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ROAD TRIP

My Winter Wedding Weekend

By Laura J. Bagby
CBN.com Sr. Producer


CBN.comThe last thing I wanted to do Saturday morning was hop into my car and drive 250 miles all by myself in what the local forecaster called "dangerously cold" conditions with the probability of being stuck in city traffic on some frosty freeway just long enough to completely miss my friend's wedding. Sign me up now.

I imagined myself in a blizzard, eating snow and some buried peanut that somehow managed to wiggle its way out from underneath my car seat as I foraged for food, my rations having long been eaten.

I pictured myself blowing out a tire right in the middle of D.C. traffic and waiting for some plaid-wearing tow trucker to pull me out of the pylon I had swerved into, while hundreds of cantankerous drivers scream past me in a blur of lights and whirring wheels.

I mean, really, where was my sense of adventure?

The fact that the ground was covered with several inches of snow on Friday just fed my fears. My mind started deducing that if we were getting snow down South, then I could surely expect much more of it up North where I was headed. And snow for this Tennessee native meant the possibility of four consecutive hours white-knuckling the steering wheel. For those who grew up skating on ponds in the winter, the white stuff isn't an issue, perhaps even a welcome sight. But I come from a town where when the first few flakes start falling, people frantically flock to the grocery store, schools close, and weathermen start talking excitedly about the "accumulation."

Plus, I had just spent the previous weekend out of town. I really didn't want to spend another weekend on the road. Moreover, I was completely unprepared. I hadn't finished my laundry, I hadn't packed, and I hadn't gotten the wedding gift together. To top it off, I was headed to this wedding alone.

But then I thought about my friend Charles, who I had known for about six years. I would miss his wedding, a wedding that had been planned for over a year now, all because I was freaking out. I would miss being able to congratulate him and his new wife, Kate, in person. I would miss the excitement of being in a new place, eating a fantastic sit-down dinner, and dancing the night away with the other guests at the reception. I tried to comfort myself by recalling what my friend Anthony, who was already in Annapolis to fulfill his role as best man, had told me over the phone: "There's no snow on the ground up here, Laura." And it wasn't likely that there would be any more. I breathed a sigh of relief.

At around 4:00 p.m. on Friday, I finally decided to go.

Then Saturday morning came and I almost changed my mind all over again.

Overstuffed in a big quilted jacket, scrunchy hat, and hiking boots, I headed out the door in 16-degree weather, already off to a late start. I was packed and ready to get on the road, with the exception of topping off my gas, so I headed to the gas station, pulled up to the bank of fuel tanks, and hurriedly pulled on my car's fuel tank door latch. Nothing. I tried again. It wouldn't open. I tried several more times with the same results. The gas tank door refused to budge. Great, I broke the lever, I thought, and had visions of paying $200 to some smirking auto mechanic to get it fixed.

I drove back to the house and ripped open my glove compartment to re-read the owner's manual. Surely, there is another way to open the fuel door, I figured. But, alas, a good perusing proved that not to be the case. How am I supposed to drive if I can't fill up my gas tank? I was feeling sick and angry. I told myself not to check the time, my usual nervous habit.

I stormed out of the car, walked around to the fuel door, and took a good, hard look. A small, thin layer of ice had wedged its way underneath the door. Why hadn't I seen that before? I blustered under my breath. I ran inside to get my Leatherman pocketknife and spent the next 15 minutes doing delicate surgery to shave down the ice so that the door would easily open. I then raced back to the same gas station and filled up my tank. A whole 45 minutes out the window.

I was still reeling from my morning fiasco when without warning the traffic came to a standstill on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. With no indication of an accident and no blinking sign to redirect traffic, I guessed this could take another hour to get through. At that point, I was close to tears. If I could have turned around, I probably would have. I figured I had made a mistake. If I was supposed to go to this wedding, why was I experiencing so much difficulty?

That day I found out an important lesson: Sometimes the blessing is on the other side. To access the blessing, you might have to slog through some unpleasant circumstances. But hold on. Have faith. The blessing is coming. The roadblocks aren't reality. They are simply a distraction to the better end. The point of the roadblocks was to prevent me from continuing on my journey. It took seeing beyond my circumstances to get to a new place...literally!

Despite my initial delay, I made record time on the road up to Annapolis. The sun was shining, the roads were free of snow and ice, and the traffic was flowing freely. I had no problems checking into my hotel as I thought I might have. The wedding and reception were elegant. Everyone was pleasant and in good spirits. Charles and Kate were pleased that I made the journey, and I felt glad that I had made the effort. By the end of the evening, I was laughing and enjoying myself. I had completely forgotten about my arduous morning.

Isn't that true of our lives as Christians? We can spend our lives in fear instead of faith, setting our sites on troubles that are but a mirage, or we can keep our eyes on the real landscape -- God and His plans. Don't make the potholes of life your point of reference. You never know what road stretches before you right over the horizon.

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