Some days I literally ache for Jesus. Desperation crowds my thoughts and all I want to do is curl up at His feet and allow Him to whisper words of comfort to my soul. Today is one of those days. Perhaps my feelings stem partly from yesterday’s events.
I’m a planner. I like to know the order of the day, and prefer to arrive several minutes prior to the beginning of any program or event. Yesterday, the college open house began at 9 am, and at the latest, we needed to register by 8:50. The goal for attending this event was to gather answers and to assist us in helping our daughter make a final decision about which college to attend. We’ve been in this process for what seems like an eternity, but have finally narrowed the choices to two. Yesterday would get us one step closer to finalizing plans. Or so we thought.
Since it’s April, we didn’t expect the snow. When my vehicle fishtailed on the road in front of our house, I should have taken that as a hint to pull back into the driveway and park the car for the day. But, attending this open house was important, so I continued the trek.
As we approached our first stop sign, I slid into the intersection. Strike # 2. I put my game face on, cinched my seat belt tighter, and crept down the road. When we came to the main road I breathed a sigh of relief. Well, that is until we turned onto the road that would take us to the college.
“We have to go up that?” my daughter asked.
“Um, yeah. I know.” I stated, trying to stifle the fear that stirred inside me.
A year ago when my husband and I looked at houses in preparation for our move to the area, our realtor led us 2.1 miles up a windy road. One house we toured up that road was kitty-corner to the college. I remembered thinking “What do people do in the winter to get up or down this hill?”
I was about to find out.
My vehicle is not 4-wheel drive, but fortunately, it does have anti-lock brakes. Typically, in a slick environment, I don’t have the forethought to pump the brakes on my own. My impulse is to force my foot through the floorboard as if I’m helping stop the sliding mass. After yesterday’s rollercoaster ride, the braking system probably needs replaced.
Staring at the hill, I took a deep breath and kept my foot on the gas to ensure enough momentum to get my behemoth vehicle up the hill. A few blocks ahead I saw a line of taillights peeking through the falling snow.
“Are they stopped?” asked my daughter.
Internally I groaned. The pitch of the hill appeared steeper than a year ago. If forced to stop at the wrong spot, I would be stuck.
Glancing at the GPS and the clock, I knew we were in trouble. We had 2.3 miles to go, and 2.1 of those were up that windy mountain road. As a line of cars formed behind me, a knot developed in my stomach. After sitting sidelined for a few minutes, the cars ahead began to move.
“Ok. I think we can make it.” I spoke too soon. The cars ahead stopped again. As the snow increased, and with the way ahead blocked, I realized we were in a no win situation.
Being relatively new to the area, I don’t know all of the roads, but figured there had to be more than one way to the college. So, I decided to turn around and head back down the hill.
The guy in the car ahead of me maneuvered out of the way and parked on the right hand side of the road in one of two areas a person could use to help them turn around. I waited for a bit thinking he would head down the mountain, but alas, he planted himself in that spot. As a result, there was no way I could safely perform a 3-point turn, because to the left was the edge of the mountain and a parked campus security vehicle. If I got this wrong, we were either heading over the mountain edge or plowing into the parked campus car.
As I inched my way forwards and backwards, my daughter pushed on the dashboard and exclaimed, “Mom, there’s a cliff there! You’re gonna drive off the cliff!”
I was well aware of the cliff, which is why my 3-point turn morphed into a slower than molasses 16-pt maneuver. Somehow, I managed to avoid all obstacles and turn my vehicle around.
Heading down the mountain required us to traverse the initial steep slope in order to hit the main road. Trying to avoid that hill for as long as possible, I took a side street. When I came to the end of the side street and turned left, my stomach marched towards my throat. The snow covered street ahead was just as steep as the road I tried to avoid. Unfortunately, the only way out of the situation was to move forward.
Normally I drive on the right side of the road. Yesterday was the exception. Since there were no other cars on that road, I hugged the curb to my left and rode the brake down the hill. As I eyeballed the telephone pole at the end of the street I voiced to my daughter, “Hang on, we may meet that pole at the corner, or ram the curb.” Reaching the intersection, I jerked the wheel to the left, and slid onto the center of the next street. I felt sick.
Although I should have quit while I was ahead, we found a second route up the mountain, which we attempted. At one point I had the gas peddle pressed to the floor, and while the wheels were spinning at crazy rpm’s our vehicle was only moving about ½ mile an hour. “Come on Nellie. You can do this!” I kept repeating.
Finally, we made it up the incline only to be met by a car sliding backwards. As the gap decreased between the car ahead and my vehicle, I punched the emergency flashers and started backing down the road. Suddenly, some dude in a small car whipped around the corner behind me, passed me on the left, and putted up the mountain. I backed into a driveway, and declared, “I’m calling it. I not doin’ this!”
By the time we reached home, I was emotionally spent. Frustration mounted within me as the day wore on. I had hoped for answers, but the morning only produced more questions. As I walked around the house lost in thought I pondered, “Who would build a college at the top of a mountain in a snow prone area? How do people get to class on a snowy day such as this? Do I need to sell my vehicle and buy a Jeep? What was the point of this snowy adventure?”
Unfortunately life isn’t always pretty and often brings many a curveball. Roadblocks spring up in unexpected places. Circumstances change without forewarning. Plans fail. And sometimes we have more questions than answers. All of these things can leave us frustrated.
But we do have a choice—either we can stay frustrated and try to figure out the answers alone, or we can take our concerns to the One who has all the answers.
Yesterday evening I spent quite a bit of time conversing with God about that snowy adventure and all those questions. He reminded me that He’s never let us down, and that He’s still faithful. I needed that reminder.
Perhaps you too have been on a similar snowy adventure that’s produced more questions than answers. As an encouragement, I’d like to share with you a song by Christy Nockels – Waiting Here for You.
I pray that your snowy adventure leads you to the same place my snowy adventure led me. Curled up at the feet of Jesus.