Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Orleans, Part I

There are some things that deserve to be retold. There are moments that need to be captured. Little girls exclaiming, “Oh my” at the dinner table while listening to stories of pit bulls deserve to be rescued and remembered. Some moments deserve longer explanations, and that is what makes me write today.

Five missionaries depart for a destination lovingly described as “spicy and battered.” Determined to start vacation from the waking moment of even the travel day, we wake at a normal time, indulging in the leftover Lord’s Day cake and hot cocoa mix in our necessary jo. Sunflower seeds are cracked open even before the well-loved van has departed, leaving our evidence right in front of our double residence.

The mention of newly budding trees in April captures our attention as we leave our town, hoping they will not have matured by our return. Our adventure, however, is a short one, and I have faith that they will be found still bursting with color upon our return.

As in most car trips, sleepy beginnings are much appreciated. The sleepless ones try to catch more of the coveted substance in the back while softer music fades from the front, just loud enough to entertain those who are fighting the monotony of white, broken lines approaching for hours.

Getting to know the Lord better has been delightful. The small details cared for by our Father are apparent on our adventure. Surrounding the two captain seats are snack foods, a rare sight for a missionary, helping me to get to know the Lord better. He cares that every good road trip is highlighted by a good snack.

Our stops are anything but the rush of a family, attempting to usher more than a few children in and out of stalls without losing any. While this type of stop can be exhilarating, we prefer to bring a soccer ball and an eye for photography. The decision seems to be affirmed by the Lord as the day turns out to be sunny, cool, and lusciously green due to the weather. There is a way to drive into a new season, and we have delightfully driven into summer.

Any good story has a plot. Ours consisted of the coolant system of our Plymouth Voyager, one state trooper, one city policeman, one kind citizen, his wife, and daughter, and all of them proudly displaying a southern drawl to make the day more worth remembering and retelling. Maybe the Lord does have a southern drawl.

The day was not censored. An expired reptile, the largest anthill I have ever seen, and maybe a nursing story accidentally happened upon makes the day worthwhile. Sitting in the back of this Voyager, watching us, comfortable after almost a year to be quiet, engaging, or entertained makes me excited to spend a full, enclosed, now fourteen-hour drive on a vacation, which it does seem the Lord has so joyfully and carefully planned.

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