A love hate relationship has developed toward a certain two inch black belt, no matter its promises to increase my safety when I am buckled in. During our cruise along Interstate 80 I have begun a crash course of in-car gymnastics…or is it wrestling?…with a seat belt that is bent on ratcheting my neck into upright and locked position, barely any allowance to breathe. Meanwhile, dear hubby is practicing patient endurance and hazardous driving skills while testing out the smart features of our car…today’s novelty: in-lane assist, something that wants to keep the car always in the middle of the lane, though hubby prefers to direct the wheels himself. Thankfully he can turn off that mechanical advantage. Accompanied by the car’s random beeping tones, hubby’s commentary of signs and sites outside our windows, the thump thunk thump of wheels on the road, the wind swirling past closed windows, and the pressure of the seatbelt against my right arm holding the belt at bay so I can breathe, I have to laugh at my focused grumpiness over a seatbelt. And now that my butzinsky is finally comfortable on the gel pad that I have had to squish around to get just right (does it sound like I’m singin’ the blues?), I have to move to relieve pressure on my left elbow that is smushed against the center console. Through all this geriatric fidgeting and fussing my husband calmly drawls, “The weather is deteriorating.” I look up to see flat white sky meeting the earth.
As we pass “somebody’s little piece of heaven,” a small abandoned homestead with outbuildings long weatherstripped and forlorn, my husband’s narrative continues. “Did you see that? The outhouse has been blown back by the wind at a 45 degree angle!” Not long later…“We’re going to see snow now…This is going to be interesting…Yep…The weather she’s a’changin’.”
My arm lets go of the seatbelt and I submit to its relentless restraint as the white sky begins to spit snow. The car’s 72 degrees gives me another point of gratitude as we zoom along in comfort through 20 degree Fahrenheit weather. It is 11:55 am, nearly high noon and the earth is being dusted with white. Snow skiffs swirl across the highway playing catch-me-if-you-can with eighteen wheelers. Along our drive from Idaho to Tennessee for Thanksgiving we cross the Continental Divide at 6,930 ft. above sea level, then again at 7000 feet. Skimming the wide high plains of Wyoming we are still beneath white sky nearly three hours later, with variable road conditions as we follow sand trucks and snow plows, are baptized with sand pelting our windshield as trucks pass by, temperatures dropping to 15-11 degrees. Mercifully we have had only two minor slippery slides.
After a break we are on our way again, only to return after nine miles to fill up the gas tank. “It’s 5:25 pm and feels like 10:00,” dear husband states. I must agree. It’s darker than dark but for flashing caution lights on vehicles making their way along icy roads. My faith is being tested as my senses feel we are careening much faster than we actually are. Our destination forty-five minutes away seems just short of forever. I have to trust my driver. The current 7 degrees begs we stay warmly entrenched… in our car… on the road.
We know beyond the darkened sky there are glorious vistas, and though restricted from our view they will surely come clear with the new day. Free-to-see views will be as welcomed as unbuckling this purposeful yet restrictive seatbelt. Somehow now, near the end of this day, the belt has miraculously let go its ratcheting hold. I wonder if those gymnastic stretches had anything to do with it.
LORD, help me see with new eyes the good purposes You have when restrictions cramp my style. They can be painful, irritating, annoying, uncomfortable, adept at bringing out the worst in me. And yet…many are set for my protection, and my healing. Thank You that You help us learn and adjust. Thank You that You are beyond restriction, make all things new, and that we can hope in You! Thank you for Your great mercies and grace towards us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Micah 2:7b “Is the Spirit of the LORD restricted?”
Revelation 21:5a “Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”