Road trip,7

Driving to the Blue Mountains in Oregon, we came to a stop, behind a long line of vehicles. Temperature rising.

It was another, over one-hundred-degree day of the heat wave in southeastern Washington state.

We heard the pulsing pounding before we saw the helicopter fly to a distance in front. Whatever stopped traffic was down a hill and we didn’t see the helicopter land but figured it was time to turn around and return to where we came from.

Keeping my frustration at bay, I called and told the people, who we were going to visit, that we couldn’t make it. They said, it was better we didn’t come, because of the heat they were driving to Walla Walla for the day to find coffee shops with air-conditioners.

I touched off the phone and, knew.

“Let’s go see Roland,” I told my husband. Who snickered because it was early in the morning, not quite seven, and we didn’t have his phone number to call to see if he was home or awake.

Roland didn’t even know we were in town, three-thousand miles from our own home.

After driving ten minutes to his house, I knock on the door. I see him come to the door through thick glass. He opens the door, recognizes us immediately and tears come to his eyes. He said, “I’ve been trying to call you.”

He lost our phone number, but his mind was really on another topic, which he told us then and there because he wanted to get it out so he could move forward. His wife was diagnosed with cancer. We all went to the living room. Doug and I said hello to his wife who told us, “You came at the right time. We have to leave for chemo in thirty minutes.”

She went to get ready while we talked with Roland, a man who was also a member at the church we were when we lived in Kennewick. He and Doug played their guitars and sang at church together. Roland and I talked for hours upon hours about God, life, marriage, raising children. I remember getting an email from him with the question, “What is God?”

“Reality,” I replied.

Once, during our conversation on this trip, we each said, we couldn’t believe that we stopped by his house, when we did. It’d been years before we spoke last. Only once, because sitting in awe can be a distraction to getting done what needs to be done.

We reconnected for spiritual strength. We reconnected because it was in the plans for our trips, despite the fact we didn’t talk about it, outline it, or contemplate it.

We confirmed and talked about the available Holy Spirit, getting us through the diagnosis with grace.

“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”—Isaiah 30:20-21

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