I was about half way to Bloomington for Hearts at Home when a light appeared on the dashboard. “It’s like a parentheses with an exclamation point in the middle and a squiggly line on the bottom.” I told my husband on my cell phone.
“One of the tires needs air,” he said. “You should stop as soon as you can.”
And so I stopped at the next gas station and Llama Papa patiently talked me through the process of checking the air pressure and filling up the low tire. “I’m sorry,” he said more than once. “I should have checked out the van before you left.”
I was just amazed I was able to figure it out, and grateful the rain had stopped.
And then I tried to start the van again. Nothing.
I went in the gas station and talked with the gals working there. “Did you leave the lights on while you checked the tires?” She asked.
“It’s probably the battery. Give it ten minutes or so and try it again.”
We chatted while I waited and munched on a Milky Way bar that I purchased because, you know, eating chocolate seemed like the right thing to do.
I tried the van again. Nope.
The helpful gas station lady asked another customer, Fred, to take a look at it. Kindly, he did. “Doesn’t sound like the battery,” he said. “It might be the fuel pump.”
A few more phone calls home and we had a plan. Llama Papa would come pick me up and I’d carpool the following day with a friend. I was volunteering both days, so I called and let them know I wouldn’t be there until Saturday.
Then I settled into my van for an hour-long pity party while I waited for my husband to come and rescue me.
It had been a long week. After three interviews in a matter of days, Llama Papa and I were cautiously optimistic that he might be offered a real job. But no. He was their third choice.
I chatted with my friend on the phone and we laughed together at the misery of it all. “You know what’s really funny?” I told her, “I was listening to that Casting Crowns song, Praise You in the Storm, remembering that God really does have a plan for us. And right now, this is it. I was just thinking, Lord, I do surrender to your plan. And then my stupid van breaks down. What IS that?” (Except maybe I didn’t say stupid because, being the spiritual giant that I am, sometimes I swear when I get stressed out.)
We laughed and agreed God wasn’t trying to send me any hidden messages, because if He were, it would be that He’s trying to kill me.
Llama Papa arrived in good time and proceeded to—I am not making this up—start my van on the first try. He offered to trade vehicles with me, and I continued on my way to Bloomington after all.
I’m glad I did. Hearts at Home rocked.
And I’m convinced that God isn’t trying to kill me after all.