The Reward for My Risk
Now, this is the part of my life when the shrink should be calling me, or beating down my door, to come and take me to the Happy House. I woke up Friday morning, with no intentions of driving to North Carolina, for Uncle Howard's funeral. It wasn't that I didn't want to go. It was because I felt really unprepared to attempt going, and I had been going through a few issues that simply made the trip an unreasonable choice. So, I loaded my laundry into the car, thinking that after work, I'd get that done, and just come home. Well, one of my cousins called and said that he would ride with me, because he knew how badly I wanted to be there. Okay, great! Now, I feel better about the trip because I'm thinking, "If anything happens, at least I won't be on the road by myself. Also, with so little sleep, I'll have help with the driving." I told him, "I have to go to work, so I need you to call me back before 5, to confirm everything and tell me where to pick you up after I leave the job." He agreed. I go to work, business as usual, and toward the end of my shift, a small instance of frustration clouded me. It was at that very moment, that I snapped back into my "Philly" way of thinking. Having had no return call from my cousin (not a surprise), and the little pluck of annoyance at work, I decided that instead of letting the usual bull-crap bother me, I will do what my heart tells me.
I left work, around 2 AM, stopped at home to grab a few items (snacks, phone charger, Charles Stanley CD's and gum), and stopped at the gas station to fill up. I was on the phone with my sister as I was doing all this, and I reassured her that she would hear from me while I was on the road. I was on B/W Pkwy, headed south by 3:00 AM.
Now I gotta explain this: My car, little Miss Gertrude, is as much a warrior as I am. BUT, it is only through the grace of God that this is true. See, Gertrude is in need of some mechanical attention. She needs new tires, an alignment, a tune-up, brakes, oh, and a really good cleaning. I needed to follow my heart. I know, I know; crazy!! I got farther down the road, around D.C., and for a split second, I considered turning back, but I kept going. I stopped in Fredericksurg (where everything is cheaper), and stretched, walked around and talked to the store clerk, as I bought a bottle of water and a 5-Hour Energy drink. I got back in the car, and was not planning to stop anymore until I got to my destination.
I glanced at the clock, and it showed 6:30 AM. I was making really good time. As I got closer to Littleton, I started looking for the church (which I searched and located on Google Earth, 2 days prior). I get there at 8 AM; 3 hours before the funeral is scheduled to start. I pull into the parking lot and I see a groundskeeper, cutting the grass. I think to myself, "Cool, I can get my nap here while he does the lawn." I lay back and fall off to a nap. As the lawn mower goes silent, I wake up. It was 10:40 AM. I get out of the car to speak to the gentleman, and I say, "You did a good job. Right in time for the funeral." He looked at me and said, "What funeral?" I said, "My uncle's funeral is here at 11." He said, "Are you sure it's this church?" I reply to him, "Uh, oh! I'm supposed to be at Roanoke Chapel. What church is this?" He said, "Oh, it's Roanoke Chapel, but there's another one!"
Have you ever had one of those moments when you hear that music? You know, the kind that mystery movies play when a startling discovery has been made? I heard that music! He tells me that the church I want is on Rte 158. I said, "Can I get there from here in 20 minutes?" He pointed southward said, "Sure, just go down this road to the end, and bear left and you'll be on 158." Well, I thanked him for letting me take my nap there, and he said, "No problem. Sometimes God puts you somewhere so you can be at peace for a minute." WOW!!! A stranger had just summed up my whole reason for making the trip in the first place.
I get back on the road, get to the church, and I go inside. The service was really beautiful and I only missed the first 5 minutes, so I was relieved. After the service, I got to talk and laugh with family, and reconnect with people I hadn't seen in years. It was a very rewarding and empowering journey. Everybody always told me I got my love for driving from Uncle Howard. I told them, "That's why I'm here." ♥
I got back on the road to come home around 2:45 PM. Daylight driving is my nemesis. It makes me very sleepy; almost like being drugged. I had to pull off the road, and take another nap, at a truck stop near South Hill, VA. I stayed there for about an hour, then was back on the road at about 3:45. I needed a scrunchy to pull my hair back, because the open windows was causing my hair to smack me in the face. I didn't have anything to use, except some nylon medical tape. I pulled off a strip and made a ribbon to tie my hair back, and it was smooth sailing from there. I didn't hit an ounce of a back-up, no accidents, no slow-downs. It was truly a great drive. I got home at about 7:15, and I called my friend to tell him I would be ready to go and do the laundry at around 9. I actually confessed to him that my laundry had accompanied me on the 530-mile trip to North Carloina and back. Funny, how he loves my, anyway. So, with very little sleep under my belt, I got the laundry done and was back home before midnight. At about 4 AM, I started to come down from my mania, and sleep was punching me in the face. I took a shower, and went to bed.
I share these parts of my life because somehow, I believe that although it may seem frivolous to some, it's important that I share just how God touches my life and strengthens my faith, allowing me to push harder to do things I would ordinarily choose to avoid. He gave me everything I needed to get through this experience, and He strengthened me in the course of it. I'm still in the learning stages of just how strong I really am, and just how powerful God is.
Thank you for letting me share my story.
♥ ♥ ♥