It seemed like a normal day. Then it started raining after a sunny morning. Rain is normal for the Northwest but, we were going up to Bellingham in the afternoon to trade in our car for another one. Trading in a 03 VW Passat that was nickle and diming us, for 02 Toyota Prius with low milage and running well. Our margins were shrinking for getting up there in a timely fashion when my husband came in the door looking distraught. The Passat looked like it’s radiator was bone dry. It turned out it still had some fluid in there and filled up pretty fast when we added more antifreeze. We had to stop and get some more, just in case. Then we got out of town, but we found out on the way as we drove through Everett that the car dealer was closing at 5 not 5:30 and if we wanted to get the car that day we needed to be there by 4:45 at the latest. That wasn’t going to happen. We looked at each other, not the best thing to do when you’re speeding down the freeway! So we had to decide as we headed north if we would turn around or go anyways and see if our friends we were having dinner with would take us in for the night. We struggled with the decision, knowing they really did not have room for us. Fortunately, we were able to get a hold of him and he said just come on up, we’ll figure something. Their house is wonderful, but small. No guest room. We tried calling another friend we have stayed with, but found out her grandson was staying with her. Anyways, we kept driving in hope we would have somewhere to lay our heads that night, even if we didn’t have a toothbrush, change of clothes or Archie, our dog. Quickly I sent a text to my son and daughter-in-law to ask them to visit Archie, our dog and let him out for a bit. They happily agreed.
Just as we were almost to Bellingham our car started flashing signs at us. Stop!!! Oil! Don’t drive anymore! Pull over immediately!!! Something like that. Well, we were on the freeway and on a curvy part going over a small pass through the hills. Ugh. My husband safely pulled way over and we had a little bit of oil that we were able to pour in. How did the oil dry up so fast? We checked the dipstick. It still had oil. We were confused but kept going. The signs stopped flashing for a little while, about 1 mile from our friends house it started again. We kept going, but we were pretty frazzled by the time we showed up. They had sent us a text that we didn’t get to meet at a brewery. We had to turn Bill’s phone off to save battery since we didn’t bring our chargers thinking we’d be home the same night.
Our dear friends graciously invited us in and finished their dinner preparations to take along to the brewery we were going to. She is an amazing cook, like you would not believe. She had made a beautiful salad with olives and cranberries and tomatoes, with an exquisite dressing and amazing stuffed peppers. Yum! For dessert knowing I can’t tolerate much gluten she made coconut macaroons sprinkled with almonds and chocolate. The funny thing was in my frazzled state when we got to their house and saw this beautiful food and that we were going out, I thought the food was for someone else. My friend straightened me out and said “No, this is for us! The brewery doesn’t serve food only beer and live music. We can bring food or order it from a truck outside.” Wow! I felt like there is a God in heaven. Everything was falling into place again. We had a lovely dinner, as you can imagine, and the most delicious beer ever. All listening to a great bluegrass band that kept our feet tapping. Our friends didn’t mind us staying the night, in fact they fixed up their camper van that we had borrowed 2 summers ago for camping in the San Juans. We had a cozy night listening to the rain and felt so comfortable remembering our fun camping trip. They basically treated us as if Jesus himself had needed a place to lay his head.
The next day we traded in our car and drove home without drama. One thing that stands out to me in my real life story is that there is something in me that doesn’t want to make a bother or a fuss. I feel embarrassed and ashamed. I am wired not to ask for help! I guess it is something I sucked in from my culture and family as an independent American. “Do it yourself and for heaven’s sake don’t bother anyone else.” Fortunately, our friends were so gracious that my awkward feelings quickly disappeared as they made us feel welcomed and loved. My mind more than once thought of the refugees making their way across the sea to Greece and then further up the European continent. They are fleeing for their safety and lives. How do they feel? How are they treated? How are we doing with treating the foreigners in our midst as if they were Jesus himself? Are we shaming them for needing us? Remember the parable: “As you have done to the least of these you have done to me”? May God help us all to see His face in the face of the one who needs our help and hospitality.