On Road Trips and Perfect Timing

by | Dec 7, 2014 | Sabbath


The kitchen counters and beds are all covered with piles of things we don’t want to forget. We’re on our way to Phoenix tomorrow and “I forgot” isn’t something we want to hear anyone say on this long trip.

While ticking off mental lists, I find something I forgot from our last road trip. Tucked under the bottom shelf in the pantry is a white paper bag with handles, the contents collecting dust. A bottle of maple syrup purchased during our summer vacation to Canada, a gift meant for our neighbor but disregarded amidst the swell of disappointments we arrived back home to.

Pulling that crinkled bag from among piles of towels, a humidifier and stacks of old phone books, I hang handles over my arm and walk across the street, past pansies and the red velvet bow on her mailbox. At the same moment I ring her doorbell, the garage door begins lifting. Both of our brows arch in surprise when our eyes meet.

Extending the bag, I sheepishly admit my careless error.  And her response? She hugs me once, twice, then again a few moments later.

“I’m preparing to receive company,” she says smiling, “and I was just on my way out to the grocery store to buy some maple syrup.”

What we often assume as a dreadful delay or incomprehensible error is often God’s providential timing.

Like spending time with friends and family you didn’t expect to look in the eyes at Christmas.

It is only in looking back through the tattered edges of your waiting season that you begin to see the way God was orchestrating everything. Even the bottle of maple syrup hiding in your closet.

I’ll be posting here a little sporadically this month as we travel and spend time with people. Tomorrow, I’m meeting one of my dearest friends on the planet and staying overnight with her family. We met here on the blog but it’s the first time for us to discover our quirks and mannerisms that make us special. This Sabbath will surely be one of my most memorable. Stay tuned on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for postcards along the journey.

Wherever the journey takes you — by car, train, bus or ship — may you know rest that comes from the inside, not something you read in a book.

Happy Sabbath Friends!

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  1. Celeste

    You brought tears to my eyes Shelly. God is good. This was a reminder for me about our journey to get Bek.

  2. Lynn D. Morrissey

    What a sweet serendipitous discovery–except that we know with God there really isn’t any serendipity. He has it all providentially and beautifully planned. When I have felt guilty about sending a delinquent note, I’m always amazed when the recipient tells me it’s perfect timing–just what she needed at that moment. God is always making up for my lack. Yours was not lack whatever, but still that hiding syrup proved a joyful surprise, just when it was needed. Shelly, how lovely that you and H and your family can get away to familiar territory (at least I think you told me you had lived in AZ before). I wish you travel mercies and divine appointments and quirky discoveries, of course ! =] Love you so much!

  3. Pat S.

    Such a great story (and reminder). Thanks.

  4. Nancy Ruegg

    Thank you for sharing such a delightful God-incident that reminds us God IS in control, even when we are forgetful. And now you’re on your way to Phoenix! Oh, how I pray that God pulls out all the stops and showers–no, BLIZZARDS(!) you with bountiful blessings to replenish your spirits. God speed!

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