Saturday, September 02, 2017

"Preparing for the Trip" (Peter A. Black)

How I loved that little car – and it was small. Our ‘64 Austin ‘puddle-jumper’ was only forty-eight inches wide. My Beloved and I would pack a basket with sandwiches and hot coffee or cold drinks in a vacuum flask and head south from Aberdeen, Scotland, a couple of times a year for a weekend visit to our families in the Glasgow area.

Compared with what’s typical nowadays we travelled light, because we’d be staying with family,

(Google Free) Identical to our '64 Austin A35
'puddle-jumper' van.

taking the basics of a change of clothes and minimal toiletries. Once our first son was born we’d add his baby seat along with his necessary supplies – whatever food and clothes he’d need, and his diaper bag (mostly terry towelling supplemented with disposables), and several small soft toys.

It took us four hours on the old country route to complete the 150-mile journey, sometimes zipping along at 70 miles an hour and at times slowing down through small towns or to a crawl behind farming equipment. Once completed, the new motorway provided a faster, more direct route.

This reminiscence was prompted through our preparing for a recent summer trip—a one night stop-over. Whereas my wife, in her decisive pragmatic approach, gets her packing done in no time at all, Yours Truly makes a major task of it, waffling over what to take. People in my life are still baffled as to why I like to have some semi-formal dress-wear items on a mini vacation, shirts and ties, shoes and pairs of pants, and also several underwear changes (a given, of course!), and a bunch of other things.
However, I’ll spare you my lengthy litany of ‘just in case’ items— just in case we break down on the road; just in case the power goes off in the hotel; just in case the weather turns cold . . . 

I reflected on media interviews and news of residents fleeing the massive wild fires in BC and on the tremendous flooding in Southern USA. Many had no time to debate or dither about what to take with them, not even treasured or valuable items. They had to move—and fast! Their priority was to escape to safety and so leave, risking the loss of all else.
Easy, soft living can lull us into a false sense of security and to losing sight of what really matters. Priorities become skewed and matters of true value can be pushed into the shadowed corners of our existence, until . . . Until we are awakened by the clarion call of necessity.
Courtesy: The Weather Channel
Courtesy: CTV News

May and I were involved in several funeral memorial services in past weeks and attended a number of others. One was of a lovely young man who lived his life showing kindness to others. His burning desire was to help people come to know and receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour and to find their hope in Him. But now he’s gone. His work here is ended. So sudden. So brief.

I cannot take my suit and tie with me. Perhaps I’ll be buried in such wear, but I’ll not really be there. I’ve fled to God for refuge and accepted His gifts of forgiveness and salvation. By His mercy and grace He’ll grant safe passage to my spirit on that final trip into His everlasting presence and peace.

Take refuge.

May we prepare now for life’s final trip: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). “. . . [He] has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11).


Peter A. Black is a retired pastor  -  well, sort of  -  and lives in Southwestern Ontario. He writes a weekly inspirational newspaper column, P-Pep! and is author of Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart, and Parables from the Pond. ~~+~~


Carolyn R. Wilker said...

Preparing for trips depends on where and how long, but once I have a list, the packing gets done fairly quickly. Husband, on the other hand, would wait for the last day and bring me two pair of pants and shirts on hangers. Clothes that needed to go in the suitcase, not draped across all and sundry of the boxes and bags as he thought last year. "They'll be all rumpled before we get there."
When we went to the trailer this summer, some tools had to be packed. They weren't packaged for the most part, just set inside a pail or open box. Oh, well. We did manage to get away.
You're right though, some trips require a different kind of readiness. Feel sorry for people who have to leave in a hurry. I suppose that applies to refugees from war-torn places.

Nice post as usual, Peter.

Ruth Smith Meyer said...

Sometimes it takes the sudden leaving of a loved one or someone we know to make us stop and think about what is really important and what is excess 'luggage.' Thanks for your sharing. The 'puddlejumper' made me smile! I knew some people who had one similar to that. --Guess it was a smart car before smart cars became poplular!

Peter Black said...

Thanks Carolyn and Ruth. As you respectively suggest regarding people fleeing for refuge and the sudden leaving of a loved one, these require a different kind of readiness. I suspect that despite our efforts to anticipate eventualities, there's a sense in which we only find our path through an exigency once it emerges. Previous experiences surely help to some extent, though.

The Austin A35s were great little cars. Ours was the van version. The sedan version was commonly called the "Baby Austin." ~~+~~

Glynis said...

Seems to me we had an Austin mini when I was a wee lass in Scotland! This was the bigger version, wasn't it, Peter?
Good thoughts about being ready? Yes, we never know when the wind will change or the waters will rise - literally and figuratively! Readiness is key - tie or no tie! ;) Although you do look smashing in a tie!

Carol Ford said...

Peter, I'm like you with way too many items for 'just in case'. Things are certainly losing there appeal with each new year. Thanks for sharing.

Peter Black said...

Thanks Glynis and Carol.
The A 35 was a bit taller, with rear-wheel drive, whereas the Austin Minis were front-wheel driven.
The mini was, if memory serves me correctly, the first transverse-mounted, water-cooled four cylinder engine and front-wheel driven car in British auto mass production, and was designed by an Italian fellow. Great fun to drive! ~~+~~

Susan Harris said...

I get excited over any allusions to our life hereafter. I try to live in a state of readiness daily. I also like my varied wardrobe like you do, Peter. Thanks for the post.

Rose McCormick Brandon said...

I love your personal stories, Peter. I thought you were going to say you take dress clothes just in case you're asked to officiate at a funeral. As a pastor you never know when you'll be called upon. Love the heavenly thought you wove into this trip.

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