The crazy world a family enters on a RoadTrip is unpredictable, outrageously fun and at times incredibly stressful. I hit such a trifecta on our recent drive to Niagara Falls over the 4th of July.
No one knows exactly how these things happen… one night we’re driving from Nashville to Cleveland, trying to beat a nasty thunderstorm growing more visible by the minute in the rear view mirror. We nab a roadside hotel & un-tangle ourselves from the 8 hours of mess we’ve made in the Honda Pilot and rush into our room seconds ahead of the downpour.
As we drift off to sleep… I have that slightly uneasy feeling one gets. It keeps me from drifting off as I slowly realize…I can’t remember where I put my wallet. I start to rummage around my backpack, briefcase…checking my pants pockets. Seems to be missing, maybe it’s still in the Honda.
I run out and then back. It’s not in the car… so I have the kids and wife check their stuff… maybe it fell out of my bag on the way into the room. We move luggage, check under beds… and then we all grab some clothes, start to retrace our steps…looking carefully now.
Outside the pouring rain drenches us. Dark as pitch we search our SUV, inside, outside, underneath, behind and below…I even lay flat on the asphalt, soaking myself in a inch deep puddle to make extra sure. Nada.
No wallet. Anywhere!
No one has to tell me… the vacation cash, bank cards and my drivers license are in the wallet! We’re only half way to Canada and suddenly this 4th of July vacation celebration is in serious jeopardy. I can feel my tension growing as we check everything and everywhere…desperation growing inside me as the night clerk confirms no one has turned in a wallet. Options are suddenly very slim.
This may not be as simple as a misplaced wallet and that sets my alarm bell off. Paige agrees and soon we’re jabbing furiously at our cell phones, calling banks and retail card numbers as fast as we can. Urgently trying to shut down our accounts from the risk of fraudulent purchases…unsuccessfully trying to keep my cool as I find myself angrily clicking through the insanely unhelpful computerized menu options of automated customer support!
I can feel my blood pressure as cold sweat forms on my palms and bile rises in my throat. THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING I SCREAM SILENTLY !
What an IDIOT! I had ruined my family’s vacation before it even began… stranding us in Ohio and to make things worse… tomorrow was the 4th of July. Not a single bank in the lower 48 would be open for business.
I was tempted to share my deepest frustrations to the entire second floor of our Quality Inn neighbors. I could see myself flipping out, rushing frantically to search room to room for whoever had stolen our vacation from us.
I needed to do SOMETHING!
Instead I took a deep breath and whispered a prayer in my heart… “God, this stinks. I don’t really know WHAT happened, I must have dropped my wallet. I could really use some help here. My kids are counting on me… my wife needs a break, we’re tired, wet, stressed and I’m just asking… maybe you can arrange for us to get a second chance at this vacation?”
I woke up first and went downstairs, checked the Honda one more time. The black wallet was sitting on the roof – laying soggy and completely intact. All our money, cards, ID… just as it had been.
I have no idea what happened, maybe someone found it on the ground and took it in the night only to give it back in the morning? Maybe I laid it on the roof when we unloaded and despite all our searching, we missed it in the night? … Or maybe God did something really amazing for us?
Clearly God was with us on this RoadTrip … it seemed He had new lessons for us to learn and larger leaps of faith to make. I thought about the weird wallet experience and couldn’t help but wonder if someone or something was intentionally trying to mess with us on this vacation.
I had no idea how right I would be….
Day 2 is next…