Our family just returned from a trip. While it isn't a certainty, I am prepared for this being the "last" full family vacation we take, since my eldest is off to college in a few months. We went to the South, a place we haven't been before, and truly enjoyed the trip. Despite the broken air conditioner in our van (it died three hours into the trip. We almost turned around, but carried on instead), and the restless two year old (who always was excited to get into her car seat, but then 30 minutes later wanted out), the bored teens (thankful for iPods and cell phones), and the very pregnant mom, we soaked up the scenery, took our time with some overnight hotel stays, and relished the adventure and the time together.
The purpose of our trip was to visit my family that relocated there last year. There was a baby we hadn't met yet, houses we hadn't seen, and really, their daily lives that were just in our imaginations until we could see it for ourselves. We narrowly missed our niece's graduation from high school due to circumstances beyond our control, but my parents made the drive the week before. My parents live in the same general area as we do, and they were headed home just as we were headed down. Our schedules didn't allow for an overlap in the visit, but we were in contact on the day our paths would cross on our journeys. My mom and I were chatting on the cell phones, both safely tucked away in our respective vehicles while our husbands did the driving. We quickly ascertained we were on the same highway, going opposite directions, and that is if we were observant, we would see each other in about 15 miles or so (we were 30 miles apart at the time). With dismay we realized the highways were divided from time to time with thick, wide medians, full of vegetation, and the chance of us actually seeing each other was slim. My husband, driving and conducting a business call at the same time, was also mentally calculating where we would pass, and was indicating to me in sign language that we should exit at Exit 141. I was unaware he was listening to my conversation as well as carrying on his own, so I was less than attentive to his hand signals. He became more insistent, until I realized the point he was trying to make. My parents should exit at 141, and so should we, then we could meet up in person and have lunch (only people married nearly 20 years can communicate all this through hand signals while driving and carrying on phone conversations).
I relayed this to my mom, who passed it on to my dad, and in the nick of time, we both exited the highway and met at a gas station within seconds of each other. The kids were delighted to see their grandparents, although the younger ones were very confused why they were in the middle of Kentucky, randomly at a gas station. We got gas, had lunch at Subway, chatted a bit, and then went our own separate ways.
It wasn't until later that it hit me how spectacular that meeting was. We had left our home state the day earlier, stayed at a hotel, taken our time in the morning allowing for a slow breakfast and some swimming before heading out on the road again. My folks had gotten up early and taken off for home. Again, we were heading in opposite directions, and were not even aware we were taking the same route. The phone call was so providentially timed, my husband's planning acuity was so well placed and the timing was so synchronized, we couldn't have planned the meeting as well.
Stepping back, I realize so much of life is just like this. Amazing, miraculous, perfect, and unplanned. My own life is so full of this phenomenon, that I almost took this one for granted, instead of treasuring the miracle it was.
I thank God for opening my eyes to the miraculous that day, and pray that He will assist me in having eyes to see the abundance of miracles that shape my very existance. How rich and splendorous is the gift of life!