Things don’t ever go according to plans, do they?
When we want our chicken to be grilled, it comes out fried.
We plan to go to the mall, and we get called to work instead.
You plan a lunch date, and your friend forgets.
You plan a long weekend with two of your best friends, and 8 inches of snow decides to fall and accidents surround you.
Let me explain.
About 3 weeks ago I received a text from my good friend Cameron. He told me that the last weekend in January was his weekend off and he and his fiancé, Chelsea, who I am also close with, wanted to meet me half-way between Charlotte and Nashville for a fun weekend get-away. What a perfect idea!
So, I checked with my school and my boss and began to work things out. We found a town, a hotel, fun things to do, and some movies to watch. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. Before we knew it, the weekend was here!
With bags packed and excitement in the air, I started my day. First, school. Second, work. Third, Cameron and Chelsea….here I come!
School went well and work was great. I packed my “girls” (aka. Lysa TerKeurst’s daughters, whom I was helping out with on Friday afternoon) for a weekend at the Great Wolfe Lodge with their dad. Then I hopped in my car, a half hour earlier than planned.
Things were looking good for me, and despite the fact that the weather man was calling for a “blizzard”, I ventured out. Me being a small-town, northern girl, I knew I could brave ANY storm. And I’d seen what southerners call a snow storm. I call it a ‘dusting’.
Well the snow began to spit. Nothing much, just a few flurries. As I made my way to the mountains, nothing was going to stop me.
The further I drove the worse it got. The treetops began to be feathered with white fluff, and the road became damp. I assumed that it would get better.
However, it didn’t.
About 30 minutes later, the trees were white, the ground was slick, and the southerners around me began to slip and slide and honestly, I began to laugh a little.
As traffic came to a crawl, things began to get worse. Soon we were stopped.
After sitting still for about 15 minutes, I got out of my car to see what was going on. About four cars in front of me, there was a jeep stuck in the snow. As these now-cold southerners sat in their warm new BMW’s, Mustangs, and Jaguars, I saw this one poor man who was struggling to get his SUV out of the ditch with the help of his passenger.
Being the northern girl that I am and observing their spinning wheels, I knew they were only making it worse by digging themselves into this ditch. I threw on my leather jacket, grabbed my fleece, and headed out to help. I rigged a little “Yankee traction” under the tires, taught them how to “rock” the vehicle and helped them out. I chuckled under my breath as I got back into my 1998 Buick.
We actually began to move again. However, it did not last long.
Suddenly things were dead. With 8 inches of snow around us and no sign of movement, people were getting impatient and finally emerging from their cars. There were so many accidents that the interstate and all exits were now completely closed until morning. Many were abandoning their cars to try to get to safety.
With my gas gauge almost to empty, I decided the best thing to do would be to abandon my car too and walk.
Walk with ALL of my belongings for the weekend to the nearest hotel. Mr. Scott (Chitwood–my southern dad) called and made reservations at a hotel at the next exit for me. (Thank God!)
So, I began my hike.
I met a girl on the way and we got to talking. But then as our fingers began to go numb on our nearly 3-mile walk and our chattering voices fell silent.
However, my thoughts piped up.
You see, in my head I was going over all of my many complaints: my feet were cold, I couldn’t feel my hands, my nose was running, my shoulder really hurt, I might not get to meet my friends, I was hungry. The usual self-centered ’I’ and ‘me’ statements.
But suddenly, I began to think about all of the things I was carrying.
My coach purse my parents got me for my 18th birthday; my MacBookPro laptop I bought with my graduation open house money; my Nikon camera; my clothes; my cell phone; my movies. And as I did, a picture popped into my whining and complaining mind.
I thought about all the people in Haiti.
They were in the same boat as me, only worse.
You see they don’t even have any of those nice things to carry.
They can’t walk a few miles to a waiting, warm bed.
They don’t have clean water.
They can’t even pay $10 for an over priced salad at the hotel restaurant.
I began to realize that I was blessed.
We are all blessed.
Even when things don’t go as we planned.
Even when we have to walk.
In the cold.
In a half-foot of snow.
For three miles.
Still, we are blessed.
To put an end to my story– a nice family who hardly spoke English gave both the girl I was walking with and me a ride the rest of the way to the hotel. I got checked in and am now waiting out the storm. They say it won’t be until Sunday that I can get my car and leave.
Right now, I am taking this time to be still; to pray; to think about how blessed I am and the way God works things out.
Things may not always go according to our plans, but they are always in line with God’s plans.