The past two days have been an adventure, to say the least. After the news in Boston and Texas, it felt good to get out for a road trip on Thursday. Except for the driving rain. And the flooding. And the difficulty doing simple things … like seeing where I was going!
But, eventually, I drove out of the storms and found myself enjoying the ride — the winding roads, the hills, farms and fields. Arriving at my destination, I was met by the smiling face of one of my employees. Our meetings went well, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch in a quaint Northern town and then, off we went again, driving through the rain and the hills and the snow to another city I’ve never visited before.
Wrapping up yesterday, we soon realized that I couldn’t go home the same way I’d came in. You see, the city I live in has a large river snaking through it and the banks were already compromised; every river north of here is swollen and spilling over. I decided to reroute and travel south along the Lake Huron shoreline and then make my way West from there.
Just before a stretch of open road, I noticed something I hadn’t noticed: the gas gauge was low. A lot lower than it should have been for the distance I still had to go. I took an exit off the highway into an area I’ve never been and, driving along, it seemed to take forever to see any signs of gas stations or … civilization. My nerves kicked in and I felt my hands shaking just a bit.
Oh geez, I thought. Wouldn’t this be just perfect? I muttered. C’mon gas station where are you? and then a chime-chime-chime of the gas alert. Oh Lord, here we go.
Coming around a bend in the road, I saw it: a little country stop called, “Gas N Go.” Let’s hope it’s open.
I pulled up, filled up, and walked inside to pay. As I opened the door, here she came: a little (and I mean tiny) old lady in a rain hat and boots, looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Do you know the roads?”
Holding the door, my hair flying in the wind, I replied, “I’m sorry, I don’t. I’m not from around here.” She put her head down and started to walk away when something made me ask “Where are you headed?”
Looking up, her bright blue eyes peeking out from under her plastic rain hat, she said, “Well, I’m headed to Belding; you see my sister died and I need to get there.” I touched her arm lightly and said, “I’m so sorry; you know the roads are bad and it’s flooding and are you sure you should be going?” Again those blue eyes, “I have to” and off she headed to her truck.
I went inside to pay and felt my emotions get the best of me. That could be my Mom out on a country road. That could be me.
I blurted out my concerns to the clerk: that she shouldn’t be out in this, and couldn’t we do something? Behind me stood an older man, a farmer-looking kind of man. The kind of man who could have been my Dad or my neighbor growing up. I heard him clear his throat and put his change on the counter; he stepped ahead of me and went straight to her truck. In the wind and the driving rain, I saw him pointing forward and telling her road names.
Driving back to the highway, I thought of her. I prayed for her. And yes, I cried for her.
You see, as a girl who lives so far from what’s familiar, there’s much of my life that’s an adventure. But there are also moments like this when I feel the pinch of not living where things are known to me.
Last night, I found myself telling Hubbs about that encounter. He listened, as he always does, and then said something that resonated with me. “No you couldn’t help her, you didn’t know your way, but you did what you could: you saw her.”
Maybe he’s right. Maybe we’re not meant to solve everyone’s problems. Maybe the best we can do is take a moment and see someone.
Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another’s tears, ‘Til in Heaven the deed appears – Pass it on. ~Henry Burton, Pass It On