What can you find out in the wilderness?

Newlyweds driving to church camp in the mountains. Car trouble 20 miles from camp. Dimming lights. Stops. Starts. Worries. Checking coolant. Changing fuses. Losing power. Cell phone out of range. Limping miles. Stopping. Starting– barely. Getting a jump start from a random stranger.
Wondering if they’ll make it.

Finally they pull into camp, heaving sighs of relief. Soon the car is surrounded by older relatives, questioning them about their troubles. Menfolk, dad and grandpa, pop the hood and tighten the radiator cap and clean battery contacts and somehow produce a battery charger. Solutions are tossed about.

The young folks’ brows unknit. Their shoulders relax. Their faces look brighter. They heave a sigh and go off to find a late dinner, as the older men continue to strategize over the car.

The afternoon’s problems have worn out the young people. Their part isn’t done– tomorrow they’ll be borrowing an aunt’s car and driving miles, then forking over bucks for car parts. An alternator, it turns out to be.

But this evening the car has enough heads under the hood. The worries fade back. Their problems have solutions. They toss a frisbee and sit with cocoa. They are not alone.

We, the older generation, find our minds drifting back to problems that felt too big for us alone, for rescues made by loved ones on our behalf. And are glad to pass on the favor. And also to snap a picture. Some day, when the hassle is not so fresh, they may be glad even for this memory.

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  1. This brought back memories…when my husband and I were coming back to the Midwest after living out East for a few months- we had the same problems. It happened on a Sunday, right after church and missed the farewell lunch (at a restaurant) that they were holding for us. That was 11 years ago, before cell phones were had by all (although, still not by us). Our dear friends came searching for us and helped us and not that we had to get home that day as we planned, but on a Sunday, we were wondering who would be open to help us when we found out it was the alternator. It all worked out, it was an exhausting trip back home and then a few days later, we were on a plane to live overseas. This will be a good memory for them…just might take awhile and may take someone else to jog the memory.

  2. Oh my! the memories this post brings to me. I remember asking my Dad to teach me how to change a tire. His exact words, “You have brothers who would be more than happy to do that for you.” I never did learn (although all my daughters can!) and I did have to call upon my brothers. Each and everyone of them laughed when I passed on Dad’s comment.

  3. Been there, done that! I love your words. So true too.

  4. beezwax says:

    I love how you write. I am a young one, pregnant so maybe slightly hormonal, and have tears in my eyes for the feelings of being alone with problems to big. I’m not alone though. Thanks for the beautifully written reminder.

  5. Ah, so sweet.

  6. Ummm. I’m crying, and I don’t totally know why. Thanks for sharing this story, Mary.

  7. It is amazing the way life comes full-circle. In my life I am in that season where it is our privilege to minister to the parents who poured their lives out for us.
    A beautiful, encouraging story.

  8. Too true. This reminds me of the essay at the end of your book: In a big family, you are never alone. I often think of that essay, when I am a little swamped with the many wonderful but busy people in my life. This little vignette, reminds us all again of the importance of family. Thank you.

  9. that…that is a beautiful thing. I think in the end…had they been on the side of the road to no where and ended up getting help from some roadside company via some stranger it still would have been laughed over months/years from now. BUT the fact that it was their people…their family and friends, elders whom have experience with this..with the wacky situations that life tosses are way…that makes it a memory to cherish. what a gift you have provided your children with…to be surrounded by loving support as they embark on the journey of adulthood. beautiful.simply beautiful!

  10. This post captures the feelings so well.