Unexpected Blessings

Sunday evening, about dusk, Hubby and I journeyed home from our SC vs TN imposed payoff date at McDonald’s.  (The sweet tea was…SWEET and so was our time together.)

The McDonald’s we chose is about 4 miles from our house – a quick drive there and back.

…until the car quit running.

Yep.  We were half a mile from home when the car sputtered and flashed it’s warning lights at us as it died.

Of course, it didn’t quite make it to the top of the small rise as it coasted to a stop…or onto the side of the road, either.

I looked at Hubby with that “well…what now?” look.

I jumped out and ran around to the back of the car, yelled for him to take his foot off the brake and leaned hard against the car with the intent of pushing the old Geo Prizm forward.

The only direction it wanted to go was BACKWARDS.

“BRAKE! BRAKE!” I yelled, and Hubby did.

Weight loss is a good thing.  And, a bad thing, as well.  There was a time when I could move mountains (and cars) just by applying my weight and the force it generated to the problem at hand.  I no longer have the mass I once had and even a gust of wind can knock me off balance now.  There was no way I could push that car up the rise, especially not with Hubby in it.  What was I thinking?!?

Apparently I wasn’t. (There…I said it…I knew you were thinking it.)

Hubby climbed out and instructed me to get into the driver’s seat and guide the car as he pushed.

I did, he did, and the car began a slow forward climb up the rise.

“Sit in the car?” I thought.  “No way!”

So, out I climbed and threw my stubbornness against the door frame as I guided the steering wheel with my right hand.

It was decided that we would push the car the half mile home.  After we topped the rise, it would be a level stretch the remainder of the way home, and we would just park it in front of the house…easier for the tow truck to collect that way, anyhow.

Topping the rise was the issue at the moment and we both leaned into the task at hand.

Just as we topped the rise a familiar car passed us and then pulled onto the shoulder of the road ahead of us.  We stopped pushing.

A neighbor had stopped to see if she could help us or call someone to assist.

Ah…neighborly neighbors!  Ya gotta love ’em!  I know I do.

We assured her we were fine and thanked her for her offer.  (There was no one we knew of to call and the best thing we knew to do was to just get ‘er home.)

Back to pushing we went and up the rise the car rolled until it reached the top.

“Get in and see if you can pop the clutch and make it start as I push it down hill,” Hubby called to me.

In I jumped as I felt the car pick up a little speed, it’s weight beginning to pull it downhill.

“Pop the clutch?” I thought. “Why not turn the key and see what happens?”

So, I did and the engine roared to life.  Hubby called out, “Take it on home and I’ll be along as soon as I can get there.”

I’ll admit – I did consider heading home as fast as I could but as I saw Hubby becoming smaller and smaller in my rear view mirror, and darkness engulfing him, I knew I would not leave him beside the road.

The car was running.  If it stopped…it stopped. I would wait on Hubby.

With Hubby in the car, I drove like a crazed woman, up the street, down our road and into our driveway.  As soon as I turned in, I felt the life go out of the car.  It sputtered, choked and died halfway into the driveway.  I turned the key and again it coughed to life and I was able to pull it in fully before it died again.

Home – we were home.  At that moment, that was all that mattered. Sure, we had a lot to consider and most of it was unknown at the moment.  But, we were home.

As we thought back over the path Hubby had chosen to take on our way home from McDonald’s (He chose the scenic route – a favorite of ours…the “back way” that’s off the beaten path…narrow and hilly and lonely.) we were struck by what could have happened and where.

And, we felt blessed that it broke down where it did.  Had the car stopped anywhere else along our journey, we couldn’t have pushed it – probably not even out of the road.  And, we certainly would not have been able to get it home.  No way!

God blessed us – and kept us safe

God blessed us – and reminded us that we have neighbors who are concerned about us.

God blessed us – with strength.

God blessed us – with dry weather.

God blessed us – with each other

God blessed us – by letting it start several times even though the ignition coil was shot…and so was the distributor.

God blessed us – with the reminder that it’s not so much about what we can do. It’s more about offering what we have to give. (And, no – that’s not going to be enough for most people.)

God blessed me – with the reminder that my responsibility is to offer what I have…what I can do.

God also blessed me – with the understanding that I shouldn’t fret about what I can’t do, and that it’s okay to let go of the disappointment and misunderstanding that arises in others when their expectations don’t match my ability to help.

God blessed us – with the realization that we need others to see us – to stop, and inquire about us – to ask: “Is there anything I can do to help…you?”

And, God blessed me – with you, Dear Reader.

I wonder…. Is there anything I can do to help you?

The Storm and the Tomato Stake

“I need a tomato stake,” I said to Mom as I surveyed the garden.

Tomato plants were outgrowing their ties and growing beyond their stakes.  I managed to secure all but one of the plants.  The stake beside it was too short.

I needed a taller stake.

Into all of Dad’s little cubby holes and corners, I poked and prodded, turning up nothing I could use as a tomato stake.  Everything was too short.

“God, if there’s a tomato stake around here somewhere, it sure would be nice if you showed me where,” I whispered.

Thunder rumbled.  Lightning flashed. Wind danced in the tree tops. Rain began to fall.

We headed indoors to wait out the storm and watch Dr. Phil.

Rain beat against the house and the wind howled.  Mom expressed concern about the big tree in the neighbor’s yard.  I assured her it was still standing.  We’d heard no crash…and her house was still standing.

The storm blew over about the same time Dr. Phil signed off.  I ducked out the back door to survey the damage.

Limbs were down in Mom’s back yard.  Thankfully, they weren’t huge ones.

As I worked to remove the limbs, I pulled them away from the fence, off of the table they had fallen onto. out into the yard where I could maneuver them out the gate, and out to the street for pickup.

When the last limb lay by the street, I grabbed a bucket and headed back up to the fence to clean up the glass (the table top that the limbs crashed onto was glass) that lay scattered on the ground.

As I picked up the final piece of glass and tossed it into the bucket, I noticed something leaning against the fence, half hidden by the hedge…apparently dislodged when the limbs fell.

It was a tall wooden stake – a tomato stake over 6 ft tall.

I grabbed the stake, took up a hammer and headed to the garden where I pounded it into the soft ground.  It was the perfect height and sturdy enough to support not one, but two tomato plants.

After the storm passed, I had grumbled about the clean up that lay before me.  I didn’t expect the blessing and answered prayer that lay hidden beneath the damage.

God is faithful even when I grumble.