“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” (Ps.18:28)
Though I can’t name the destination yet, I know my life has taken a turn. I’ve started a new journey. I sure hope the Lord has the map.
The motel room is tiny. Two beds, one for my parents, one for me, each covered with a plain but practical brown bedspread. A beige formica-topped table. A sink on the back wall, shower and toilet on one side, dresser and mirror on the other. Tiny, but fine for a quick overnight stay on our trip to visit my son.
The only crowded spot in the room is the corner by the door where my father stacked all the things my mother insisted on bringing in from the car. Not just the luggage, but the maps and the flashlight, all the tools and the battery jumper cables. Dad didn’t object until Mom started dragging out the floormats. I laughed as though it’s just a new eccentricity she’s developed, but anxiety buzzed like a mosquito in my brain as she went back and forth to the car, closing the heavy metal door to the room each time she went out, knocking on it when she wanted to bring in another load.
I think back to my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I first mentioned this trip to my father. I expected he’d jump at the chance for a trip to Colorado in the fall. Instead he hesitated. He wasn’t sure about Mom, he said. “She changes her mind a lot. It’s hard to plan things now.”
But here we are, halfway to our destination, and the trip has been just fine.
Once she rests from unloading the car, Mom stands and then turns in a full circle around the little room. She turns once more and finally asks where the TV is.
“Right here on the dresser, Baby,” my father tells her. “See? Right here.” He takes her hand and places it on the television.
“Oh, of course! What am I thinking?” She stares at the TV until Dad turns it on.
I should ask. I should take my father outside and ask him what’s up. But I don’t. I tell myself I don’t want to embarrass him, or Mom. Surely everything’s ok.
During the night I awaken to the sound of her voice, high-pitched and anxious. “Where are we?” she asks my father.
Almost immediately she asks again, “Where are we? I need to go home.”
The square brown clock on the bedside table reads 2:43 am. Too early to go home, I tell myself. Or too late.
Where are we, Father? What’s going on? The smooth road of my life has changed, with a sudden curve in a different direction. Where does this road lead, Lord? I feel like I’m driving in the dark with no headlights. But in the night I remember Your goodness. Your power. And I tell myself You won’t leave me in this darkness. You know exactly where we are and You will be with us as we move forward. Our strong refuge, today, tonight, right now. Thank You, Lord, for lighting the way.