Drew and I headed out to a wedding and for a much-needed summer vacation at one a.m.. In a grassy area at the end of our gated driveway an older model SUV had been parked. The car seemed to have been abandoned but walking up to a vehicle in the middle of the night could be dangerous. No license plates on the SUV raised further concern.
Drew decided to go back to the house and call the police. The second time we came down the driveway we found two men and a truck by the SUV. One of them said he had broken down. The second man with his truck would try to jump the SUV. Drew explained that we had called the police to check the car and they were on the way. And then, rather than be late to our destination, we left. What?? Yes, we left. Not the best way to start our summer vacation.
Since childhood all of us have experienced summer vacations that are, well, not that fun when happening. Flat tires, hotel reservation mix-ups, sickness and the vocal refrain “Are we there yet?” challenge us in our summer travels. For us, the questions of, “Did the police come? What were those guys up to? Were they looking for houses to rob?” accompanied us on our vacation.
The surprising outcome of challenging summer vacations is we talk about them for years. “Remember the summer vacation when …” Each family has at least one and probably more. The stories are relived at every family gathering. The retelling of those stories includes a fondness that is hard to explain. Those shared memories bind us together, give us a common history and help us to realize we can overcome our obstacles.
Thinking about the unanswered questions we left at home recalled more difficult times in my life. I wondered if one day the Lord and I would sit down and talk over my life stories like family members do their summer vacation stories. “Do you remember Kit when you thought you couldn’t go forward, but you did? Do you remember when all seemed lost, but it wasn’t? Do you remember when together we overcame obstacles you couldn’t have on your own?”
“Yes, Lord I remember.” And remembering those stories helps me to realize when difficult times come, like summer vacations that are less than the best, I am not alone. I am a part of a much larger family. One day my life stories, as well as yours, will be retold with even greater fondness.
So, what about the men at the end of our driveway? They were gone when we returned, and our home was untouched. This year’s summer vacation will be one we will retell for years to come.