridiculous beyond ‘quintuples’. And once again, the warmth, the car, the printout, the word-speller-on-the –floor and I are on our way to meet my friend with directions from a phone! I took comfort in the fact that the Lord has promised never to leave me nor forsake me.
I drive and drive and drive and still drive on through wide roads and narrow highways, through side streets and main streets. Through avenues, drives, lanes and circuits, all of which share the same first name. Almost an hour later than the appointed time to arrive at my friend’s place, I haven’t even reached the town that I have to pass through, before I get to the town which she lives just outside of!
Even though the sun is now playing hide and seek with chubby clouds, there is still a bright side to this drive. I pass vast plains of pristine white directly beneath light blue skies. This white expanse is interspersed with small towns that boast of sod farms, brightly lit reindeers, tony’s fish and chips, mama’s fish and chips, plain ol’ fish and chips and some other vendors who have a sign out front promising to see me in spring. I am considering taking them up on their offer in April. There is one store though, that has a rather disturbing sign. It reads ‘We’ve got your lumber’. It feels unjust and I have a strong urge to go inside the store and ask them to return the lumber. The fact that I am driving on a slippery, snow-covered, single lane highway quickly quells the urge and I drive on.
I haven’t yet reached my destination but the sight I’m now blessed with, already makes this trip well worth it. Behold! There stands ‘black beauty’ himself. A blemish-less black stallion strolling in the soft snow. A playful one he is, so sure of himself, walking a fine line between pride and arrogance. His shiny black coat and wavy black mane moving majestically on the still, white snow in all it’s serenity. I long to take it all in but the scenery around me insists on changing as the car traverses the road and the journey progresses.
Many more beautiful white expanses, a few more fish-n-chips vendors and fewer missed roads and adventurous U-turns later, I reach the much-longed-for town of Beaverton! I drive through what I am told is the core of the town and there are a disproportionately large number of cars driving alongside mine, considering the size of the town. There must be a big crowd in that one convenience store or that singular beauty salon and perhaps some overflow into the bank next door.
Almost but not quite
At this time, my navigation guide is telling me to turn in 300m which instantly turns to 60 m and then I see that fearful word ‘re-routing’. Before I know it I am merrily-going-round the tiny little town of Beaverton! Does it seem to you like 300m is much longer in the countryside where it is not punctuated with city blocks and lamp posts? Well it does to me. So now during my second circuit, lagging behind large SUV’s that seem so out-of-place in a quaint little town such as this, I resort to my lightly-used printout. Ah! There it is- that’s what I missed- a very well documented instruction to make a quick left-turn which I did and then a quick right turn which I didn’t. After driving for almost 2 hours, I guess there wasn’t much quickness left in me at this point. Oh well, lesson learned, instruction followed, I drive on past the stares of suspicion offered by the well-meaning townspeople.
No, I haven’t arrived yet. I am now required to leave this lovely little town and go just outside. As ‘just outside’ rolls around, it reveals yet more expansive white plains. It is here, sitting on an ocean of snow, dotted with evergreens and thoroughly confused, that I meet playful Sally. She wants to play catch and wags her tail as she lifts her face to my window. I try to explain to her that I do want to play but I have a journey to complete. Coming up behind Sally is her faithful friend who, unlike, people of the city actually welcomed my interruption of their game of catch with a smile. I ask directions to the address and he responds with my friends’ names and description of their house. Ah, the wonders of small towns and close communities! I am overjoyed, wish them well and am on my merry way yet again. Not much farther up, I come to the train track which I have been repeatedly warned against, so I know I am close, very close. Carefully, the car, it’s warmth, the print-out, the navigation guide, the-speller-on-the-floor and I cross the track successfully and enter the place where the houses are laid out in a row. In fact, we nearly entered the house on the other side of the track, considering how close it was!
You know that feeling when something is so close it’s almost in your grasp and yet it isn’t? That’s how I am feeling right now. Only some houses have numbers! And of course it is a single lane and not a paved road so I get a chance to practice my 3-point turns in 3-inches of snow. Just when I was getting tired of the practice, I see Sally up ahead. Once again, she runs up to me with expectation in her eyes and a lot of wag in her tail and once again I let her down with my long winded explanation. Thank fully, her faithful friend follows her and he wonders why I am driving in circles outside the house I was determined to visit. Overjoyed, tired and wonderfully relieved I thank them both profusely and park on the grass which is currently buried under fluffy quilts of snow.
My friend opens the door and is equally overjoyed and relieved to see that I have finally arrived. We see, we meet and we connect instantly. And I spent the rest of the afternoon drinking warm chai-latte, looking over the freezing lake and enjoying the company of my friend and sister in Christ who I have now met! Thank the Lord!
As for my trip back, well that’s another story altogether……