Getting out of town can be a real pain in the “donkey”. (If you know what I mean.)
But because we have some “masochist” tendencies between Kory and me, this summer, we decided to make it extra fun by scheduling two trips back-to-back and a wood floor installation all at the same time.
So on July 4, instead of lounging by a pool, I found myself packing a family of five for a trip to Branson, Missouri and a trip to Powderhorn, Colorado, and moving all the furniture out of the first floor of our house to prepare for the contractor’s arrival the following day.
It was a doozy.
And then, just as the sun began to set, and the family began preparing to get in the car to watch fireworks across town (because heaven forbid we miss the fireworks), our oldest son started throwing up.
Of course he did.
Just in time for our departure to Branson twelve hours later.
I went to bed with bated breath, wondering what the following day would bring. Would he feel better? Would one of us need to stay behind to care for him? Would he end up in the hospital like Little Bit had the week before after a similar ailment and resulting dehydration?
But when I woke the next morning and went out to the living room where our son had fallen asleep the night before, he opened his eyes, grinned from ear-to-ear, and said:
“Mommy, I feel SO much better!”
“Yes!” I thought to myself as I strolled into the kitchen to whip up some breakfast before we hit the road.
All seemed well, so we jumped in the car thirty minutes later and set out for Branson. And thirty minutes after that, our son started throwing up again. Every half hour until we arrived.
I felt terrible for him.
Really, I did.
But I’ll admit I was also annoyed at the timing.
Our family needed this respite so badly and wouldn’t you know one of us would get sick right as we kicked it off?
I began to do the math in my head and realized, with the incubation period we experienced between Little Bit’s illness and this one, there was just enough time for us to pass the virus around so that one of us would be sick for the duration of our two-week vacation.
About an hour outside of Branson, I called my mother-in-law who had already arrived at the resort where we were staying (because someone could have walked to Branson faster than we drove there given the number of stops we had to make along the way) and asked her to scout out a hospital so I could take our son to the E.R.
You see, it was Sunday so it was the E.R. or nothing.
Of course it was.
But because of the experience with Little Bit in the rear view mirror, I wanted to take dehydration head on and get our son some fluids. I was also hoping to score a prescription of Zofran for his nausea because it had worked wonders on Little Bit, and I left his prescription at home.
Of course I did.
(And let me just say this. For once, I’d love to be on my “A Game” in a situation like this, armed with everything under the sun needed to manage the task at hand. But I’ve come to realize that the “A Game” must be an urban legend. At least it is for me. How about you?)
So I dropped everyone else off at the resort, and I drove our son to the nearest hospital to get him checked out.
And all the way there, I was cranky.
He didn’t know it.
But God did.
We pulled up to a hospital that appeared to be very new. When we walked into the E.R., the nurses greeted us with smiles and gave me one piece of paper to fill out. They ushered us back to a room within 5 minutes.
Clearly we weren’t in “Kansas” anymore.
The hospital staff was amazing.
They confirmed our son was not dehydrated and gave me specific instructions for keeping him that way. AND they gave me a prescription for the coveted Zofran.
The closest 24-hour pharmacy was in Nixa, about 30 minutes away.
Of course it was.
So off we went to Nixa. North on Highway 65 right out of Branson. In the pouring rain.
After taking the wrong exit, flipping around for no reason, and ending up at the wrong Walgreens, we finally made our way to the 24-hour pharmacy. (I always seem to stop short when I’m lost. I never go too far.)
At this point, I was steaming.
We got what we came for (a prescription, Gatorade, and a box of 30 popsicles which our son was instructed to eat continually for the remainder of the day), we stopped to grab some dinner for me, and we headed back to Branson.
I could immediately tell that our son felt better having taken the medicine.
So as we drove, I began to snap out of my funk. The job was done, he was feeling better, and we were less than 30 minutes from joining the rest of our family.
And then I began to notice that something besides my mood had changed.
The storm was over. And it was gorgeous outside.
The highway between Nixa and Branson is a straight shot, but it climbs up one mountain and down the other all the way. And from the top of each mountain, we got a bird’s eye view of the landscape below. It was lush and green. And the sky was a mixture of clear blue and dark storm clouds after the rain. A beautiful metaphor for life. And for my emotions that day.
Breathtaking by itself.
But then the rainbows appeared.
Yes, I said rainbows.
Not just one, but two complete rainbows.
Right in front of us.
As if they were guiding us “home.”
It was a moment when the presence of God suddenly overcame me. And I was filled with emotion.
And I realized that while I had my nose down, focused on all that was wrong with my life in the moment, God was there. Waiting for me to lift my head and acknowledge His presence.
It was overwhelming.
So much so that I felt the sudden urge to turn on the praise music and sing at the top of my lungs.
So I did.
And our son joined me.
All the way home.
It was a special moment. Shared with my recovering child. And I would not have experienced it but for the inconvenient trip to the E.R. and pharmacy to make him better.
I’m so thankful for it now.
In fact, it was one of the highlights of the trip for me.
It was also a good reminder that life is a mixture of blue skies and storm clouds.
No matter how hard we try, the storms will come. And they’re filled with all kinds of things we don’t want. Loss, disappointment, pain, heartache, brokenness, and inconvenience.
The storms foil our plans.
And yet, even in the midst of the storms, blessing abounds.
Because God is present everywhere.
No matter where we are. No matter what we’re doing. And no matter what storms life brings.
I’m certain that if we look closely enough, we’ll find His rainbow guiding us home.
Even in the midst of the storm.
“This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” – Genesis 9:13.
Where is God’s rainbow in your storm today?