Thought I’d pass this article along…
“Patience is the companion of wisdom.”
I posted two days ago about being stuck on the Interstate in Illinois. At the time, we had been stuck for 15 minutes. It was 8:00 pm.
We began moving again around 1:47 AM!
We were stuck on the road for 6 hours. Two semis had jack-knifed on the road two miles ahead of us, blocking both lanes. To make matters worse, we were 11 miles from Champaign, IL, and the tow truck had to deal with the terrible roads to get there. Then he managed to get stuck, a salt truck careened into a guard rail, and several more tow trucks had to be called to the scene. It was excruciating.
It was also a lesson in patience.
I tend to be an impatient person. I want to do things now. I don’t like shopping around Christmas because I don’t like to wait in line. I prefer to drive on roads where I stand little chance of being in a traffic jam. And given the chance, I will always drive in crappy weather rather than wait it out. Last Sunday, I’m pretty sure the Lord sent a guardian angel to watch over us, because I probably could have placed us directly in the path of those trucks.
We stopped for gas around 6:45pm. Certainly not unusual. We used the same trip to empty bladders, and here is where decisions mattered. Rather than both going at the same time, we staggered our trips to the loo, thereby delaying our re-entry onto the road by probably 90-120 seconds. I also felt like buying a large hot chocolate, which I never drink in the afternoons because of the caffeine, and a pair of 1-liter bottles of water. We had half a liter already in the car, but I felt the urge to purchase those bottles because I thought the 2-for-$3 deal was good. All told, the staggered trips to the john and purchases put us back on the road about 4 minutes later than we could have been.
As I said, we were almost exactly 2 miles behind the accident. We were travelling about 30 mph. At that speed, one covers 2 miles in 4 minutes. That 4 minute “delay” at the gas station quite possibly saved our lives. Even if we had been ahead of the wreck, I counted almost 200 cars in the ditch in the ensuing 50 miles and at least 4 exits with abandoned or snowed-in cars, meaning that in all likelihood we would have wound up in a ditch or snowed-in on some exit.
Truth be told, our delay gave the Illinois DOT and state police time to move many cars and plow the road (although I use the term “plow” loosely). Instead of a horrendous night in a ditch, paying for a tow and/or repairs, and a hike through a blizzard, we simply had to sit in a warm car, listen to music and play games. Did I mention that the hot chocolate came in handy, and the water lasted us all night (although I had to pee on the side of the road a few times)?
Yes, I believe someone was looking out for us.
I don’t talk much about my faith on this blog. I’m not ashamed of it, nor would I feel the need to downplay it. It’s just not something that comes up as I relate these stories. Over the last year and a half, I’ve come to see the Lord’s hand in my life in many different ways, and as I look back at some hard times, I believe that I have had my own footprints in the sand. I have also come to believe that Jesus doesn’t always come out and openly work in our lives; He is sometimes instead rather cunning and playful in His work. I believe the need to pee at a different time than my wife may have been one of those moments. If my bladder alarm had signaled in tandem with hers, I wouldn’t have wandered by the water or hot chocolate. Hence, we wouldn’t have been delayed.
So while we complained about IL-DOT and the state police, we were safe. While we complained about not being home, we were warm. While we complained about pop music on today’s radio, we were fortunate. And while we complained about being stuck, we were alive.
Sometimes, it’s not the trip that gets you where you need to be. It’s the lessons you learn along the way.
So I post this from somewhere between mile markers 215 and 216 on I57, somewhere south of Champaign. For the last 15 minutes, we haven’t moved as snow has piled up around us. Apparently, a U-Haul truck jack-knifed ahead of us, and now we are part of a long, unmoving line of cars. So I figured I’d post quickly from my phone…
Had a great weekend in Nashville with my wife for a rugby tournament, and did some antiquing for her blog. I got to get back out on the field, and my working it this year is definitely paying off. I felt great on the field, didn’t get winded, and felt stronger already.
So what can I say? Hard work pays off.
I hope every one of you who has emailed me regarding your own plans is seeing results. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Human beings are amazing creatures, and our capacity to overcome is unlimited. Believe in yourself. You can do it.
From the road. Good luck!
That’s where I was this morning. 74F and sunny. Tonight, I will cuddle up next to the wife under a wool blanket and comforter as a moderate ice storm continues to fall outside. Ah, the wonders of modern travel.
As you can tell from my three previous posts, I’ve been away on business in sunny Orlando. Travelling for work is not always glamorous. It can be physically draining and filled with stretches of boredom while at your destination. However, there is always a positive vibe for me as I sit in airports and on airplanes, thinking about my life. Travel itself is inherently exciting. It stimulates our minds and awakens deep yearnings in us, yearnings about change and hope and endless possibilities. I am always invigorated after travelling.
Over the years, I’ve learned to harness this energy. Whenever I travel for work, I try to spend the next few days talking to potential customers about big ideas and grand conversions. I know the boost won’t last forever, but I can tap into it while it is organic and fresh. In short, I try to maximize its potential. Some of my best opportunities have been realized following these types of trips. Expect some good energy from me over the next few days, especially after I sleep off this jet lag.
Another reason that I enjoy travel is the opportunity to tune out the day-to-day and listen to your mind and heart speak. If I go for a run while I’m at home, I find myself thinking about grocery lists, errands, work commitments and such. This morning, I threw the headphones on and went for a 2.5 mile run around the resort compound and listened to Jimmy Buffett radio on Pandora. I didn’t just listen to the songs, though. I wasn’t worried about making sure we had enough diapers, whether I would make a sale today, or what would be for dinner. Instead, I knew my tickets were booked, that my bags were packed and lunch would be served. I found myself actually listening to the music and enjoying the sunlight. Heard a song that I have always loved with some poignant lyrics which I wanted to pass along, lyrics that I will expound upon in my next post.
Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places Ive been
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again
If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son of a bitches
I’ve seen more than I can recall
Its these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
With all of our running and all of our cunning
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane
I think about Paris when I’m high on red wine
I wish I could jump on a plane
So many nights I just dream of the ocean
God, I wish I was sailing again
Oh, yesterdays over my shoulder
So I can’t look back for too long
There’s just too much to see waiting in front of me
And I know that I just can’t go wrong
Jimmy Buffett: Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
Quick Goals Updates: Aside from the mileage logged today, I got a light workout (pushups, situps, etc…) in every day and a heavy workout in at the Fitness Center in the resort this morning. I also kept up with my devotional (I found the book while packing!) and knocked out a quick chapter from the next book on my list, How To Win Friends and Influence People. We also have a new setup in the backyard with several new bird feeders, which I will introduce once the weather breaks and I can get some outside shots.