This week’s been a game of “Good News, Bad News.” It began last Friday after Gene and I drove more than 12 hours to attend a family reunion in southern Alberta.
Good news: Our eldest daughter and her husband—from Washington state—were able to join us.
Bad news: Our youngest daughter and her husband, and our son Matthew and his family were not able to come (or so I thought).
Good news: Matthew, Cheryl and kids arrived at the reunion late Friday night. They’d known for two weeks that they would come, but they kept it a surprise from nearly everyone, me included. How fun to see them again!
Bad news: All good things must come to an end. They began their long journey back to Vancouver Island on Sunday morning. Gene and I stayed in Alberta for one more day because we had to train two women who plan to volunteer at one of International Messenger’s Romanian ministries in July.
Good news: Gene and I enjoyed yet another scenic drive through the Rocky Mountains on Monday.
Bad news: Matthew and family did not. Their van engine blew, leaving them—six kids, a pregnant mommy, and a 31’ Airstream—stranded on the highway.
Good news: A kind family lived a few feet from the breakdown. This family—complete with kids, kittens, and a backyard that resembled a play park—welcomed our kids and grandkids and gave them a place to stay while Matt called a tow truck and made hotel reservations.
Bad news: The fix-it shop said the van needed a new engine. Ching-ching.
Good news: Because Gene and I had remained in Alberta for an additional night, we were behind Matt on the trip home. Several hours and a few hundred miles after learning of their plight, we arrived at the kind family’s house to help shuttle people to the hotel.
Bad news: One of our tires went flat minutes after we arrived, thanks to an embedded nail. We’ve driven this car for nine years without experiencing a flat tire. How’s that for timing?
Good news: Our car was parked in a yard where we could unload its contents to dig out the spare tire—how convenient. Imagine doing this on the highway shoulder.
Bad news: The tire fix-it shop said it would cost $300 for repairs because, by now, it was after shop hours. My husband said, “No, thanks.” He suggested that we drive home (another five hours) on the skinny spare. This would mean traveling through the mountains at night without reliable cell coverage should we run into problems. I said, “No, thanks.”
Good news: Our eldest daughter had been following the adventure by text. She booked and paid for a hotel room for us.
Bad news: Wait a minute, there’s no bad news for this one. We had a comfortable bed in which to sleep when we finally got there. What more could we want?
Good news: The next morning dawned sunny and warm. The hotel offered an amazing complimentary breakfast, and Gene was able to get our tire fixed for only $30. The overnight delay gave us unexpected time with Matt and Cheryl and their kids—even a half hour in the hotel swimming pool.
Bad news: Matt’s van would not be ready for several days. What to do? Sit in a hotel room for several days? Rent a van?
Good news: A rental van was available.
Bad news: It was a seven-passenger van rather than eight, as needed.
Good news: Gene is a master packer. He rearranged all the stuff in our car to make room for one grandchild. The seven-year-old entertained us with stories of how technology has changed the world, his ambition of becoming Spiderman, the need to respect nature, and more. Life from a child’s perspective—so precious!
Bad news: Our car’s air conditioning is broken, and the ride was stinkin’ hot. (Not gonna complain about this, though, because the enjoyable conversation made the miles fly by).
Good news: We all arrived safe and sound in the lower BC mainland by 9ish Tuesday night.
Bad news: The drop fee for leaving the rental van there was a whopping $700.
Good news: Gene and I were able to return the van on Wednesday thus avoiding the drop fee. Two hours into the trip, I was even able to pull into a restaurant parking lot, connect my laptop to the internet, and participate in my weekly Wednesday morning Bible study.
Bad news: Another ten hours on the road, the last half without air conditioning.
Good news: McDonald’s is offering soft drinks of all sizes for only $1. And McDonald’s restaurants are located every hour along this route.
Bad news: I know, I know, diet soft drinks aren’t healthy.
Good news: We arrived home safe and sound—and in time for me to lead my weekly Wednesday evening Bible study. And there’s more: We spent nearly forty hours driving in the past week. Sometimes those roads are treacherous, but now they were clear. We experienced the joy of reconnecting with extended family members, the generosity of others who paid for our hotel room, and the kindness of strangers who welcomed our kids and grandkids into their home. We saw God’s presence and protection in every detail. We stand amazed at His goodness, hearts overflowing with gratitude.
Why, oh why, do we sometimes worry and fear? More and more, when circumstances deviate from the path I’d choose, I find consolation in three little words: “God’s got this.”
It’s true—either He does, or He doesn’t. He’s in control of every detail of our lives, or He’s not.
Perhaps you have a Good News, Bad News story of your own. Feel free to share it with me and other readers. Encourage us today!