Family Records

Some years ago my wife, Cherié, and I aspired to getting in the Guiness Book of World Records. Actually I’m not sure there’s a category for our feat, but if there’s not, there ought to be.

Our record? To travel the four-and-half-hour trip from Walla Walla, Wash., to Portland, Ore., without stopping. Driving solo, that’s no great feat. With a 1-year-old and a 6-year-old, it’s right up there with the guy who floats nonstop around the world in a hot air balloon while juggling Ginsu knives.

Walla Walla to Hood River went fine. Suddenly, Claire, our youngest, jerked awake with an hour of the trip left. Cherié and I discussed giving the kids a breather, but decided that if we wanted to secure our spot in the annals of parenting history, we must forge on.

By Troutdale we were about to break. Claire’s cries had all but ruptured our eardrums. “Just stop,” Cherié commanded.

“But we’re only 15 minutes from Paul and Fae’s house.”

“I can’t listen to her for another 15 minutes.”

“So you want to stop for 30 minutes when we could be there in 15?”

Cherié cried, “I don’t knooooooow.”

“Forget it!” I resolved. “When I was her age my folks made me walk from Walla Walla to Portland...barefooted...in the snow...uphill the whole way...forget it, we’re not stopping.”

We tried feeding Claire. We tried playing music. We tried making animal noises. Nothing worked.

Then, the most remarkable thing happened. Lindsey, who’d been quiet and cooperative up to that point, cracked. Apparently, she reckoned the time was right to pull out a quote from her Steve Green CD. Screaming loud enough to be heard over a 747 with a broken muffler, Lindsey yelled, “Claire! You got to remember, `All things work together for good for those who love the Lord.' ”

Claire froze in hushed silence. With a very confused look on her face, she stared at Lindsey as if to say, “Really? That’s a spiritual epiphany to me. I had no idea that all my concerns of this long and boring journey would someday find resolution in the triumphant conquest of good over evil.”

Actually, I have no idea what went on in Claire’s little mind, but she did not peep the rest of the trip. Had she peeped I doubt anyone could have heard her over our laughter.

Maybe you’re feeling anxious and uptight as the journey drags on. It seems the world is unraveling and we’re helpless against the forces that threaten to annihilate us. The nuclear threat in Iran, the continuing carnage in Iraq, hurricanes, global warming, escalating oil prices—the list keeps growing. What can we do?

Hang on to hope. Don’t waver in your conviction that Jesus is coming soon. And remember, all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

June 01, 2006 / Fresh Start
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