Saturday, August 09, 2008

Finding God in the Midst of Your Vacation

Ladies and gentlemen, it's the trip that keeps on giving -- except this time, I got big indications that God has been making the journey with us (as He does all the time on all of our journeys).

We pulled away from the Gulf of Mexico this morning at about 8:00 for the long drive back to Northern Virginia, and after a great breakfast at a diner that was one of A's family traditions when she was growing up we headed north. The first several hours were very uneventful -- a drive to Montgomery, an impromptu picnic lunch at a nice park in one of the city's historic sections, and a quick visit to pay our respects at the grave of Hank Williams. We then continued north towards Atlanta and our ultimate destination for the day, Greenville, South Carolina.

Things were going great until we got within a stone's throw of downtown Atlanta, and the engine overheated. Remarkably, I stayed very calm; this is normally something that would really have set me on edge, especially seeing as how it happened in the midst of a traffic jam in one of the busiest interstate highways in the southeastern United States. A. even managed to keep her humor; she handed me the camera and said, "Take a picture; it's part of our vacation!" So I now have a great shot of the hood of our car sitting up, with the beautiful skyline of downtown Atlanta in the background.

At this point, it was then that I started to see God in everything that happened from then on. In order:

- A member of the Georgia Department of Transportation emergency response unit pulled up literally three minutes after we pulled off the road and just as I was calling Triple-A to find out if we needed any help. Because Triple-A drivers cannot accept children in car seats (because of seatbelt laws) we were going to have to try and find a taxi that would come to the midst of a traffic tie-up on I-85 to drive A. and the girls to a hotel. The DOT driver pointed out that about 200 yards ahead of us, a cab driver was sitting on the side of the road out of gas -- and then he drove ahead to make a deal with him that he would provide gas for his cab if he would in turn take A. and the girls to a hotel.

- The cab driver was from the very area in Atlanta to which the car was going to be towed, and he knew exactly how to get there and which hotel to recommend for us -- and after panicking because we had no cash on hand to pay him, it turned out that he was one of the cabs that took credit and debit cards.

- The Goodyear shop that we selected for the repairs (since they're open on Sundays) was already closed when I called to advise them that we were going to be brining it in shortly. However, the manager on duty volunteered to not only wait until the car and I were both there safely (which took nearly two hours after first pulling off the road), but also to drive me to the hotel near the shop where A. and the kids had already registered.

- Numerous random folks, from sheriff's department officers to crews painting and repaving the interstate, kept stopping by to see how they could help (and to offer their own diagnosis of what was wrong).

- Most remarkably, when the Triple-A driver finally arrived, I was greeted with this large quote posted on the back window of his truck: "God will make a way somehow."

He did indeed; now we'll see if he can hang out with the mechanics for a while in the morning to get the car back on the highway.

And for my friends who are members of the clergy, there MUST be a sermon in here somewhere...

4 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

Not sure why but your post really moved me Matt.. sitting here wiping away the tears.

Thanks for reminding me that God is there when the journey takes a weird turn.. I needed it today!

Blessings, Bob

karen said...

Awesome.
Sorry for the hassles, though, glad God's good has come of it!

Robert said...

wow that is a terrific tale even better because of all the random people who showed caring and compassion!! So good to see that although we need vacations, God never takes one!!! I hope you fully enjoy the rest of your trip!!

rdl said...

Definitely a sermon here, but also a great story!! keep on truckin!