yesterday, we made our way from mobile to my hometown of richardson, tx (a suburb of dallas). along the way, we got a chance to visit the hometown of m’s maternal grandfather (ville platte, la); we had lunch at soileau’s, an acadian restaurant (there's a french canadian connection) in nearby opelousas, where m had a huge fried shrimp po-boy (and it was supposedly only half a sandwich!). afterward, the sky turned very dark and ominous. we drove through heavy rain and lightning, being reduced to 30 mph for a good while. my prayer life got very intense for about two hours or so!
but at dusk, we did make it in safely to richardson, where we caught up with mr. c and old neighbors mr. and mrs. b, out in front of the house where i grew up. for whatever reason, we didn’t go inside, and so got eaten up by mosquitoes! when mr. c’s son d (a childhood friend) arrived with his family, we went out to another cajun spot, razzoo’s, where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner. the food was great, but for me, the real treat was a chance to catch up with d and meet his wife and kids. we talked about our lives, our kids' exploits, and our spiritual journeys — just a fantastic evening. later, we toured mr. c’s house, which is full of amazing photos he took himself, as well as an incredible number of awards, trophies, and other memorabilia that he’s collected in his storied life.
today, we are making our way to roswell, nm (of ufo fame), through central and west texas. the weather is cooperating so far — a blessing given that there has been a ton of rain in these parts, leading to devastating floods and loss of life. president bush and texas governor rick perry have declared much of the state a disaster zone, with rain still forecast for most of the next week and the ground already saturated. we are seeing some evidence of flooding, but where we are traveling, most of it has receded for now.we expect to be in roswell in the early evening, then get out early tomorrow to see the ufo museum before we head to flagstaff, our outpost for visiting the grand canyon. afterward, it’s back down to los angeles, where we’ll drop of m’s mom and visit with her family. b and i hope to take in a pro soccer game as well, over at the home depot center (the soccer stadium, not the home improvement store!), after all of us celebrate the 4th of july together — something our family hasn't really done for the past three years, while we were living in quebec.
this part of the trip (from richardson to los angeles) is the most treacherous leg. we’re going through country with a small population and relatively little traffic, where cell phone reception is spotty (i have no reception at all as i type this), and where temperatures can be blistering (as high as 120F/50C). traveling mercies take on a very concrete and immediate meaning for us now, and we’d appreciate your prayers.
the girls reminded me today that we are now at the halfway point of this adventure and overall, we are having a good trip. our stays have been far too brief, and we have wished we could stay longer to visit with family and friends or to explore the various cities we've stopped in. the van is crowded with five (m's mom is joining us from the dc area to los angeles), and the road is long, so you can imagine that we get pretty tired (and in my case, sore) by the end of a day. we've been battling some mundane health issues as well, which doesn't help. sometimes, we get a bit grumpy with one another. but on the whole, i think it's been a remarkably peaceful and pleasant time.
a long road trip is a good time to reflect on the big transition in our lives. i'm grateful for the time to consider what God is doing, as we make our way, incrementally, from where he took us to where he is taking us now.
the road goes ever on and on,
down from the door where it began.
now far ahead the road has gone,
and i must follow, if i can,
pursuing it with eager feet,
until it joins some larger way,
where many paths and errands meet.
and whither then?
i cannot say
bilbo baggins (from j.r.r. tolkien's lord of the rings)