Last Friday, Curtis and I drove separately to a wedding rehearsal in southern Michigan. He left a few hours before me in our friend's car, as he was running the A/V for the ceremony and reception so he had to be there early, and I had to finish my work day before I could head out.
I was writing in my cubicle when he texted me.
He told me he was going to look for help, and that was the last I heard from him. I tried not to worry that he was going to wander back to a house in the woods and meet an untimely end.
He did wander back to a house in the woods, but instead of meeting his untimely end he met a wonderful mother and grown son baking Christmas cookies. The son, Jason, offered to take him to the gas station, and half an hour later he texted me again, telling me he'd made it to the rehearsal.
I'd left Chicago some time before, and was driving on the toll road a few miles west of Gary when the fuel gauge needle dipped into the orange and the dashboard started beeping at me. When I found a gas station 20 minutes later, the snowfall was thickening.
Our gas cap locks. We have a few sets of keys for our car, but the set I grabbed in my hurry out the door didn't have the key to open the cap. I tried to pry it open in the blowing snow, but couldn't, so after a little pep talk in the still-warm car, I went inside and asked a friendly looking security officer for help.
He had a skeleton key in his set of tools, and after jimmying around with the cap for a while, watching a youtube video, and rubbing his hands together to warm them up, he turned to me with a broad grin on his face, holding the gas cap.
I thanked him profusely, then filled the tank and went on my merry way, texting Curtis.
I believe that God puts us in circumstances for very specific reasons. I had been planning to take the train to Michigan. My bag was packed and sent with Curtis, and he was going to drive the half hour back south to pick me up after the rehearsal. I decided at the last minute to drive, which resulted in the almost-stranded experience. I spent the second half of the drive wondering why I hadn't taken the train.
Sunday night, as we were driving home from the children's Christmas program at church, the brakes on our car turned very soft (If you've ever experienced this, you understand. You press the brake, and it keeps going down, and the car doesn't stop, and your foot goes so far down you feel like you're about to kick the engine, and still nothing happens.). Our stops took progressively longer as Curtis carefully navigated his way the last two miles home. By the time we got there it took almost an entire block to stop, even with the pedal pressed all the way down.
I have now realized why I didn't take the train to Michigan.
I use our car more than Curtis does in the city, mostly to go grocery shopping. If the car was on its last leg and I hadn't driven to Michigan, the brakes likely would have gone out while I was driving around the city, buying groceries at night after work, in the middle of the winter.
I like driving, but I have no love for driving a car that doesn't stop when I press the brake pedal. Curtis, on the other hand, was fine with it. Manly challenges are good for men.
Life is often not easy (The Day There Was(n't) a Fire), but God is kind. He directs our steps and decisions, to keep us safe. He cares about making the little things a little simpler. He loves us.
The more I dust for them, the more I notice sovereign fingerprints covering my life.