Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT)
Be thankful in all circumstances … (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT)
Circumstantial evidence. If you asked me how did my day go yesterday, I could answer with various replies. It all depends on what part of the day we might be discussing.
I enjoyed a leisurely morning reading and playing around with my travel art supplies.
Then we met our son and his wife for coffee at a hip spot in the quaint college town. He told us all about how the company started and the business model of obtaining fair trade beans and how he toured their roasting facility.
We talked about life and friendship. We walked back to the co-op grocery and past the spring chicks.
Around two in the afternoon, the husband and I decided to take an impromptu drive to see the mountains near Lake Tahoe.
Our son and his wife sent us off, encouraging us to enjoy our adventure.
We took a leisurely pace. The lush, green moss on huge boulders captured our awe. A few miles further, we began to see snow along the ridge line, and then in the wooded areas along the road.
Somewhere in all this grandeur, probably back before the snow and the verdant mossy scenes, some dilapidated building reminded me that my step-father spent his last days in this area. I messaged my sister and she confirmed the name of the town, and that he was buried there.
While admiring the scenery, I did a quick search. If we kept going up the mountain, we would get to the highway near the cemetery. We agreed we could try to get there before dark to see if we could find his gravestone.
Circumstances seemed in our favor. We stopped for gas and sandwiches. I bought a single white rose to place at the grave.
Soon after our pit stop, the vistas became snow obscured, gray shadows. The winding road became our nemesis, covered with just enough snow and ice to warrant chains for our tires, which didn’t come with our rental car. Which you wouldn’t need if you stayed in the flat valley.
We kept thinking there must be an alternate route, where we could get by without chains. So we kept driving the perimeter of the lake.
We never did find a way out that didn’t include buying chains.
However, we did persevere without out them for almost the entire perimeter of the lake and into Nevada, where we drove further out of our way to catch the interstate out of Reno.
And around 9:30pm, we were directed to get off the interstate just before Donner Pass to purchase chains. I wish I could say we didn’t swear or grumble about it. But the circumstances were ripe for major frustration.
Although, I am glad to report that after driving hundreds of miles out of our way and hours longer than we had hoped, Les valiantly figured out how to attach said chains in the blowing, cold snow outside the Shell station, where we spent double the usual price.
We slowly made our way back onto the highway, driving less than 30mph over Donner Pass and the long descent back to the valley. The chains thudded in time to my anxious thoughts, as we strived to maintain our dignity.
For a brief moment, I began to blame myself for our circumstance.
And then, I realized that I wasn’t that powerful.
I don’t tell the snows when to fall. I don’t make up the laws of California. I didn’t decide by myself to take this adventure.
Our deep exhales and Les’ tenacity and ability to handle stressful circumstances became our adventure weary prayers.
As we parked the car back at the hotel at 1:30am, we breathed a grateful thank you, and texted our son that we were safe.
Rest in peace.