On Wednesday we were about an hour and a half away from Santa Fe, the boys and Brooke had just fallen asleep. I was driving about 75mph on I-25 when the RV just quit. I pulled off to the side, Brooke woke up (thankfully the boys did not), and we tried unsuccessfully to get it started again.
About 10 minutes later the sky turned dark. Then came the wind and the lightning. Then one of the heaviest downpours I’ve been in. Cars started to pull off the interstate around us because you couldn’t see. It calmed a bit,
and then came the hail… sideways hail.
Brooke grew up in Kansas – the land of tornadoes. I did not. But I vaguely remember from Twister that sideways hail isn’t a good sign. Our phones stopped working.
“Stay calm and carry on,” right? At that moment, that meant sitting down on the floor of the RV and praying (and watching to see if the other people pulled over got out and got under their cars at any point.) If any of you have ever sung “I will praise you in this storm” it takes on a whole different meaning in a situation like this 🙂
Again – I have no idea how the boys slept through this, but I’m thankful. It lasted about 15 minutes and then settled into just rain – no tornado.
Our phones started working, and we called our Roadside “assistance” (assistance is in quotations because we found out later they left us sit on the side of the road in this storm for 3 hours and were telling us no one would come tow us because of the storm. But finally a Highway Patrol came and gave us the phone number for the only tow company in the region that could haul a vehicle as big as ours. I called the tow company directly and they told us that the “assistance” company had called them several hours ago but refused to authorize payment for the tow. The tow company said they would gladly come get us as soon as the company agreed to pay…. ummm yeah…. I was a little furious, made a phone call, got a supervisor, and got a tow truck.)
The other thing the “assistance” people said was that they would tow the car and the tow truck could take 2 people with it, but the rest of us would need to find our own solution. So I verified that the definition of “Roadside Assistance” means hauling your vehicle away and leaving your wife, kids, and dog in a hail storm 100 miles from anything in the middle of the desert.
“Yes, sir. I understand your frustration, but that’s basically how it works.”
Okay… So our amazing friend Dan drove from Santa Fe and took Brooke and the boys back to his friend Keadron’s house while I waited on the tow truck.
Keadron has graciously housed us ever since. She has an amazing gift of hospitality (and an amazing house) and we are super grateful. On the ride back with Dan, Te had a break down of his own. I wasn’t there, but Brooke described it as one of his top 2 ever (which is saying a lot 🙂
So the other gift of showing up as complete strangers with Te in full fit mode is that Keadron is a therapist who works with kids, so she wasn’t freaked out by this in the least. A lot of people would be.
Meanwhile back on I-25 Angelo, the tow truck driver, showed up and began hooking up the RV in the rain. About the time we were ready to pull out it stopped raining and I was able to snap this picture.
I got in the truck and made a call to the pastor of the church in Salt Lake we were supposed to speak at on Sunday to let them know we probably wouldn’t make it.
Angelo asked me if I was “some sort of preacher.” I explained that I was supposed to be speaking about adoption and our experience of adopting the boys, our work with Luz y Vida, and God’s heart for orphans.
All four of Angelo’s kids are adopted. I spent the rest of the drive hearing his story. It was one of those unexplainable conversations where you know you’re right where you’re supposed to be in that moment and the presence of God is palpable. It had been a while since I’d had that experience. It was a great reminder of how things don’t always go as we planned, but looking back you can see the greater plan.
It was also a very cool confirmation of something several of you said to us before we left: You will experience God on this trip, but not necessarily in the places you’re expecting too.
So for now we’re hanging out in Santa Fe while the RV gets repaired. Santa Fe is a favorite for us, so we’re pretty happy to be here.
I feel like I’m learning something else too. I can’t control circumstances (this is a real bitch of a realization and something I constantly fight). I can only control my reaction to them. So we’re trying to roll with the punches and enjoy the moment. A couple of examples:
When we were on the side of the road for three hours and the boys woke up, we fired up the generator, popped popcorn, and let the boys watch a movie (1 of the benefits of a tenement on wheels).
Last night we thought the RV was finished, but when I drove away in it, it wasn’t, so we had to take it back. We left it and went to the Rodeo.
And the boys are loving it.
I don’t know if we’ll be in Santa Fe for another day or another week, but at this point we’re committed to the adventure and making the best of it.