Don’t make me turn this car around!
A few weeks ago my hubby saw that his youth pastor (who now is a senior pastor) was retiring. This gentleman has been in the ministry for over 40 years and has known my husband for most of his life, even to the point that my mother in law was the youth pastor for the gentleman’s wife. This meant that our family was going on a road trip. We were burdened with the task of having to go to the coast, spend the night and visit with the special people….let me tell you if this is a burden I have to do often sign me up!
Our car trips are probably close to many other people’s car trips, we pack up the car, everyone chooses their seats and we make sure even the dog is buckled in. We all have our owns snacks, our own devices to use when bored and the excitement to get the trip started. The only thing we didn’t know for sure was how cold it would be on the coast. We looked at the weather of course but sometimes you still don’t know until you get there especially when it comes to the Oregon coast. One minute beautiful and sunny then the wind just picks up and you are wishing for your heavy coat and pants. I love the trips with the family because the kids talk and mess with each other and Tim and I can talk without outside distractions. We left Saturday afternoon, the trip was only four hours drive time but took longer due to some stops along the way. One stop in particular was in an area a out 2 hours into our trip where the sign warned there could be a thirty minute delay. The area around us was pretty which was nice, and we were able to be in the shade which was a bonus, but those did not calm the sudden urge that everyone had including the dog to have to go to the bathroom. We looked as far as we could see in front of us to see if there was any movements of the cars, we watch a little bit the people in front and behind us get their animals and themselves out of their cars to stretch and find trees to hide behind as they relieved themselves. We decided we probably had time to follow suit and find our own trees and so the dog and I were the first out. Just as we got back into the car and the girls got out, the cars started turning on, so the scramble to get back in was quick and a bit panicked. We managed to get everyone in without slamming fingers or choice words. We got to the coast without any further delay, we stayed at an Inn that overlooked the ocean and when we got to the beach it was the perfect weather. We were even able to get the kids out to do some Halloween activities. Couldn’t ask for a better day.
I knew this trip was important to my hubby but I didn’t realize how important until we arrived at the church. We arrived a little bit early so that he could see the pastor. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera to catch the when they first saw each other but the smiles were big and hugs were given. The church was a small church in a small community but it was full of love. The gentleman had been a pastor at this church for 14 years and had seen them through all of life’s challenges. Looking back over the weekend I should have caught on how important this was when we actually spent more time in the car than we did being at the coast. You know someone is special if you are willing to drive longer than the time you will spend with them. Seeing the tears that came to my hubby’s eyes during the service, confirmed the special relationship Pastor Dave and his wife had with Tim and his parents and siblings. Well worth the trip even if it was for an hour service and a bit of visiting afterwards.
We went back to the beach to have lunch before we headed back home. Once we got on the road I started to think about the relationships I have had over the years including my own youth pastors, friends, family and coworkers. I know that of the people I thought about there are only about a handful that I would drive hours to go see even if the time spent with them was less than the drive time. I then thought about if I had been as much of an influence on someone’s life that they would want to do that for me. I can’t say for certain that I have been and that is ok, I just hope that throughout my years on this earth I was kind and I smiled at people and that I stood up for something. Luckily on this car trip I did not have to yell at the kids “Don’t make me turn this car around!” even better than that I got to be a part of something special between three people who have been in each other’s lives for a long time. 1John 4:7-8 says this:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
When we make ourselves available to love our ability to do so is in God’s hands. We were not called to do love perfectly but we were called to be available to do it, it’s when we run from that call that we find ourselves unsettled. Pastor Dave and his wife opened their hearts and their lives to many, many people over the lifetime of their ministry, and for that I am thankful because part of who my husband is, is because of these two people. They chose humility, love, integrity, and a bit of fun and because of that we did a road trip to the coast to be there for them when Pastor Dave did his last sermon, which among others things was about love, taking risks, taking the time to actually talk to people and most importantly to love always, even when it’s hard. Until next time:
What the world needs for true happiness is a shift from exploitation to service, arrogance to humility, selfish cruelty to compassion and hatred to love. Radhanath Swami