Blogging my way through the Baptist Hymnal...Page 1..."Holy, Holy, Holy."
I think it's kinda interesting that the first song in the songbook that I am using to get blog ideas for for the next say, oh 500 entries or so (hope you're not doing anything for the next 3 years) is about the Trinity. Fitting, I would say for The Trinity and the Trailer Park. Holy, Holy, Holy....one for each of Them.
In February they were all three in the car with me when I headed out for a road trip to Arizona in the middle of historic cold temps here in Colorado. It was fifteen BELOW in the daylight hours when I headed south. I had left a day later than I wanted to because we had had snow and the cold temps were making it stay put and the roads weren't safe. I waited for the danger to pass....or so I thought.
One of the things that I always do when I head out on these solo road trips in a ten-year-old Saturn is to pray for, what they call in the south, travelin' mercies. I pray days ahead of time for God to begin clearing the roads of anything that could bring me harm. The too-tired driver that will be heading my way...keep him at home. The deer that would dart out in the highway....let him find a salt-lick far from the roads. I don't know what potential dangers there are...but Holy, Holy and Holy do...and I pray for them to move into action. I put an angel on the roof of my car and one in the road ahead of me. I apologize to my winged-warriors for the frigid temps. And I literally say out loud (I talk out loud a lot) "Angels on the car, Lord. Angels on the car."
So I head out on the road this bitterly cold day, with angel wings clearing the roads, knowing the end result will be Scottsdale and sunshine. With the exception of a scary few minutes driving over a high-elevation pass that was still getting snow...the roads were clear and dry and I zipped right along. At the Colorado/New Mexico border the sun came out. Leave it to New Mexico to give me bright blue skies...still cold as heck, but blue skies make you feel the worst is over.
Dang tricky blue skies.
So I made a decision going over Raton Pass. I would make up lost time and get to Las Vegas, New Mexico. This was my best shot at making it to Phoenix by Friday night...seeing as how this was Thursday night and I had a class beginning Saturday morning in a Phoenix suburb. But you see....once you make a decision to leave Raton in your rear view mirror there is no turning back. It's 100 miles of beautiful, but barren land with exits that like to proudly proclaim that they have No Services. Las Vegas is the oasis (if you can call it that) at the end of this stretch in no man's land. Now I knew this would put me on this stretch of road for about a half hour after dark. After dark is something I don't do when I am traveling by myself...but I thought 30 minutes was doable and worth it to get me further down the road. I knew of a lovely little cheap motel in LV that had my name written on the door
Funny thing about those rural New Mexico roads after a snowstorm.....some are plowed and some not so plowed...as in haven't been touched. And as soon as darkness fell guess which kind I ran into? Yep. Not so plowed. And it gets better! The roads were so snow-packed that you couldn't see the center line, or the side of the road. My cell phone was close to being dead and I didn't know where my car-charger was AND it was now waaaay below zero. The good news was that no vehicles were flying up behind me on the road....and the bad news was....no vehicles were flying up behind me on the road. Can you say desolate? Oh I did have one or two semi's pass me and the reality of how cold it was was pretty clear. Even with the heat vents blowing heat up onto the windshield...their icy spray was freezing onto my windshield immediately. If I went off the road the cold would be more dangerous eventually than anything.
Angels on the car, Lord. Angels on the car.
Now I could have spent my time telling myself what big trouble I was in and berating myself for making this decision or I could come up with a plan. Deep breath. Four way flashers on. Take it down to 35 and do NOT think of the 50 miles that still lay ahead. Take it one mile at a time. Heck take it one minute at a time. Inch by inch. That was my plan. Oh and singing...I decided to sing out loud in the car. I asked the angels to join me...but they said they were a little preoccupied with keeping me alive. So the only harmony in the car was the one I felt between me and God.
I sang at the top of my lungs and the song that seemed to calm me the most was a contemporary Christian song called "Holy, Holy, Holy" I decided to do this rather than feeling panic and gripping the steering wheel (ok I was gripping the steering wheel) and crying in fear. If I concentrated on praise....the Great Distractor would not know what to do with me and would find another night-traveler to pick on. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.
Two hours later I was on an exit ramp that HAD services and that little hotel was right where I remembered it to be. And let me tell you something....a suite at the Plaza Hotel wouldn't have felt any more wonderful than that little motel room. The heat was on, it was toasty AND it had a microwave. And since me and my angels travel with a gallon of apple cider (that's just how we roll)...well I felt truly blessed. And don't think for a minute that I didn't spend the better part of that evening snuggled in bed with The Word and my apple cider, thanking God and relishing being off that crazy highway. It felt miraculous.
Now this would be a good place for me to say "Wasn't that awesome?" and say thanks for reading my first blog as I blog the Baptist Hymnal....but that's not the end of the story.
The next morning I woke up, anxious to hit the road. Phoenix was still a very long way off. But when I looked out my window I couldn't believe what I saw. It had snowed in the night...several inches of new snow on top of roads that were already a mess. Not good. In my little budget motel I had a budget motel TV...no remote and a broken channel knob. I could get one station, but they didn't seem to be interested in talking about the 72 miles of road between where I was and Santa Fe. So I prayed. I asked God to tell me if I should head out or stay put. The sub-text of my prayer (if prayers can actually have sub-texts) was "Man oh man I wish I knew what the roads were like." God gets sub-texts I do believe. Because in my on-again-off-again wireless connection at said motel I was trying to get on my laptop and find the site for New Mexico road conditions. Somewhere in there I also managed to jump on Facebook, post a picture of my snow covered car and say "Man oh man I wish I knew what the roads are like between here and Santa Fe."
Now here's where I had one of those ok-God-you're-freaking-me-out-here moments. Two minutes after I posted this I got a Facebook reply. "Hi there! We are snowed in in Las Vegas, New Mexico too. We drove in from Santa Fe last night. The roads are ok after about 10 miles outside of Las Vegas."
You have got to be kidding me! What are the odds of that? But it gets even more bizarre. The lovely couple who were e-mailing me were the former sister and brother-in-law of MY sister Julie. Her ex-husband's sister! I hadn't seen Laurie and Tim in 23 years...since my niece, Meghan, was born. I gave them my cell phone number, they called me, we determined that we were in motels on the same block, we caught up a bit and we agreed that our God was an amazing God...and sometimes a little freaky.
So three days later when I was sitting outside in 85 degree weather having lunch in Scottsdale, Arizona, I knew that being there at all was a grace-gift and I was thankful. I hugged my new Arizona friends good-bye and headed off to hug my new San Diego friends hello. But I wasn't alone as drove across the Arizona desert. I had Holy, Holy and Holy with me...Father, Son and the Spirit I feel even as I write this. And oh yes...Angels on the Car.